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The Voco View on... Peer coaching

Voco Team
Image of young office workers discussing a work problem in front of a computer screen

When the leaders you support have a smorgasbord of development to choose from but it still isn’t hitting the spot, hiring in a professional coach seems like an obvious next step. But, coaches are both Pricey with a capital P and highly personalised. The latter shouldn’t be a problem but, with budgets being slashed all over the place, any type of development - particularly one that costs as much as coaching - needs to have impact beyond the individual.

Though there will always be a place for professional coaching, we believe that coaching works best when it’s served to as many people as possible. Many forward thinking organisations already include ‘coaching skills’ in their leadership development programmes. But, it’s the experience of coaching AND being coached that will really embed and encourage the use of these skills. 

Could peer coaching solve this conundrum? We think so. Here’s some more information about what it is and why we think you should be doing it:

What is peer coaching?
  • Peer coaching is a two-way relationship where people at the same level work together to support each other's development.
  • Peer coaching provides an opportunity to both practice coaching skills and to be coached by a peer partner.
  • Peer coaching offers support, skills development and an opportunity to foster collaboration 
Why peers?
  • Because we learn best from people who understand the challenges and contexts we face.
  • Peer relationships are, by definition, non-hierarchical and power plays are less likely.
  • People feel safer with their peers; they can practice skills, ask questions and receive feedback without fear of judgement.
When does peer coaching work best?
  • When people are paired cross-functionally - increasing the impact of the development, fostering collaboration and minimising conflicts of interest.
  • When pairs are willing to share honest feedback with each other.
  • When the process is supported by a programme of development; helping both parties understand and build coaching skills and have set structures to guide their progress. 
What are the benefits?
  • Peer coaching makes the practice of coaching accessible for everyone.
  • Coaching skills are spread widely through the organisation, building a true 'coaching culture'.
  • Peer coaching encourages more understanding and collaboration between people and teams.
  • Peer coaching creates a self sustaining and self-sufficient learning environment.
More information:

Peer Power: Building a culture of connection and collaboration in the new world of work, Voco

The surprising power of peer coaching, HBR

Simple steps to achieve the benefits of peer coaching, Training Industry

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