Peer coaching of staff – No one of us is as smart as all of us
This week’s #coachingHE will discuss Peer coaching of staff. This theme is potentially helpful in HE as it might be possible to use it to help people from different parts of the institution (different faculties, academics/professional service staff, functions, etc) understand each other more and therefore cooperate with each other and inter-feed ideas better.
As Jack Welch puts it, there is some recognisably powerful about learning with and from others. Peer coaching is a potentially invaluable resource for critical learning in the current unpredictable context. This is especially important now that we are working with limited budgets and having to deal with reduced learning opportunities.
Parker, Kram and Hall (2014) remind us that peer coaching is a ready source of highly qualified help available. Learning through our relationships is a foundation for career growth. The skill of gaining career learning is essential to make career advancements, thrive in work and life transitions, and when possible adjust to changing circumstances.
A project conducted in the field of Health Education reports on the use of peer coaching to support a group of senior leadership and junior students. The peer coaching model used builds on active learning principles and the constructivist paradigm: (1) mental sorting of information, (2) cognitive growth, (3) organization of learned knowledge, (4) association with known experiences, and (5) active participation. Benefits reported were collaboration, raised students’ awareness of critical thinking, reasoning, and making use of effective clinical judgment (McQuiston and Hanna, 2014).
The literature recommends having the necessary discussion on peer selection prior embarking on the peer coaching project and establishing a process following three steps:
(1) Building a sustaining environment (i.e. relationship building, structure, engagement and respectful environment).
(2) Building conditions for success (i.e. success creation, relational skills and capability-connections, visioning, narrative and storytelling to deepen trust).
(3) Building peer-support to reinforce the learning of the skills so that they can engage in autonomous, self-regulating peer coaching that is sustainable and ongoing.
Our next #coachingHE #SDFcoaching Tweetchat seeks to explore how peer coaching may help professionals to disseminate excellent leadership skills, enhance high level thinking skills, enhancing collaboration across faculties, departments and functions within organisations and institutions. To achieve, we will discuss the following:
- What would you use peer coaching for? Or if you have already used it, what have you used it for? What were the benefits?
- What are the crossovers, similarities and differences with peer supervision, action learning sets and other initiatives you may have implemented or considered?
- How can peer coaching be supported with colleagues possessing different length / breadth of experience?
- How would you facilitate information exchange without threatening either party? How could we nurture sustainable and autonomous peer coaching?
List of references:
Parker, P., Kram, K. E. and Hall, D. T. (2014). Peer coaching: An untapped resource for development, Hall Organizational Dynamics 43, 122—129
McQuiston, L. S. and Hanna, K. (2015). Peer Coaching: An Overlooked Resource, Nurse Educator, 40(2), 105–108