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Peer Coaching- A Must-Have for Your Remotely Distributed Team

By Madhukar Govindaraju , Founder & CEO

Offices with the best environment are those where the employees want to work together to share their skills. This kind of collaborative spirit makes the environment productive for everyone involved. It stimulates both personal growth and organizational growth. It’s just a nice and friendly way to grow accountability and mutual respect between employees. This is why it’s a great practice to instill amongst team members in a remotely distributed group as well.

How do you recognize whether peer coaching is for your organization? Let’s explore its meaning, who it’s useful for, and what its benefits are for a remotely distributed team.

What is peer coaching?

Peer coaching involves employees giving and getting constructive feedback from each other. These are trusted people who have interacted professionally, therefore they have the relevant experience to share such feedback. A succinct definition for the same is as follows.

Peer coaching is a confidential process through which two or more colleagues work together to reflect on current practices; expand, refine, and build new skills; share ideas; teach one another; conduct classroom research; or solve problems in the workplace” – Robbins, 1991

Peer coaching refers to colleagues working together to reflect on each other’s capabilities and skills. It allows them to collaborate, build new skills, and teach one another. The third aspect of peer coaching involves employees solving workplace problems as a team. 

Who is it useful for?

According to the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, “Peer coaching is used in a variety of environments, including collegiate and professional athletics, nursing, physiotherapy, and education. In the field of management and organizational behavior, peer coaching is a relatively new form of coaching that’s gaining recognition and respect due to its positive outcomes and cost-effective nature.” 

We can derive from this that many organizations stand to benefit from peer coaching. 

Remotely distributed teams can gain the most from peer coaching. It can be a good solution when the physical and geographical barriers of remote working are a disadvantage. Lack of constant interaction, team-building opportunities, and low motivation are some issues that come to mind. 

Let’s explore the main benefits of this style of collaborative coaching.

Benefits of Peer Coaching for Remote Distribution Teams

Accountability

The main advantage of peer coaching is building accountability within employees. In this setup, it can be difficult to create a sense of responsibility and accountability when people are not physically around each other. Peer coaching establishes a connection between the employees. It also forms a channel between them and the company. This encourages them to be accountable to each other and the company as well.

Builds Leadership Skills 

Peer coaching helps build leadership skills in two ways. First of all, it gives employees the chance to learn how to give constructive feedback. It aids them in learning not to shy away from pointing out flaws or highlighting strengths. These are important leadership and management skills. The second way is by allowing colleagues to watch and learn from each other. In a conventional office environment, it’s easy to watch leaders and imitate their behavior or learn from them. One-on-one coaching such as this creates a similar opportunity between colleagues in a remote working environment, which they might otherwise miss out on.

Accelerated Learning 

According to a 2019 Workday-Bloomberg survey, organizations are 42% more interested in building skills that improve bench strength, grow the next generation of leaders, and effectively compete in the future of work. These are crucial to building a good rapport with customers and colleagues both. When one receives a continuous feedback loop, their self-reflection increases. It’s only natural that one would take measures to improve themselves based on the information they’re receiving. Therefore, learning becomes faster than ever. 

When employees work remotely, there is little to no incentive for them to pick up new skills. Peer coaching gives them the motivation and encouragement to do so. It also gives them the chance to learn from people they have built a rapport with.

Helps in Personal Development

While there may not be a coach physically present, a continuous feedback loop compensates for that. This includes questions that investigate many deep and underlying behavioral motivators. Topics such as personal growth, learning, mindset mastery, and overall motivation are covered. Probing of this nature can transform the individual in such a way that professional development morphs into overall personal improvement. 

Fosters Teamwork 

When colleagues are physically situated far apart, it’s close to impossible for them to create a sense of camaraderie. There are no shared tea breaks and the like when it comes to remote work. But peer coaching creates an opportunity for employees to get to know each other better. It takes it five steps ahead by allowing frank communication about each individual’s strengths and weaknesses. This leads to creating a strong sense of trust, spurring on teamwork, and improves the quality of group projects overall.

Gives Fresh Perspectives

Employees are bound to create fresh perspectives when they exchange information and communicate with each other. If there are individuals situated in different cities or even countries, the chances of learning new things are even higher. Not only is this refreshing, but it’s also exciting.

Practice and Reflection

Such programs give employees the chance to ponder over their place in life. They’ll be compelled to analyze where they would like to fit into the corporate structure, and how they want to grow in their careers. Additionally, they get a partner to discuss these complex thoughts with. This helps guide them to create actionable plans to reach their professional and personal goals.

Peer coaching for remotely distributed teams also creates a way to objectively assess an individual’s skill. Since they are going to be measuring each other on certain parameters – it becomes easy to give points or scores to specific skill areas. 

Remotely distributed teams miss out on the benefits of face-to-face interactions between colleagues. Peer coaching helps them bridge those communication and leadership gaps. It creates accountability and a sense of team spirit. It also helps in measuring and tracking an employee’s skill sets. This will help them grow both professionally and personally. 

NumlyEngage is an AI-Enhanced peer coaching platform that enables organizations to

  • Let employees coach each other on a wide range of hard and soft skills
  • Identify, attract and retain top talent
  • Improve overall employee performance and productivity

Get a live demo to discover how NumlyEngage™ can help you.

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