Peer to peer coaching is a development concept that is increasing in popularity. It holds the promise that people can achieve their personal and professional goals by working with peers.
One of its biggest benefits is that it allows a person to talk to someone who can relate to them. It allows them to be their most genuine self without the pressure of having to put their best foot forward with their coach.
While this kind of coaching has its benefits, there are a couple of mistakes that participants may commit.
Discussing Coaching Matters in Public
Coaching is like the practice zone of its participants. Each participant has a goal or set of goals that they want to achieve. The coaching sessions are supposed to be the safe zone of the participants where they can feel safe about expressing their truest self. However, there are other participants who discuss coaching matters even outside their sessions. This brings down the trust that is provided to be the foundation of the coaching program.
Pushing Others Beyond Their Comfort Zone
Personal development coaches encourage their participants to express themselves. This is usually done by following certain patterns and methods. Sometimes, these patterns encourage them to step beyond their comfort zone, but participants should never be forced to talk beyond the things they are willing to talk about. There are certain limitations to coaching. Participants should be respected however small the information they are willing to reveal.
Giving Unsolicited Advice
In this program, the participants get the role of the talker and listener. When you’;re the talker, you’;re encouraged to share pieces of yourself that is relevant to the program. But as a listener, it’;s a lot easier to interpret things according to how you understand them. You may feel like giving advice with the full intention of "helping" the other person. But no matter how "well-meaning" you are, giving "advice" is mostly not welcome and can even disrupt the pattern or process.
"Handling" Situations on Your Own
Ideally, coaching sessions should be smooth-flowing. But there are times when participants veer from the patterns and direction provided by their coach. During the times when you realize that you’;re no longer heading in the right direction with your peer, the best thing to do would be to ask for a coach’;s guidance. This is especially crucial if you’;re working with a colleague as your peer. When you’;re no longer comfortable with your discussion or if you feel that your peer is facing more deep personal issues that you can not process, ask for help from your professional development coach.
Interrupting the Other Person
In a coaching session, you will be encouraged to talk. Sometimes, you’;re even encouraged to talk beyond what you think comfortable. Sometimes, being a listener is just as difficult as being the talker. You may sometimes feel the need to interrupt the person especially if they’;re taking too long or if they do not agree to some of the principles you believe in. But no matter how uncomfortable it is, resist the temptation to interrupt the other person.
Peer to peer coaching can only be effective if the participants properly follow the provided patterns and methods. For the coaching program to be beneficial for its participants, mutual respect and understanding should be maintained.
Change and development is easier to achieve when the participants are actively involved in every step of the program. It is also important to continue make an effort to make themselves and their peers feel comfortable. At the end of the day, we all want growth and the best way to achieve it is through mutual understanding, patience, sincerity and respect.