Coaching in an organisational context is a powerful tool to support staff to help develop skills. It works across a wide range of disciplines and it serves to build confidence and communication skills.
Coaching also provides a space for personal development. Traditional approaches to personal development are often focused on training. Coaching helps to learn skills as it encourages critical thinking and self reflection.
One of the most natural ways to introduce coaching is through peer coaching. Peer coaching is a confidential process where two people, who are at a similar level, support each other to work through challenges they are facing. The feeling of familiarity of sharing with one of your peers makes the experience more straightforward and connected.
A peer coach should be able to listen without judgement, reflect on what they are hearing, ask the right questions and support their peers with better decisions.
Oftentimes coaching can be confused with advising, but it differs from it as a coach does not push the coachee towards a direction or explicitly tell them what to do. Advising might give direct opinions, or would map scenarios to try to persuade a coachee to take a particular direction. A good coaching session provides the coachee with new insights and helps them reflect on the issue from a different perspective. This is achieved by having a coach who actively listens, but most importantly that asks the right questions. The best way to achieve this, is by following a structured and clear pathway, and learning and practising with each other.
To fully understand peer-to-peer coaching, you have to be willing not only to coach someone else, but to be the coachee, as well. By agreeing to be coached, you’re already sharpening your skills to be able to reciprocate the same kind of insight.
Tips to become a better coach
According to the Institute of Coaching, there are a few simple steps to improve your coaching skills:
Each session should begin by deciding and specifying the topic that you are trying to develop.
After that, it’s important to establish what are some of the challenges that you might encounter. Try to sort out what are some of the hurdles that will need to be overcome, and allow time and space to think about it.
The final step encourages thinking of a concrete small action that will help get a step further. Change is not something that happens overnight, but rather a sum of small changes.
Coaching doesn’t necessarily have to happen in a face-to-face context. Increasingly, teams are meeting and working online, especially for globally connected companies. Thanks to technology, it is possible to have asynchronous coaching sessions, i.e. there is no need to even be in the same time-zone.
Practising coaching skills on Gamoteca
In partnership with a number of global organisations focussed on leadership and coaching, we have created a human-connected learning experience that allows you to practise and improve your coaching skills online with a buddy. The experience has two roles (coach and coachee) and takes about 30 minutes to complete if played continuously, but is best completed over a one week period.
The main learning objectives are:
Practice coaching skills, while giving & receiving feedback in a safe environment
Better understand the practical considerations of a coaching relationship
Gain perspective on the larger process of coaching through engagement with another learner
We have have worked with large organisations and received feedback from thousands of learners who have benefited from the experience:
“I feel this is a great way to teach a skill that people often find boring. When learning doesn’t have a two way engagement, the receiver often feels she/he is not contributing anything to the learning process. Also, in this game you get to engage with coaches across the globe.”
“This is definitely a fun and interactive way to learn. I feel the visual and audio element in the game helped in relating to the situation at hand. This could be a great tool to use in our work, too, when we train the youth on relationship building, so definitely see myself using this in my training.”
“That it gave an insight into something that can be so complex in such a simple way.”