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Key Benefits of Peer Coaching in The Workplace

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.

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