Peer coaching can be a great way to connect employees and promote learning and collaboration. While mentoring relationships typically involve a more junior employee learning from an experienced staffer, peer-to-peer coaching involves employees at the same level collaborating. Anyone with knowledge to share can serve as a peer coach — no need to work in a leadership role.

Developing a peer coaching program is a smart move considering that people often look to their peers for guidance. Allaya Cooks-Campbell, a certified integrative wellness and life coach, says peer coaching is typically a two-way coaching relationship that helps both parties grow. Peer coaches can work in the same department, but they don’t necessarily have to. The main thing is that they don’t have to contend with any title or rank dynamics.

Want to learn more about peer coaching? Keep reading this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, where we share Cooks-Campbell’s thoughts on the practice.

Benefits Of Peer Coaching
Some of the biggest advantages of peer coaching include employees developing new skills and competencies. However, Cooks-Campbell says the practice can lead to many other benefits. For example, peer coaching helps foster connection among remote workers and the onsite team. It also helps bosses gain real-time feedback on current practices and workflows. And peer coaching can help improve retention and job satisfaction.

Some Do’s And Don’ts
Before kicking off a peer coaching program, Cooks-Campbell says there are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.

• Name a coach (ideally not a manager) to facilitate small groups
• Host an orientation to teach teams what to expect
• Put a system in place to gather feedback
• Work with individuals and teams to develop coaching skills

• Only focus on job-related and workplace skills
• Believe everyone knows what the coach’s role should be
• Host open-ended programs — closing a cohort can provide a valuable opportunity to re-evaluate program structure

Since peer coaching isn't confined to coaching sessions but occurs informally and automatically, learning and development are embedded in the day-to-day work of the team, Cooks-Campbell says. In this way, continuous learning and coaching become part of a company’s culture, not just a training to be completed once or twice a year.

When peers pair up, they might brainstorm ideas or practice their presentation skills. Several employees could also get together to form a small group similar to a mastermind group, Cooks-Campbell says. Some other activities might include leadership development programs for new managers or knowledge-building discussions.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

If you don’t have a formal peer coaching program in place, consider starting one next year. Peer coaching not only helps employees share knowledge, but also helps boost engagement and camaraderie.

Source: Allaya Cooks-Campbell is a BetterUp staff writer and a certified integrative wellness and life coach.