By Madhukar Govindaraju, Founder & CEO

Peer coaching is a complex and rewarding system that can help everyone in an organization tap into their full potential. It’s an extremely empowering process that helps break down unnecessary elements and enhance the practices that are required to tackle the unique modern work challenges. 

But most organizations have little to no idea how to implement peer coaching. A survey showed that only half of the respondents who filled the survey used peer coaching at the time, and only 32% considered peer coaching to be very or extremely effective. This suggests that organizations are yet to leverage the full potential of peer coaching. 

Let’s take a look at the many benefits of peer coaching. 

Key Benefits of Peer Coaching in the Workplace

Peer Coaching helps set goals

Peer coaching boosts employee engagement at work by coaching people how to focus on the ‘what’, and not the ‘how’. That helps employees assess their relationship with their organization and what they want out of it in the long run. It encourages each employee to innovate, be resilient, agile, and redesign their future.

According to another survey, 80% of people who received coaching report greater self-confidence. More than 70% benefited from improved work performance, relationships, and more effective communication skills. 

Read: Inspiring Behavioral Change in Employees Through Peer Coaching

Peer coaching enhances discussions around goals and priorities, helps people plan their schedules, opens up channels of communication, and, most importantly – helps them reinforce these with metrics. 

It also changes the nature of group work. On top of setting personal goals, group goals and company goals are taken into consideration, too. That ensures that the employee’s personal goals align with those of the company. Peer coaching also helps create spaces where competence can be built, and interpersonal trust helps establish the value of group goals. In terms of leadership, peer coaching helps in achieving agility. 

Read: Here is How Peer Coaching Improves Teams’ Effectiveness

Peer Coaching creates a Flatter Organizational Structure

Imagine an office where the people who get promoted are the ones who butter up the manager. Anyone else who prefers to focus on their work rather than spend time in watercooler conversations simply gets overlooked. They get a heavier workload and often go underappreciated. What would happen in such an environment? Most likely, the culture would become negative and toxic. The leaders would elevate and promote just a few members above others. There would be an overreliance on some familiar faces. Other team members would become disillusioned and withdraw.

Now imagine an office where there is an intense amount of competition. The leaders actively pit the employees against each other. That would cause distrust and competition amongst team members. It might even create a lack of trust in peers within their function. This distrust would also transfer onto peers outside of their function. That doesn’t sound very healthy, does it? Such environments foster toxic distractions that would take the focus away from work and onto office politics. 

But peer coaching solves these problems. Open channels of communication are created between all the members. That creates a culture of shared objectives and helps employees work as a team to optimize functional and business unit goals – together. Peer coaching helps put an end to discriminatory behavior as well since it creates a flatter hierarchy. If any is observed, it’s easy for peers to report this behavior. It also creates a better breed of leader – a more empathetic one, hands-on, and accountable.

Peer Coaching enables Better Learning 

We all know the benefit of upskilling, reskilling, and learning more skills throughout our lives as employees. But did you know peer coaching can create better processes to facilitate deeper learning? Modern workplaces distribute knowledge through blended learning methodologies and modern tools /technologies. They also integrate expertise across teams through joint work and peer coaching. It does this in many ways.

First of all, peer coaching helps upskill teams for the next ‘normal’. It does this even when the on-ground facts are incomplete, imprecise, and constantly changing. This style rewires leaders for excellence by teaching them how to navigate through disruptive processes such as the COVID-19 crisis and more. It also helps them transition to a digital world. Today, forward-thinking leaders are already using algorithmic business thinking to hack growth and value. Peer coaching helps spread this knowledge and helps those who are uncomfortable with these new changes.

Peer coaching helps individuals manage themselves better, too. This is especially true when it comes to learning and adapting to newer climates where the situation is ambiguous and complex. A great example is a work-from-home situation brought about by the pandemic. Changing environments like this require a re-designed peer coaching experience. 

Peer coaching also:

  • Helps determine the impact-to-effort ratio of new activities and empowers teams to say NO. 
  • Keeps teams’ focus on outcomes from a customer and stakeholder perspective. 
  • Helps reconfigure, re-optimize pitfalls, strengths, and spikes in the workforce behavior and skill landscape. 
  • Combats hyper-focus on optimizing the outcomes based on the team’s expertise rather than the end need.
  • Defeats the cultural resistance to knowledge sharing.
  • Balances ideals with what’s practical and pragmatic.
  • Helps employees tackle the work from home burnout challenges.

Peer coaching also teaches leaders to be empathetic and reach out to those who may be feeling alienated. That helps the overall learning process as those who are exhausted will not be able to learn or perform to their optimal levels. 

Read: How Peer Coaching Elevates Organizational Knowledge Management

Peer Coaching helps resolving Team Bonding Challenges 

Peer coaching encourages problem-solving behavior and helps in overcoming geographic disconnection within hybrid teams. It creates processes to identify and address misalignments. It combats the lack of norms/policies to guide the new normal of hybrid work. Peer coaching even combats a culture of over-inclusion; both within the team as well as within the larger organization.

Peer coaching solves many problems faced by organizations. It helps teams focus on consensus building, brainstorming/innovation, camaraderie building, and developing trust. It helps balance work, life, and career growth. It helps everyone to get transparent about workloads and competing priorities collectively. 

Peer Coaching generates Opportunities

Finally, peer coaching creates opportunities in many ways – especially for minority groups whose voices have historically been silenced. Companies need to understand that diversity, equity, and inclusion are power skills for any organization. Whether the teams are in-house or distributed across the world – that holds. Sadly, the COVID-19 Pandemic “could” erase six years’ worth of progress towards equality for women of color, and other disenfranchised women, since the onus of child-rearing falls upon them. But they – along with other minorities – are the backbone of any business.

Peer coaching deals with these inequities. It shifts work away from the dominance of a few experts. It creates true diversity and inclusion by growing processes or roles for recognizing and reintegrating the disenfranchised. Since peer coaching involves intimate interactions between employees, it helps make ‘inclusion’ a company-wide group value. 

If the peer coaching programs are crafted with these in mind, it’ll be easier to reap these benefits.

By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

Organizational resilience is directly linked to employee resilience and resilience is directly linked to the individual’s capacity to be calm and stable during stressful times. 

The last year has caused a tsunami of stress as organizations moved to work from home. The transition continues as we now gear up to embrace the hybrid work. While a lot has been written about employee burnout and what managers and leaders can do to alleviate them, not much discussion is happening on the burnout managers are experiencing.

Why are managers experiencing burnout?

Research from McKinsey shows that nearly half of all employees report burnout. While we do not have an exact number on the statistics for manager burnout, surely the number is not going to be very different. 

Managers have been at the helm of the crisis, steering their teams through extremely challenging times. They have been sounding boards for their team members and the change agents telling organizations how to evolve work processes and collaboration in this new work environment. 

Managers have been placed in a situation that is inordinately stressful where they are at the receiving end of their team’s challenges while facing performance pressures from their higher-ups. If employees have been questioning their paths of career progressions, managers are also in the same boat. Their fears, struggles, and challenges are quite the same as their team members – what should they do to remain visible? How can they meet their teams’ needs better? How can they build trusted networks across the organization? How can they solve challenges that they have never faced before? How can they offer advice when they, themselves, are struggling with the same problems? What skills should they learn to remain relevant in the new world of work? How will they be perceived asking for help? 

Peer coaching can help

Peer coaching is all about creating a network of allies who support an individual’s needs in a non-judgmental and non-evaluative manner. This support helps in driving positive change in the workplace. It addresses the root causes that impede performance in the workplace and lead to anxiety, stress, and ultimately burnout. 

With peer coaching, managers can 

  • Gain new perspectives on the issues plaguing them and the opportunities that they can uncover and leverage to alleviate these challenges
  • Generate feelings of connection, increase trust within the workplace and deliver insights that would otherwise be missing in the work from home environment. 
  • Destigmatize help-seeking behavior and normalize the fact that while we might be operating remotely, our private lives are welcome at work.

Challenges that peer coaching solves

Shifting that isolated feeling 

Managers, just like the other employees in the workplace, have also been experiencing feelings of loneliness and burnout. Any challenge or problem that could easily be discussed by hopping across a desk now needs a meeting invite. Work-life has become infinitely more formal and yet the boundaries dividing work and personal life are blurring fast. 

In this environment, not knowing how others are managing their teams and work can feel overwhelming and managers can find themselves slipping down the rabbit hole of despair that comes from disconnection. This can seem like an insurmountable challenge, but peer coaching can easily alleviate this problem.

With peer coaching, managers can seek help on issues that are leading to feelings of disconnection. It further helps in destigmatizing help-seeking behavior for senior individuals. It further helps in making managers more committed to encouraging their team members to seek help during challenging times. This makes the work environment healthier and ensures that productivity and well-being do not fall at the altar of managing perceptions.

Building connection and driving collaboration 

All managers, across the board, have struggled to manage the complete shift to remote work. With the world of work having shifted into its remote avatar without providing much notice, all connections and familiarity removed from the picture, managers had a tall task looming ahead – to ensure the same levels of productivity and efficiency as the pre-pandemic days. 

Most organizations offered the initial support to help employees settle into this new format. However, almost all, managers included, felt that this cut-and-paste strategy to enable remote work wouldn’t impact productivity and efficiency. In many cases, while these shifts didn’t affect them, what they did impact was mental health and feelings of anxiety.

In this world of work from home, those organizations that enable peer coaching offer a platform to help managers connect with each other and seek answers to their new challenges. The role of a manager extends beyond task management – but how could the managers do the extra bit without the knowledge of how to go about it? 

Peer coaching is the best tool to help managers cope and understand the dynamics of how their roles have evolved.  Old managers are struggling to identify how to keep their teams connected and engaged without the physical connection and new managers are wondering how to build connections with their teammates to drive powerful collaboration.

Managing perceptions and unconscious bias

It is no secret that many managers have, in the past, harbored unconscious biases on what they perceive to be productive and dependable behavior. At one time, those working from home were perceived as less effective workers and were often passed over for promotions. Lack of visibility because one was working from home, often impacted promotions. Spending a disproportionate time ‘at’ work was more welcome and comfortable than accounting for time spent ‘on’ work.

These unconscious biases are now playing out in the manager’s narrative as well. Just like the team members of yesterday, today managers are struggling to become visible. They are also trying to identify how much visibility is too much visibility? How much management is good management, and when do they become micromanagers? What do they need to do to break free from the shackles of unconscious bias so that they can make the workplace more inclusive, freeing, and accepting?

Peer coaching helps managers 

  • Alleviate and manage these feelings and help them remain grounded in facts
  • Identify the best ways to become effective communicators and ensure that they keep their teams highly motivated
  • Uncover and dismantle unconscious biases by virtue of meaningful, contextual, and continuous dialogues that enable change

In Conclusion 

When organizations enable peer coaching, they provide managers the platform they need to seek help, be vulnerable and explore opportunities for improvement. With peer coaching, managers can develop the power skills like that of communication that drive effective collaboration. 

As we enter the new world of work, organizations have the opportunity to grow and become better than they were yesterday. By enabling peer coaching, organizations can effectively build a culture where lowering walls is not seen as a liability, but an asset. 

Better employee performance and elevated manager throughput become the consequence of these actions.

Connect with our team of experts to see how our AI-powered coaching platform can empower your managers and help them with the right tools to lead their teams and themselves to success.

By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

Uncertainty – the sure-fire way to breed anxiety and destroy mental health. 

With a pandemic that refuses to abate even after a year, the economic fallout, and a constant need to maintain the ‘always on’ mode, mental health has become a very important topic of conversation.

While enterprises have always been talking about mental health, the pandemic has necessitated the need to get even more focused around this topic, as the workforce battles constant changes in the face of new stressors, safety concerns, and economic challenges. In these uncertain times, providing the right and timely support is imperative to ensure that mental health struggles do not translate into depression and other debilitating conditions.

What really is mental health?

Given the challenging work environment we are operating under, and the cessation of familiar operational models with more hybrid models, focusing on mental health is essential to create an enabling workplace that allows employees to reach their true potential.

There is enough evidence that points out that a high level of mental wellbeing is conducive to productivity. Addressing wellbeing at work can increase productivity by almost 12%

But what is good mental health?

Mental health is the way people think, feel, and respond to situations and circumstances. It is the ability to navigate through life and its ups and downs. People with good mental health can navigate these challenges with resilience and are not ‘thrown’ by sudden or unforeseen situations. They generally have a good sense of purpose and direction and can capably deal with life and workplace challenges. 

How to drive good mental health in the workplace?

Having good mental health helps people play a full part in all the roles we undertake – in the workplace, at home, and in the community. 

The thing about mental health is that it doesn’t stay consistent. It fluctuates as people go through life and circumstances. While good experiences have a positive impact, the hard circumstances and situations, when unresolved, can have a very negative impact. This is because stressors impact personal well-being and overall productivity negatively. Since uncertainty is the only certain thing, employees need the tools to increase their distress tolerance and move ahead with certainty. 

Setting up a Peer Coaching culture in the organization can contribute immensely to bring balance into the workplace and promote the mental wellbeing of the employees. 

Here are a few reasons why Peer Coaching is now imperative in the workplace.

  • Promotes team spirit

Peer coaching can be a valuable tool to promote team spirit. Employees who have undergone tremendous change over the past year are again adjusting to a new hybrid work model. Navigating the hybrid workplace can lead to stress as employees wonder how to build trust bridges and connections that will help them succeed in the workplace. They also need to build new skills to thrive in this new world. 

Skills like willing collaboration, collective commitment, assertive communication are becoming imperative. These skills also bring in more efficiency to the workplace and thereby help in promoting morale.

To navigate this new world of work, employees need new skill sets. While the focus is on technical skills, it is the nuanced behavioral shifts that will help the workforce operate productively and with engagement. Helping them identify the skills needed to operate as a team is essential. 

Peer coaching successfully helps in driving these shifts as it is contextual, non-judgmental, continuous, and helps people acquire the skills that help them manage their work better. This consequently impacts mental health productively as it eliminates the worry corridors that we build to deal with lack of knowledge

  • Improves stress management

All employees now need access to the right people who can help them navigate the new and everyday challenges of the workplace. Lines dividing work and life are blurred adding to tremendous stress into an employee’s life. The absence of social workplace interactions can make problem-solving more challenging. The fear of perceptions can impede people from asking for help when they need it as they might fear being labeled ‘inefficient’ or ‘weak’.

 A peer coaching culture makes sure that organizations are sending a strong message out to their employees. It establishes that along with their productivity, the organization is also invested in their well-being. Organizations need to start talking about mental well-being and establish processes to drive that to help employees see that their interest in mental health is not just to pay lip service to a ‘trend’.

Establishing a peer coaching culture in these times help employees realize and destigmatize a few important things:

  • Everyone is struggling and that is okay
  • With knowledge comes the power to change a situation
  • It is okay to not be okay
  • They have the right support to help them manage their challenges 

When participants develop the skills to address challenges those challenges become the reason for confidence. Peer coaching simply makes sure that employees receive timely help before a challenge becomes a distressing stressor

  • Alleviates coping challenges

Mental health gets severely impacted when people are unable to cope. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed. Poor productivity, missed targets and deadlines, lower output, lesser engagement, etc. are all consequences of feeling overwhelmed. 

Overwhelming also occurs when we do not have the tools to address our challenges or hurdles. The minute we get knowledge, that very minute we begin to feel more confident of ourselves. It gives us the assurance to feel that we can manage the situation.

Access to peer coaches provides employees the avenues to close their skills gaps and address their coping challenges. A peer coach operates as a guide… a person who will always be there to provide support and guidance that will have a positive outcome. Peer coaching affirms that asking for help is not a sign of weakness and thereby organically helps people address their coping challenges.

  • Builds resilience

Establishing peer coaching networks organization-wide can greatly impact employee resilience and push it towards being more positive. Resilience comes from the knowledge that someone has your back, you will get help when you seek it, change and accommodating to change can take time, and change is the only constant.

When people get the tools that deliver enablement at work, it automatically improves their resilience, their capacity to remain resolute, functional, calm, unfazed, and productive during a crisis. While this does not mean that there will be no stress, it can ensure that the stress will not convert into distress and lead to burnout.

In Conclusion 

The good news is that the right support and right working conditions can promote mental wellbeing. When organizations create conducive, supportive, and encouraging work environments, they automatically move towards employee engagement and higher productivity. 

Peer coaching can play a big role in destigmatizing help-seeking and aids in building the right connections that help us navigate this loneliness epidemic that is becoming endemic to our times.

Connect with us to see how our AI-powered coaching platform can help your organization build a strong peer coaching network to drive mental wellbeing in your workplace – remote, on-location, or hybrid.

By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

Before we get into the topic, let’s look at a few statistics:

  • Diverse and inclusive corporations are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors. (McKinsey)
  • They are 70% more likely to capture new markets. (HBR)
  • Their teams are 87% better at decision-making. (People Management)
  • These teams generate 19% higher revenue. (BCG)

These numbers indicate that having a diverse and inclusive workforce is beneficial to any company. Especially where it matters, i.e., performance. These companies seem to perform better, generate higher revenue, and can understand the demands of newer markets. But the real impact runs even deeper. If one assesses the very makeup of the modern-day workforce, you’ll understand what we mean. Whichever country you’re in, there’s an increase of minorities equipped with degrees who are entering the workforce. There are more diverse workforce free of gender and race, than ever before, playing pivotal roles in their companies. But although so much progress is being made, it will take a significant amount of time to undo the practices and mindsets of old.

DE&I programs are uprooting old mindsets by removing subconscious biases while hiring, such as race or ethnicity-based biases, sexism, and other archaic prejudices. Instead, it replaces them with more useful and modern philosophies and tools, making way for a huge number of benefits. 

DE&I improves Employee Productivity and Performance

Research shows that employees are 60% as productive as they could be in their workplace. Some of the factors that contribute to this are: lack of sense of belonging, workplace stress, lack of recognition, and toxic workplace behavior. 

Studies show that work-related stress affects minorities in particular. There are many reasons for this, such as different levels of education attained and poor treatment by management. A good DE&I program would help sensitize both management and employees, and help them learn how to interact with employees in a more inclusive way. It would also help minority employees feel more comfortable in their environment and more included and accepted, leading to a boost in employee productivity by almost a 40%!

DE&I helps identify, attract and retain Top Talent

DE&I initiatives help in creating authentic connections with existing employees, who can then recommend other qualified individuals to fill vacant positions. Such recommendations help find the right fit, both in terms of skills and organizational culture. It’s also helpful in retaining employees. Employees who feel they are undervalued, treated poorly, and have fewer growth opportunities are the most likely to leave a company. In the US, numerous studies show that white males are more likely to get a promotion than their colored and/or female counterparts. Therefore, a DE&I program will help build long-lasting bonds among employees, and help management understand their needs better while aiding in breaking the glass ceiling for many.

DE&I improves and maintains better Employee Engagement

If you want your employees to be engaged, they must feel like they’re a part of the organization well and truly. Engaged employees perform better, are more likely to stay longer, and are ready to contribute to the companies they work in. Engaged employees are the backbone of a blooming company culture. Great company culture is essential in attracting the top-most talent in any industry. 

DE&I programs co-function with a robust  Peer Coaching system

The above can only be achieved if your DE&I program is combined with peer coaching. Issues about ethnicity, gender, race, religion, or any other controversial topic are extremely sensitive leaving a lot of room for misunderstandings. It’s only through peer coaching – where one establishes trust, takes time and makes effort to understand others’ dreams and challenges, and acts as a support system – that DE&I initiatives can make a real and tangible impact.

With Peer Coaching, employees assess themselves and others, which helps the company understand what measures need to be taken to elevate certain employees while creating a culture of feedback. Since it helps confront biases on a more humane level and is less mechanical than having a boss talking down to subordinates, Peer coaching is bound to bring in long-term behavioral changes. 

Another benefit of peer coaching is its model of establishing track results-based performance metrics hence giving the organizations a  realistic way to assess learner’s performance and engagement. There is also engagement analytics that can be used to track employee growth hence making it a better way to assess the results of your initiatives with tangible data. Most importantly, peer coaching builds a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion that every organization needs to evolve from simply being an office, into a second family for every employee. That’s the real impact.

If you’re ready to transform your office into a safe space for every employee by breaking through the past and empowering the future workforce, let’s connect to discuss how our AI-enabled peer coaching platform can help you!

By Madhukar Govindaraju , Founder & CEO

With organizations diving deeper into digital transformation, upskilling the workforce has moved to the forefront. While digital transformation is creating powerful business opportunities, it is also creating a skills gap. The dynamics of work are also constantly changing and evolving, and organizations have no option but to invest in advanced upskilling strategies to capably respond to market changes and cash on the opportunities. 

The World Economic Forum had predicted that more than 1 billion people globally would have to be reskilled by 2030 to meet the needs of jobs transformed by technologies. 

In today’s world characterized by a hybrid workplace and remote teams, focusing on ongoing upskilling and employee development has become imperative. 

As the impact of the pandemic, organizations have to not only upgrade technical skill sets but have to work towards developing a workforce that is agile and emotionally & mentally ready to tackle a transforming market. While there are clear advantages that upskilling brings to the table, given the forces of disruption at play, the traditional approach of creating annual training plans no longer remains effective. 

Market dynamics are compelling organizations to add new capabilities on the fly. They demand organizations to be flexible, agile, and resilient. In such a dynamic and constantly evolving market, organizations need to make their training and upskilling initiatives agile as well. 

Given these shifts, how can organizations plan their upskilling initiatives? 

Replace guesswork with data analytics for precision 

Jumping on the next upskilling fad and expecting your upskilling initiatives to work? Initiatives designed from a place of gut feel or trends usually end up in the skills graveyard. This is because training only sticks if it is relevant and contextual to the employee. Why should the employee enthusiastically upskill if they don’t feel the need or understand the role these skills will play in their career development? How will the training stick in the absence of relevance? 

Organizations need to engage their employees and help them identify these skill gaps not from gut feel but from data-backed tests. These tests have become crucial data points to evaluate the technical and power skill needs of the workforce. Behavior Analysis tests or 16 Personality Factor tests, for example, can help organizations and employees self-diagnose and identify their exact skill needs. 

With this information, organizations can create powerful peer coaching plans and leverage a robust, technology-enabled peer coaching platform to drive great results. With such a platform, it becomes easier to make the right coach and learner pairings. A comprehensive platform will also provide actionable insights from rich analytics on skill development, performance, employee engagement, and overall transformational insights. All of these make training outcomes more impactful and positive with lesser effort.    

Remove ambiguity in a hybrid world of work 

Employees across the world are battling challenging times. While the chaos and uncertainty that gripped the world of work in the initial days of the pandemic have mellowed, ambiguity and complexity prevails.. 

As employees and organizations move into the Future of Work, it becomes the organization’s responsibility to help the workforce settle into this hybrid world. 

  • News of work from home burnout, concerns regarding career paths, and work opportunities are on the incline. 
  • Managers have to now move from being bosses to virtual leaders
  • Leaders have to discover new leadership styles to suit this new world. 
  • New employees have to find and build trusted networks and paths for career development. 
  • New and old employees are working out how to augment their career paths while ensuring they remain visible. 

The challenges in this new world of work are aplenty and add to chaos and confusion.

Helping employees and management (leadership) find the right direction in uncertain times assumes strategic importance now. Traditional upskilling initiatives are not designed to be impactful in this new world simply because the rules of engagement have dramatically changed. As such, upskilling initiatives have to account for the unique needs of the workforce and help them contextually resolve their problems. 

Peer coaching networks help a great deal in removing most of the complexity that comes with ambiguity. Since peer coaches come with similar life experiences and work challenges, it becomes easier for the learner to connect with the peer coach, understand the context and implement the actions that need to drive behavioral change. As Peer Coaching is a measurable and contextual process, it can be leveraged to drive learning and upskilling programs and cover up those aspects that typical traditional training programs miss. 

Battle constant change with resilience 

If there is one thing that is set in stone is that ‘change is now constant’. Organizations have to now develop their workforce such that they can contribute to organizational resilience. Digital technologies are assisting organizations in this journey. Cutting-edge technologies such as AI are helping them improve business capabilities and outcomes. 

The key to survival and success in these disruptive times is to remain agile towards the workforce and organizational needs. As such, while organizations cannot completely do away with training planning for the whole year, it is essential to supplement it with peer coaching to address the more immediate needs of the workforce. Peer coaching can also be impactful in reinforcing learnings and driving behavioral change that ensures that new skills stick and are implemented at work.  

This becomes especially relevant in these trying times as employees battle to understand the new rules of engagement and figure out strategies for professional success in a remote, disconnected, and hybrid world. 

Peer coaches, through non-judgmental and informal exchanges, can help learners navigate challenges and hurdles with ease. Employees are also more receptive to feedback when it is presented in a timely, contextual and non-judgmental manner. Strong peer coaching also reaffirms learning by providing personalized and contextual nurture actions that include notifications, reminders, alerts, kudos, and more. These actions, along with contributing to skill enhancement, also aid employee engagement initiatives by delivering enablement to employees when they need it.

Connect with us to see how an AI-powered coaching platform can power up your upskilling initiatives and drive them with deep engagement insights from data analytics and Machine Learning-powered engagement scores.

By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

Enterprises have been talking about VUCA for years. VUCA, an acronym for the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous world of today, seems to be on steroids now with disruption and a rapidly evolving business environment. The pandemic has contributed further to this VUCA environment, leading us into the future of work, where the lines dividing the digital and the physical are blurred. 

As the workforce and the workplace digitally transform, leadership models have to evolve as well, to remain effective and relevant in this new world. In today’s complex and challenging environment, leaders not only have to make sound business decisions that increase profitability, but also focus deeply on how their leadership is experienced, and how they can make their key stakeholders that include the employees, customers, and investors, feel more valued.

The transition to this digital world is to drive organizational agility, adaptability and enable customer-centricity. Along with these benefits, digital transformation can deliver unforeseen risks and unanticipated costs if organizational leaders do not alter how they exert influence, power, and control. 

Successful organizational digital transformation is only complete when leaders can transform themselves, measurably. In this digitally transformed world, the new bottom line demands the leadership’s own affective digital transformation – one that places equal importance on engagement, purpose, empathy, and fairness as other parameters of data-driven agility or efficiency and productivity.

The leadership transition challenge

Given the changing times, organizations need to revamp their leadership development initiatives and make them more suited to fit this ever-evolving world. The leader’s action or inaction can significantly influence the course of a business. Yet, despite high stakes, leaders are underprepared and under-supported during the transition.

The move towards becoming impactful virtual leaders is a significant transition point for leaders of today. Navigating this transition successfully with the right tools, to lead the digital workforce can influence organizational fortunes significantly.

Research shows that while leadership transitions are important, they are hardly easy. 

Even in the good old days, leaders ranked organizational politics as a big hurdle that impacted successful transitions. 68% flounder on issues related to politics, culture, and people, while 67% of leaders wish they had moved faster to change the culture.  

The rules of engagement have changed dramatically, as has the pace of change, client and employee expectations coupled with digital progress. So much so that it makes sense to follow Marshall Goldsmith’s advice, “What got you here, won’t get you there”.

As we move deeper into VUCA and a digital world, the need for leadership transition from being a remote boss to a virtual leader is only going to increase. According to research, most leadership development programs fail, as leaders do not feel appropriately supported as new leaders. Almost 74% of leaders in the US and 83% globally feel that they are underprepared for their roles. As such, organizations need to revamp their leadership development programs to become relevant for this shape-shifting world of work.  

Managing the leadership transition to lead successfully in a digital world needs organizations to provide greater support to their leaders and move their development programs away from the usually followed ‘hands-off’ approach.

Leadership development for the digital world needs an almost complete rewiring of traditional approaches of the directive and authoritative leadership styles and has to account for the individual development needs of the leaders.

Why Peer Coaching leads the way?

Cervantes once said that “to be prepared is half the battle won”.  

Successful leadership transitions in this digital age are a marriage of both.

Digital work has different demands from leaders. To be an effective leader in this dynamic world, along with technical knowledge, leaders need to be more mindful, empathetic, resilient, impactful, and agile.

With traditional models of leadership failing to hold water to today’s relevance, developing leaders require helping them cultivate new perspectives on leadership. 

  • Organizations need to create the right channels and provide the right tools that assist leaders in identifying effective leadership styles and the blind spots in their leadership. 
  • Leaders need to adapt to the challenges that organizations face in a digital environment and go on a journey of learning to lead themselves and then translating that knowledge to lead others and forming effective collaborations.
  • Leaders need the insights and the skills to overcome the challenges of the existing leadership culture and develop the right perspectives to design the appropriate strategies that translate into impactful outcomes in a digital world.

Peer Coaching becomes the antidote to leadership inertia – an essential to thrive in a digital landscape across an organization that is no longer siloed and bureaucratic and no longer responds to the and command-and-control models. 

Peer Coaching assists in leadership transitions as it:

  • Helps leaders develop the power skills like empathy, emotional intelligence, communication, critical and strategic thinking, and self-awareness, etc.
  • Assists leaders identify and develop the traits to become adaptive leaders. 
  • Develops autonomy to be innovative while providing the guardrails to prevent chaos.
  • Identifies authentic leadership styles and develops the language to communicate their styles with impact, emphasis, and authenticity. 
  • Helps leaders become ‘complete’ leaders. Most leaders are ‘incomplete leaders’ who excel at one thing and struggle with another. Navigating through these gaps along with developing the capability to understand and communicate their unique way of leading based on experience, values, strengths, and personality; is critical to adapt in the digital world. 
  • Improves ‘sensemaking’, an essential quality for a rapidly evolving and digital work environment. Satya Nadella of Microsoft has been a sense-maker throughout his Microsoft stint. He learned this skill by frequently changing jobs. Organizations can leverage peer coaching to help their leaders develop the skills to improve sensemaking. It helps them identify and assess what additional sensemaking they need to do to stay in step with the changing market conditions, business models, workforces, and technologies.   
  • Helps digital leaders identify ways to inspire their team members for engagement and to secure buy-in. While technology connects teams, the screens can create barriers that inhibit connection. Peer coaching helps digital leaders build transparency, integrity, and empathy to evaluate strategies to overcome technological barriers and to connect with team members with authenticity.
  • Provides leaders with the support to navigate the ‘Age of Accelerations’ where change is inevitable and invariably faster. In this age, emerging as a transformational leader who inspires the workforce to enact organizational transformation needs to develop specific power skills. Peer coaching can make this transition easier and more effective by influencing behavioral shifts necessary to drive change.

Leadership development is imperative to align with the ever-evolving leadership fundamentals in the digital age.

Leadership development programs now provide crucial leadership support by providing clarity, support, and direction to help them communicate with purpose, create a compelling vision, decipher complexity with ease and energize, and inspire everyone with an inclusive vision. 

With Peer Coaching, organizations can help leaders make the necessary behavioral shifts needed to become more adaptable, handle higher pressures with ease and act with agility.

Connect with us to see how our AI-powered peer coaching platform can revamp your leadership development initiatives and help you build leaders who will help your organization thrive.