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Peer coaching is defined as a professional development method that has been shown to increase collegiality and improve teaching. It is a confidential process through which teachers share their expertise and provide one another feedback, support, and assistance for the purpose of refining present skills, learning new skills, and/or solving classroom-related problems (Dalton and Moir, 1991).
Peer coaching is optimal to:
Peer coaching is a mechanism in which professionals, administrators, and executives, who may or may not work together, come together in a trusting atmosphere to encourage and facilitate self-directed learning. Each individual alternates between being a peer coach and a peer client during the peer coaching process.
In the following ways, we can see how peer coaching adds value to other coaching approaches and modes:
In a typical peer coaching setting—
The “peers” in each group come from various departments and functions across the organization, and typically are the same level of leader.
The group meets once a month, shortly after the delivery of a leadership training topic that the entire group attends. They discuss and coach each other on the topic and how each individual plans to implement the ideas and actions from the training.
Each group has an external coach, primarily serving as a facilitator of the discussion. One of the methods used by the coach is the “mastermind” technique, helping the peers learn the practices to effectively support each other.
Not surprisingly, the participants in these small peer coaching groups continue to meet – sans the external coach – after the program has ended. The peer coaching provides that much value!
Peer coaching can be done one-on-one, but it also has a lot of benefit in group environments, particularly if the structure allows for open discussion, exchange of ideas and experiences, and agreeing on specific steps to be taken.
More and more, organizations recognize the impact coaching has to supplement a leader’s development. When determining which method to use, consider the “power of the peers”.
The structure for their peer coaching process includes the following four ingredients.
Building confidence between the coach and the client requires active listening. It’s a way for the coach to demonstrate to the client that he understands his needs fully. Understanding how to listen allows the client to open up about stressful, burdensome, uncomfortable, and even humiliating situations. Individuals prefer to preserve their self-image regardless of the circumstances. Any effort to persuade them otherwise is dangerous, since their whole identity is based on their self-image beliefs. This means that even well-intentioned praise can be unsettling and displeasing to someone who feels he is unworthy of the praise and unfit for the task at hand. This prevents the person from changing. Active listening is an effort to adapt in a non-direct way. To be in a position to improve, a person must be able to explore for himself, see for himself, and make his own decisions.
Emotional self-awareness is an indirect product of coaching, and it is triggered by the coach by questions based on emotions, affects, and so on. However, this is not only a product of the client’s coaching, but also a skill that the coach requires.
It is the awareness or understanding of the self for the client. It means being conscious of one’s emotions and attitude. Understanding the current emotional state and the factors that affect it is the first step toward improving it.
Known as reflective questions, open questions, coaching questions, Powerful Questioning is a way of using questions to help the client focus and think more deeply about what the problem is actually about in the situation in which the problem arises. For instance, consider the question, “How will your boss react to this?” This forces the client to consider a different viewpoint and position, which can lead to a shift in the client’s perspective of the problem and new solutions.
Carol Dweck, an American psychologist, coined the term “growth mindset.” It’s a mash-up of many ideas that leads to a growth mindset.
A Growth Mindset welcomes challenges, perseveres in the face of adversity, sees effort as a road to mastery, learns from criticism, is motivated by others’ success, believes that the necessary skills and knowledge to be talented can be created, believes that intellect can be improved by learning, recognises that tenacity and patience are often required, and knows when to seek help.
Peer coaching is a form of professional development that has been shown to enhance teaching and increase collegiality.
Peer coaching enables leadership development for professionals to meet the most common challenges effectively.
A Growth Mindset embraces challenges, perseveres in the face of difficulty, views effort as a path to mastery, grows from criticism, is inspired by others’ success, believes that the requisite skills and knowledge to be talented can be developed, believes that intelligence can be enhanced by learning, recognises that tenacity and persistence are often needed, and knows when to seek support.
Emotional awareness is an unintended consequence of peer coaching, and it is sparked by the coach’s questions about feelings, causes, and other topics. This is, nevertheless, not only a product of the client’s coaching, but also an ability that the coach must possess.
Peer coaching is the most effective way to:
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