Whether in a formal peer coaching relationship on the job or informally with friends, how exactly does peer coaching work? Peers want to be helpful and when a peer is struggling, like to offer helpful suggestions. Consider this typical peer conversation:
Peer A: Hi, how are you doing?
Peer B: Okay I guess. I wish I there was an easier way to coordinate everyone’s schedule.
Peer A: Why don’t you just tell them the scheduled time and ask them to RSVP?
Peer B: Oh no – they have to be there so we have to find a time that works.
Peer A: So why don’t you plan it on a set schedule?
Peer B: Well, with what is happening around here there is no way that would work. Thanks anyway for the idea.
What is happening? Peer A is simply unaware of the nuances of the situation so the ideas are generic in nature. Even if peer A offers an idea that peer B likes, often peer B simply fails to use it because the opportunity for them to think it through was missed. Peer coaching offers a different approach. In coaching, the premise is that the coachee is their own best expert so the role of the coach is to listen and ask questions.
Come back on Wednesday for an example of a peer coaching conversation.