By Madhukar Govindaraju , Founder & CEO

Organizations that adopt a growth mindset are better prepared to deal with disruptions with agility and are more resilient than organizations that don’t. 

This is because a growth mindset sets attitudes and behaviors that push for constant improvement. It encourages individuals to embrace change and imbibe a belief that all people are capable of learning, developing, and ultimately, growing.

A growth mindset almost seems like the magic bullet – one that promises to make the enterprise highly functional, forward-thinking, solution-driven, and progressive. But a growth mindset is an organizational value that has to permeate across the length and breadth of the organization. It has to be distilled into the very DNA of the organization. For that, it has to be seamlessly integrated into the organizational value system. This can only be achieved with Peer Coaching.

The need for a growth mindset 

People with a growth mindset are more adaptable and work through obstacles and challenges without losing enthusiasm. They bounce back from failures, and are more resilient when it comes to facing setbacks and difficult situations. They respond better to feedback and even view criticism as a learning opportunity. 

Overall, people with growth mindsets have overall higher achievements since their achievements are fueled by their desire to learn and improve. A fixed mindset culture, the antithesis of a growth mindset culture, is based on the belief that native ability and personal traits are fixed and cannot be changed. 

A growth mindset, on the other hand, believes that everything such as talent, intelligence, and ability, can be developed through curiosity, learning, and discipline.

Research shows, Employees with a growth mindset are:

  • 47% more likely to see their colleagues as trustworthy 
  • 65% more likely to say their companies support risk-taking
  • 49% more likely to say their companies foster innovation; and 
  • 34% more likely to feel a strong sense of ownership and commitment to their companies 

All of these parameters coincide with higher returns. More engaged employees with an elevated employee experience and a culture of informed risk-taking and innovation, become the by-products of this approach as well. 

Peer Coaching and Growth Mindset – a holy matrimony 

As organizations move away from the reactive annual performance review, creating the right feedback mechanisms becomes essential to drive continuous improvement. Constructive feedback is a catalyst for growth. However, this feedback needs to be timely, contextual, and highly relevant for it to drive behavioral change. Organizations also realize that today’s high-performance and hybrid workplace needs a different set of skill sets and operating mechanisms to drive productivity, efficiency, and innovation.

The Future of Work is here, and it demands change

The changing workplace needs organizations and employees to become more creative and agile in their thoughts and approaches. This could demand an unlearning of preconceived mindsets and learned behaviors. It could require a shift in the way an employee processes situations and events, or demand a greater understanding of behaviors and traits, to promote teamwork and fuel inclusion & diversity initiatives.  

In this competitive environment, Peer Coaching helps in driving growth mindsets in employees. This is because it is an informal and yet, structurally organized learning program that provides timely information and delivers enablement at work. 

Peer Coaching leads to more meaningful conversations between the coach and the learner and helps switch the negative perception associated with feedback. 

Traditionally, feedback is a term shrouded with negativity. Peer Coaching to develop growth mindsets addresses this very barrier to growth, and creates the appropriate channels that make seeking help and direction more acceptable. 

It helps in rewiring old mindsets to progress towards one that is more open to learning by being more accepting of challenges and shortcomings and becoming more action-driven in enabling change. 

Peer Coaching works in developing a growth mindset primarily because it doesn’t concentrate only on dumping feedback or information on a learner. Unlike a traditional training program on growth mindset, where an employee will be a passive receiver on the tenets of ‘how to develop a growth mindset’, Peer Coaching asks the question, “what is keeping you from adopting a growth mindset”?

Peer Coaching helps take the learner from exploration comes discovery. It works in developing growth mindsets because it is:

  • Exploratory: Peer coaching is a process of exploration. It is about the discovery of positive traits and avenues of improvement. Peer coaching allows employees to discover the exact pain points in their resume of attitudes and helps them contextually understand how these skill shortfalls impede their career and growth paths. 
  • Reflective: Peer coaching is also reflective and, hence, contributes more impactfully towards developing growth mindsets. Well-designed peer coaching programs integrate feedback into learning mechanisms and increase their intrinsic motivation to learn and perform. 
  • Contextual: Peer coaching is a highly contextual learning and development program and targets the exact learning/development needs of employees. The context can be discovered from data generated from behavioral analysis tests or 16 personality factor assessment tests instead of good old guesswork. This data-backed peer coaching approach makes coaching plans relevant for the learner. They also adopt a more open method towards learning, making it more impactful. 
  • Continuous and informal: The informal and continuous nature of peer coaching also makes it perfect to drive a growth mindset amongst employees. Peer coaching encourages the learner to seek feedback and helps them own their learning. Feedback is also timely, regular, and data-backed to help it drive behavioral change by developing intellect and situational understanding of circumstances. Further, concerns such as fear of criticism or perceived feedback that impede learning (because it makes an individual feel threatened and creates mind blocks that block the ability to listen and learn) are also laid to rest with peer coaching.

In Conclusion

Change takes time. It cannot come overnight when people have been operating with fixed mindsets. Neither can a growth mindset be entrenched rapidly and immediately. Developing a growth mindset is a process that demands a paradigm change, one that needs a complete realignment of limiting thoughts and thinking patterns. 

Developing a growth mindset is hard. It is harder when you want to distill it across the organization and integrate it into the value system. It is not unusual to backslide into fixed mindset actions even after attending growth mindset training. Peer coaching becomes the antidote to this by putting the correct checks and balances in place and ensuring timely intervention, continuous dialogue, and appropriate support when the learner wants it, where she wants it. 

Are you interested in discovering the power of peer coaching to develop a growth mindset across your organization? See how Numly’s™ AI-powered peer coaching platform can power up your initiatives. 

By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

In today’s fast-moving and increasingly competitive world, standing still is equivalent to moving back. Competitive advantage can never be guaranteed, and disruption is a constant. Digital technologies bring in organizational stability and become the cause of increased competition and employee turnover, especially as employment doesn’t remain limited by physical proximity. Then there is the world of work that has moved, somewhat prematurely, into the Future of Work leading to the rise of remote work and hybrid workplaces as a response to the pandemic. 

Organizations are looking for ways to manage constant change and disruption while keeping employees engaged in this hybrid work model. One of the best ways to achieve this is to ensure equitable distribution of knowledge seamlessly across the organization. 

For this, organizations have robust learning and development plans and training initiatives to help their employees. However, along with these initiatives, organizations need to focus on creating a learning culture that is steeped in knowledge sharing. 

The importance of knowledge sharing and what impedes it

In these digital workplaces, the concept of knowledge sharing becomes critical to develop a more unified, connected, and engaged workforce. Knowledge sharing is an activity through which knowledge and expertise are exchanged amongst colleagues and teammates. However, there is a certain cultural resistance when it comes to knowledge sharing. 

This is usually because knowledge is not relegated to information consumption alone. It is also about the “how” and “why” and the complete experience behind something. Knowledge sharing is more than information exchange. It is about ensuring that employees become experts armed with the knowledge that goes beyond basic information. 

Benjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”. Creating channels that remove silos and enable smooth knowledge sharing ensures greater innovation capabilities, a more productive workforce, faster problem solving, higher levels of collaboration, and more individual experts. 

Knowledge sharing, given its impact, should ideally be a part of the organizational knowledge management strategy. However, most organizations look at knowledge sharing linearly…one that is limited to simple documenting and creating some knowledge-sharing articles. 

However, the environment of constant disruption, rising competitiveness, and the consequent need for increased resilience demand that organizations take calibrated steps to create and preserve knowledge across evolving workforces. The objective is to create a workforce that can link knowledge with action to drive value. This can only happen with peer coaching.

Peer coaching eliminates the barrier to action 

To effectively implement a culture of knowledge sharing it is essential to embed it into the organizational culture, spanning from the junior-most to the senior-most individual. 

This can only be achieved when there is a systematic shift in perceptions and learned behaviors. 

Driving such a shift of behaviors can only happen with contextual learning, consistent reinforcement of new learnings, and timely feedback. It requires knowledge sharing to become an integral part of the knowledge management process. This can happen organically within an organization by building a culture of peer coaching.

Peer coaching is a non-judgmental process where two people of equal status actively help each other to solve specific tasks or issues using simple, straightforward advice and a mutual desire to be helpful.

Peer coaching works in driving organizational knowledge management because, – 

It is data-driven and contextual

Organizations can drive highly contextual and relevant peer coaching programs to help employees navigate the skills gap or performance challenges they experience. Using tests such as behavioral analysis tests or 16 personality factor tests, organizations can adopt a data-driven approach to drive peer coaching across the organization. 

People are more responsive to contextual information because of which peer coaching becomes more compelling in overcoming resistance to change. 

It reaffirms learning and drives behavioral shifts

Peer coaching is an informal process that occurs cyclically. It can be an effective tool to reaffirm learning and share knowledge in an organized and systematic manner. Since peer coaching can become a part of a larger learning setup, it can be easily leveraged to drive better learning outcomes with repetition. 

Peer coaches are also change-enablers since they are a part of the organization and are employees themselves with the relevant experience. Because of this, their suggestions become more relevant, help in building greater understanding, become more welcome and are easily put into practice.

Peer coaching breaks down the resistance to change and helps in driving behavioral shift by reaffirming learning, builds accountability, and automatically improves outcomes. 

Peer coaching promotes knowledge sharing and continuous learning 

By establishing a strong peer coaching network, an organization sets the tone for learning and establishes it as a part of its core philosophy. Creating the network and providing a platform to confidently and confidentially reach out to seek help to close learning gaps automatically encourages people to take charge of their learning. Building such a network promotes a culture of sharing and encourages those with elevated skills to upskill those in need. 

Providing a platform to connect with coaches according to skill not only closes the skills gap but also encourages employees to ‘pay it forward.’ With peer coaching, organizations can build the peer mindset and make learning endemic to the organization. It builds learning and coaching into the very fabric of the organizational culture and ensures that tribal knowledge does not filter out of the organization but flows through it seamlessly. Since it promotes organic exchange, it reduces the resistance towards change. 

Finally, peer coaching establishes the network that ensures knowledge is distributed evenly and equitably across the organization and delivers enablement and empowerment when work happens. 

Connect with us to see how our AI-powered peer coaching platform can help your organization elevate knowledge management and make it a part of the company culture. 

By Madhukar Govindaraju , Founder & CEO

Having a diverse workforce is essential in today’s corporate environment. But it’s not as easy as just deciding to make inclusive hires. A Forbes study indicated that a majority of corporate diversity programs haven’t yielded desired results. Around 75% of conventional diversity and inclusion programs have been failing consistently. Thus, it’s essential one must also carefully plan and execute a good DEA program. But how? How do we fight our subconscious biases? How can we create a plan that suits everyone? 

Possibly, there are two major problems with current DEI programs.

Problem 1: They are inauthentic

An article in the Economist stated that 12 of the most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from Human Resources, and I’m here to organize a diversity workshop.”!!

Jokes aside, the statement points towards a general distrust of HR diversity initiatives. According to a study in the Harvard Business Review, companies struggle mainly with finding out what the inclusivity problems are. They found that managers are pushed by a fondness for taking action and finding solutions without understanding the actual issues. Their DEI programs are usually reactionary measures introduced after a specific incident or event. That comes across as inauthentic. 

They forget to engage their employees in effective two-way communication. They don’t take the necessary steps to educate the relevant people on measures being undertaken by the organization. To make genuine programs that will create a long-lasting impact on the learners, initiatives must center themselves around thorough research. While this may take time and resources to conduct in the short term, it will save the organization money, time, and energy in the long run. Evidence suggests that organizations constantly invest heavily in diversity training but with little results. 

Problem 2: They create a sense of inferiority

Normally, learners feel that they’re being lectured to. Studies show that ‘training’ and ‘coaching’ are terms that employees don’t like. They imply mandatory and remedial programs, which rob learners of a sense of freedom and instill a feeling of failure on some level. Instead, programs must make employees feel they are being presented an opportunity to grow with equity. Programs must focus on teaching behavioral and critical skills which will nurture inclusion and collaboration. It’s time for organizations to create a holistic approach that doesn’t make learners feel like they’re being spoken down to.

Why 75% of conventional diversity and inclusion programs have been failing consistently? 

Let’s take a look at some of the major DEI obstacles – 

Unconscious Bias

Many companies want to make DEI training voluntary exercises, and not compulsory programs. Doing so has shown improvement in employee participation in such programs. Consecutively, as per a study, there was an increase of 9 to 13% in black and Hispanic men and Asian-American men and women in top management roles. One factor to consider is that there are more benefits of such training for those who already show advanced skill competencies. Employees with low-skill competencies may feel alienated, as they may not be suitable to give training. In such a case, individuals with high competency levels will evolve into role models for other organizational members. If low-skill employees fail to evaluate competency in diversity, they will grow into accepting their errors. 

Gender Bias

A huge majority of men accept that teams with a healthy representation of women can perform better. But there is a lack of awareness amongst one-third of men. They are unresponsive to the challenges faced by women leaders. 28% don’t agree that women are more prone to difficulties when it comes to top management roles, despite having equal skills and qualifications.

Racial Biases

A surprising number of people aren’t aware that they have racial and ethnic biases. These are the people most resistant to DEI programs based on racial discrimination. There has to be a shift in this mindset, and the responsibility for such lies on leaders and managers. They must raise awareness by using psychologically protected spaces to create safe listening experiences. That will increase empathy as well. 

Manager-focused Training 

Most organizations have diversity training programs for their managers. But that’s very counterproductive. It breeds resentment and reflects poor diversity. It is important to have consistent leadership support for employing minorities. It has to be followed through with a plan to ensure inclusivity in key decision-making promotions and promotions to executive levels. 

Peer Coaching – The Magic Bullet 

The sure-shot way to overcome these two challenges in the form of peer coaching. Yes, I’d mentioned that employees don’t like the word ‘coaching’ – but ‘peer coaching’ is different. The processes themselves vary greatly, despite the two being used interchangeably. Conventional coaching creates a one-way mode of communication, from coach to learner. But peer coaching is a process where everyone involved learns and grows. It’s mutually beneficial, confidential, and structured. The process helps identify and measure skill gaps without making anyone feel uncomfortable. 

Peer coaching also helps create realistic benchmarks. Using these, one can quantify the success of each measure. Peer coaching mitigates the negative impact of learning and development programs. 

  • Using a comprehensive framework, peer coaching helps in changing behaviors through skill exchange. It can address all the DEI goals. Organizations that used peer coaching were more successful at navigating change when compared to competitors. 
  • Peer coaching helps create awareness and eliminate subconscious biases on gender. It helps create a culture of inclusion for women where they are systematically and actively included in succession plans. Peer coaching can be supplemented with women’s leadership development programs to build conviction.
  • To tackle the racial biases, the solid antiracist organizational culture and top leaders’ behavioral changes need to be guided by peer coaching. All these aspects together can help in augmenting individual attitudes and institutional policies.    
  • Peer coaching initiatives can be molded to be effective for different levels of organizational leadership. It can help leaders assess both personal biases and general biases that hinder inclusivity implementation. Inclusive work cultures empower employees with opportunities and the space to present contradicting views. They also encourage questioning deep-rooted mindsets without a threat to their sense of relevance. Peer coaching helps break hierarchical barriers. It enables teams with cultural or other generic differences to collaborate on projects that proliferate cross-cultural competence.

Robust peer coaching initiatives are effective methods for enabling diversity and inclusion. Both external and internal intervention coaching delivers forward-thinking inclusion tools that combat discriminatory behaviors. 

Download this whitepaper on ‘Why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Should Be A Business Imperative’ – it discusses in detail the deficiency in diversity and inclusion efforts, how a shift in mindset can reshape the future of the workplace, and how comprehensive and discerning coaching programs are critical in creating a cornerstone for a collective understanding of DE&I.

By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

Human beings, by our very nature, are cooperative individuals. We also constantly strive to become the best versions of ourselves. When you combine these two traits, it’s easy to see why a concept like peer coaching is beneficial for so many people. It gives co-workers a chance to work together towards self-development. This makes it a good foundation for many productive business processes. 

Let’s explore the top reasons why now is the right time for organizations to adopt peer coaching:

 

Peer coaching combats a lack of trust in peers outside the function and/or an over-reliance on familiar faces

We, humans, are susceptible to a phenomenon called tribalism. Simply put, this is what creates that strong feeling of loyalty towards one’s tribe or social group. While this is useful for building bonds within one’s function, this is also what creates distrust or feelings of unease towards those we feel are not a part of our tribe or group. Since peer coaching brings individuals from different functions together, it helps eliminate this tribalism within the company. It helps foster trust and bonhomie amongst different processes. 

Peer coaching co-creates shared goals and priorities and reinforces them with metrics and accountability

Making a time-bound schedule with goals for oneself is easy, but when you have a partner co-creating one with you – more reliability gets added to the mix. While it’s true that there are many people out there who can be accountable to themselves, most others would prefer a partner to keep them in check. Peer coaching is exactly that – it’s a way to have someone you trust to help you reach your goals, without compromising on your normal daily work. 

Peer coaching helps create forums that build competence and interpersonal trust that establish the value of group goals

Do you know what a trust fall is? It’s a game that many children play as well, albeit the trust-building benefits may not be their motivation. A trust fall is when a person deliberately falls, believing someone from their group will catch them. Similarly, one’s peer coaching partner is expected to catch them when they fall off their schedule or goals. Now, can your partner catch you if they don’t know the rules of the exercise? The trust fall has the same end, no matter who plays it. That’s why one would prefer a partner who has experienced a structured peer coaching session before to help guide them. Peer coaching creates a platform where all the different partners or groups can create peer-coaching goals, both personal and organizational, along with rules and guidelines.

Peer coaching helps break down employee clusters of like-minded teammates

Another tendency of ours is to build an echo chamber around us. This is when everyone just agrees with each other when a conflicting or difficult matter is being discussed. In an echo chamber, everyone has the same opinions. While it is comforting and helps avoid conflict, it’s toxic behavior that hampers growth. This leads to group-think and even groupism, which can lead to creative rot. If no one is challenging each other, then why would anyone push for innovation? Peer coaching helps diversify such groups.

Peer coaching combats distrust or competition amongst team members

Franklin D. Roosevelt once said that competition is useful up to a certain point, but cooperation is what we must strive for today. What he meant was that competition, while an agent of action in many, has destructive tendencies. Especially when it’s between members of the same team. But peer coaching fosters understanding and builds mutual goals. This creates a cooperative and collaborative environment, which creates trust and promotes healthy and creative work.

Peer coaching helps teams focus on outcomes from a customer and stakeholder perspective

As peer coaching involves more than one person, it’s easier for those involved to start thinking from outside their perspective. This helps in considering situations from the POV of a customer or even an internal stakeholder. This is because the team goals that are created are ultimately beneficial for the company’s most important relationships. Every action becomes more meaningful and has the interests of the customer in mind.

Peer coaching helps everyone to get transparent about workloads and competing priorities collectively

Sometimes, it’s tough to stay on routine but employees feel obligated to put their best face forward. This can lead to creating unrealistic goals for themselves or being dishonest about how much they’ve completed. As peer coaching creates a safe space, it’s much easier for employees to be honest about their workload. They can then create a new schedule to reach their goals. This is much better than waiting for everything to snowball at the last minute and doing substandard work.

Peer coaching helps reconfigure, re-optimize your pitfalls, strengths, and spikes in the workforce behavior and skill landscape

The best part of this process is the feedback loop. This is what encourages honest feedback and constructive comments from one employee to another. It helps refine plans and ideas, as well as skill sets and choice of tools. Peer coaching keeps each process fresh and constantly updating itself, thus ensuring no team is left with outdated skills or plans that simply don’t grow along with changing situations. This also helps create a safe space to evaluate and grow from failures.

Peer coaching helps craft tangible “measures of success” and quantified impact across your Learning and Development budgets

This process requires interactions and actions whose success and effectiveness are measured by benchmarks. The success or failure of these can be viewed by those responsible for creating learning and development programs. This is much better than paying exorbitant amounts on sessions and coaches who may not have any impact whatsoever. It’s more reliable as it’s been tried and tested. It’s also easier to break down the processes and assign a cost of training to each section.

Peer coaching helps combat the lack of norms/policies to guide WFH/remote work

Although WFH/remote working isn’t a new practice, many companies are unprepared for a framework to help navigate through this structure. But peer coaching creates an environment where norms and policies can be created collaboratively. This is because those on the same team will be in constant touch with each other. They will share the challenges they’re facing and brainstorm a possible solution together. Collaboration such as this will help create the foundation for a formal framework.

These are the reasons why it’s time to embrace peer coaching in your working place. Get in touch with us and take this step to make your office a more collaborative place.