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  • Writer's pictureJill Hauwiller


Peer coaching is an exceptionally effective way to support employees in their career development. Let me tell you why and share a few steps on how to start a peer coaching program at your organization.

What’s so great about peer coaching?

Like action learning, peer coaching creates opportunities for self-discovery and problem-solving within a like-minded community. Peer coaching can also be set up in a way that encourages participants to build deep connections across the organization. These cross-functional connections can lead to an increased understanding of the business and its operations as well as supportive relationships that drive innovation. In addition, peer coaching participants are likely to grow their emotional intelligence capabilities through intentional, focused conversations with their peers.

Benefits for peer coaching participants

  • Participants get to put their problem-solving skills to the test. By actively listening to their cohort, they will understand the challenges their peers and other parts of the organization are addressing. Participants can lend their expertise to support their peers and help the organization.

  • Participants will increase their business acumen because they will be exposed to a broader set of business issues through their peers.

  • Cross-functional cohorts will give participants a more robust network within their organization and a network of trusted colleagues with whom they have established credibility.

Benefits for organizations

  • Peer coaching participants are addressing real-time business challenges together.

  • Organizations that have strong internal, cross-functional networks of high potential talent are likely to be more innovative and quicker to anticipate and respond to market opportunities.

  • Retention! People are more likely to stay in an organization that supports their development, offers interesting and challenging work, and fosters mutually beneficial personal and professional relationships.

Start a peer coaching program at your organization

  1. Identify participants. I recommend aiming for six participants in each cohort. Start with high potential employees who need additional exposure to other areas of your organization. Engage leaders of potential peer coaching participants to ensure alignment with career goals and current capacity.

  2. Determine HR’s role in the peer mentoring cohorts. Will your teams be self-guided or will HR engage an external resource to serve as an ongoing facilitator?

  3. Set expectations for the peer coaching cohort -- or have the cohort set these ground rules for themselves. Areas to consider include frequency of meetings, accountability to cohort, types of topics to cover and confidentiality of what is discussed.

  4. Encourage peer coaching participants’ leaders to support the problem-solving and idea generation that emerges from the peer coaching cohort.


Originally published on LinkedIn


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