11 Essential Competences for Peer Coaching Conversations

I often face the comment, “We are already supporting our colleagues when they are down and under”, why do we need to get into Peer Coaching structures.

Undoubtedly, peer conversations serve an essential part in our daily life by providing us strength, establishing camaraderie relationships and comforting us and many times mentoring us in more ways than said. By plugging in Peer Coaching Competencies in these conversations, Peers improve their own people skills and add great value to others.

11 essential competencies that must make up a Coaching conversation between Peers are:

  • Ability to Establish Trust
  • Active Listening
  • Asking Powerful Questions
  • Challenging current thinking
  • Bringing-in Awareness
  • Ability to Integrate information for the benefit of the Coachee
  • Setting SMART goals
  • Ability to Plan and Organise effectively
  • Ability to manage Time effectively
  • Ability to followup on set Goals
  • Ability to hold the Coachee Accountable

The results of a Peer Coaching Conversation survey amongst 500 peers, indicatee the presence of at least one of these competencies amongst peers and it is extremely valued. Imagine the impact on Peer conversations if and when all these competencies are present. Here’s a brief description of  each of these Competencies:

1. Ability to Establish Trust: It refers to a Peer Coach”s ability to create a safe and supportive relationship that encourages open and honest dialogue. It is essential for the Peer Coach to demonstrate impeccable integrity and confidentiality so that Peer Coachee  feels respected and supported.

2. Active Listening: Here, the Peer Coach Listens with complete attention and mindfulness. The focus of the conversation being to understand what is being said and left unsaid by the Peer Coachee. The purpose of active listening over non-active listening is “the information shared in active listening is used while setting goals and taking action steps towards reaching the goals.”

3. Asking Powerful Questions: “Powerful Questions are those that you are scared to answer and possibly you wish no one asks.” Powerful questions are a combination of Left brain and Right brain questions posed by Peer Coach explore the blind spots and such areas within Peer Coachee’s subconscious and conscious that encourage insights and move the Coachee forward.

4. Challenging Current thinking: It is easy to listen to an upset friend without raising questions or exploring stuck emotions or behaviours.  But that is not what well-wishers do. Coaches are well- wishers, they want to see you happier, growing, progressing and moving forward. Peer Coaches have the courage to challenge your mindsets, thinking frameworks, old habits, repeat patterns and so on. In doing so, they dismantle old behaviours and thinking by bringing in new thinking patterns.

5. Bringing-in Awareness: Before change and action comes awareness of what is holding you back, what are you learning, what values are you disconnected from and what is important to you. Peer Coach brings forth this self- awareness within the Peer Coachee without any blame or guilt.

6. Ability to Integrate information for the benefit of the Coachee : The Peer Coach assimilates and integrates all useful inputs so that the Peer Coachee can   “Connect the Dots” and benefit from the new found self- awareness. All this information encourages the Peer Coachee to move forward and feel complete, whole and resourceful.

7. Setting SMART goals: The Peer Coachee, having explored roadblocks and with new found awareness, is ready to set goals that promise results. The Peer Coach helps the Coachee set SMART goals that empower the Coachee.

8. Ability to Plan and Organise effectively: The Peer Coach objectively helps the Coachee plan the set goals and organise/reorganise around the current daily schedule of the Coachee. Well planned goals increase the chances of their achievement.

9. Ability to manage Time effectively: The Peer Coach must know of Time management tools/techniques to help the Coachee find time for Coaching activities. For e.g. focusing on one activity vs. muti-tasking to become more productive and reduce distractions.

10. Ability to followup on set Goals: “How many of us succeed with New Year Resolutions?” The primary reason for this is “lack of followup”, especially if you are the only one on the road to change!!! The Peer Coach takes the responsibility to follow up with Coachee on a pre-agreed time frames on a regular basis. This ensures the Coachee is able to reach his daily goals on his way to bigger goals.

11. Ability to hold the Coachee Accountable: The Peer Coach does a great job of holding the Peer Coachee accountable for his set goals. The Peer Coach identifies the many ways in which the Peer Coachee will hold himself responsible.

Each of these competencies can be practiced individually in our Peer Coaching workshops as you progress to be an effective “Peer Coach”

Peer Coaching India, New Delhi