By Varnika Garg, Associate Product Manager

Workplace dynamics change constantly for employees. New situations and challenges at work are common occurrences that can make employees feel stressed and worn out. The pandemic has only made the situation worse, with many employees finding themselves working in silos and feeling even more distanced from their teams and managers. 

But if you ask anyone, whenever faced with a challenge, most people would prefer reaching out to a colleague for help. This is often due to the close bonds that people build with their colleagues/peers at work. 70% of employees say having friends at their job is the most crucial element to a happy working life.

To get more insights into this, we at Numly conducted a quick poll on LinkedIn running for about a week, with the following question:

If you need expertise and do not know who to ask, what are your top methods to find the right person?

  • Ask manager for recommendation
  • Colleague for recommendations
  • Ask during a virtual event
  • Search via people locator tool

Results:

And here are the results, and they were not quite surprising!

With about 46% votes to “Asking a colleague for recommendations”, it is clearly evident that people do value peer relationships and would like to reach out to them when they are stuck and need expertise.

Takeaways:

Peer-to-peer relationships or Peer Coaching is evolving as an essential process for every organization. There are some real and tangible benefits of enabling your employees to interact and solve problems. Helping your workforce develop a close relationship with each other not only prevents them from feeling isolated and unheard, it is also a great way to improve your organization’s engagement levels. 

Some benefits of Peer Coaching are:

  • Increase in productivity and performance
  • Improved team morale
  • Boost in employee retention
  • Increase in camaraderie and engagement

For the current generation, having a well-connected network is highly important. Employees are keen to find new ways to seek and connect with others in their field to seek guidance and knowledge on critical skills development needed for their personal career growth. Organizations that are conducive to create such a trustworthy environment for their employees are highly sought after. 

Solution:

Having understood the importance of Peer Coaching, the biggest question is, how to enable it at your organization?

Numly offers an AI-enhanced platform – NumlyEngage™, that enables Peer Coaching as an extension of eLearning, making it possible for organizations to tap into employees’ hard and soft skills and empower them to coach each other in a structured manner, while leveraging third-party learning content, expert coaches and built-in, AI-enabled coaching programs tailored for all corporate functional groups such as Sales, Customer Success, R&D/Engineering, Women Leaders, New-hires, New Managers, etc. 

NumlyEngage™ helps employees of an organization to connect with each other on specific skills and coach each other in a systematic manner, guided by AI-generated recommendations and tips and content. in turn, organizations will get to experience accelerated revenue, increased performance, and improved employee engagement, especially in the post-COVID-19 era of Working-From-Home (WFH).

Leverage the power of Peer Coaching today! Get a live demo to discover how NumlyEngage™ can help you.

By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

Peer coaching is a relational learning technique where professionals, managers, and executives come together to help each other become better versions of themselves. They do this by creating an environment that’s conducive to learning, self-reflection, honesty, and trust. Many times, they aren’t active participants in each other’s professional lives and have become acquainted through this process. Even so, they’re dedicated to helping each other reach pre-defined goals through self-directed learning. Each person alternately plays the role of peer coach and peer client. 

Getting individuals to wholeheartedly participate in peer coaching can be challenging in many ways. It can be a threatening idea for some. It involves letting your guard down and pointing out your flaws to another individual. If it’s someone you work with, it can be harder to do this. How does one foster an environment where people don’t feel threatened to let down their defenses? On the other hand, when people are ready to self-reflect, how can you ensure they’re led to the desired goals?

The answer to these questions lies in following the principles of peer coaching. With these, organizations can ensure that their peer coaching efforts are fruitful and deliver tangible impact. 

Key Principles for Peer Coaching at Workplace

Create an Environment of Introspection

Fostering the right environment for self-reflection is important. This is key to peer coaching and will help individuals feel comfortable with discussing their aspirations. Ensure each unit or team doesn’t exceed three to maintain a sense of comfort and closeness. Here are a few questions each peer coaching unit can ask to get started:

  • How will we work together?
  • When and how will we meet?
  • What are your expectations, interests, fears, and hopes?
  • What are you uncomfortable with disclosing? (this can be avoided to respect privacy)

Create a Feedback Culture

This is a crucial step in peer coaching. Not everyone is good at giving or taking, feedback. People may feel hurt, and this can create disharmony. How does one avoid getting into trouble with their peers while retaining honesty? Organizations can give the teams coaching on giving and receiving feedback – just a couple of basic rules. The most essential component of this is conveying the importance of active listening. This, along with observation and careful communication, is the backbone of effective feedback.

Set Transparent SMART Goals

Setting the right goals will create the structure for the peer coaching sessions. Each individual must create a set of personalized goals that they want to reach by the end of a set number of weeks. These should include what the individual wants to achieve, what skills they’d like to improve, and what new knowledge they’d like to obtain. Individuals will have to take time to self-reflect and think about their goals from the perspective of both a teacher and a learner.

They can then create a set of SMART goals. This will help them create specific, measurable, assignable, relevant, and time-bound goals that will help them succeed in their endeavors. When everyone is ready with their goals, they have to share them.

Establish a Realistic Schedule

When crafting the timetable for sharing and assessment, it is important to create a realistic schedule. This should not come in between the actual work of individuals. It is essential to take into consideration all their commitments, both professional ones, and personal ones, and then plan the peer coaching programs. Creating an unrealistic schedule will end up with people missing dates and reducing trust in the process. This will be demotivating and cause a dip in the employee growth journey. Setting SMART goals and a realistic schedule is important to create an effective peer coaching system.

Use the Right Tools

The right tools are important since most people are still working from home right now. Even when they aren’t, these tools will prove to be useful. Organizations need online collaboration, communication, and feedback tools to facilitate these processes. There are many such tools online, each that fit specific needs and budgets. Some tools help in adding tasks, due dates, facilitating video calling, and online chatting. These can be helpful during events or moments where people can’t be at the same place physically.  

Everyone Needs to Have the Right Mindset

The right outlook is key for peer coaching initiatives to work. People must be eager to reap the rewards of this process. This is a growth mindset and is essential for anyone to develop – not just professionally but as a human being. It can help to include managers, department heads, and other leaders from the company in these peer coaching sessions as they have specific experience and knowledge that can genuinely motivate others to grow.

Follow these peer coaching principles and get the most out of these fun and collaborative learning processes. It’s an excellent way to facilitate self-development with the right leadership to guide them. 

Leverage the power of Numly to empower your employees with Peer Coaching. Get a demo today!