Are you a manager? If you are, it’s very possible that you spend at least a small part of your otherwise-extremely-busy day putting out fires and scraping deadlines lamenting how little time you have to be able to look forward and make changes that will benefit you and your charges on a long-term basis.
Equally, you could well be a member of said manager’s team, feeling cut adrift and left to flounder without any real indication of how you’re doing, knowing that this is not due to any incompetence from your boss, but rather that he or she simply doesn’t have the time.
Coaching is the ultimate example of forward-thinking in the workplace – after all, give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you’ll feed him for a lifetime. Sadly, it’s an inevitability in the busy office environment that these things are the first to be put on the back burner when something ‘more urgent’ comes up, and can be treated as a luxury despite repeated acknowledgement of its proven importance.
Essentially, short-term goals hold more sway than long-term prosperity in too many workplaces, usually because the manager in question is concerned that they’ll lose their job by the time the benefits start to show.
Does it have to be like that though?
Peer-to-peer coaching is a phenomenon employed in a growing number of workplaces, the nature of which is exactly as its name suggests – colleagues get the chance to offer one another coaching and advice about a number of different aspects of their roles.
As detailed by FastCompany, this type of coaching presents an alternative dynamic to the traditional manager to employee one we’re mostly familiar with, and one that results in “accountability, accelerated learning, and emphasis on using questions for personal development”
In the main, due to being of a more outwardly ‘informal’ nature, and coming from an individual that the coachee knows and respects – not to mention probably does the same job as them – peer coaching sessions tend to be a lot more candid. There is understandably less tendency for someone to just tell the other person what they want to hear if they are of equal standing.
It also introduces an element of self-determinism and empowerment. A staff member will feel a greater sense of self-worth if they are able to come to the conclusion of how to improve by themselves or with a peer, as opposed to being dictated to by someone with a standpoint that they may not necessarily fully understand or agree with.
The next, of course, is that it gives potential leaders some power and responsibility and the chance to hone their coaching skills rather than them being thrown into the role. In a workplace packed full of highly-motivated and ambitious team members destined for greater things, a task such as this would really give them a new challenge and test their skills by having them mutually coach one another.
With this in mind, Refract has released its latest feature Collaborate, which allows users to create group chats to discuss with colleagues about a particular highlighted behaviour in a demo, call or meeting, independent of their managers. This allows peer-to-peer coaching to flourish in digital form in the same way many of our other features empower managers to be able to give effective and demonstrable feedback, all with the goal of improving performance and bringing a culture of coaching into the workplace.