The Surprising Power of Peer Coaching is an article by Brenda Steinberg and Michael D. Watkins for the Harvard Business Review. They write about small coaching groups comprised of executives from different organizations who are essentially equal in terms of experience and position.
However, the benefits of peer learning groups of five managers, at the same level of authority but from different parts of the same organization, are similar. As a matter of fact, they are magnified.
- Immersion into real-time group dynamics. The managers in a peer learning group come together because they are having difficulty with a similar management concern, although they each have probably approached it differently. This shared challenge creates a more cohesive group that works together to learn more effective techniques.
- Insight into diverse perspectives. The peer learning process gives each member an equal opportunity to share their experience and perspective on the current challenge they are all struggling to manage.
- Opportunities to practice new skills in a safe space. During the confidential conversations the peer members hold, they practice active listening, give constructive feedback, and collaborate to find the best management techniques.
- A robust accountability system. Once they have learned a new technique, the peer group members are held accountable by a peer buddy and by the rest of the group to apply what they’ve learned and then report their experience.
- An enduring support network. When the managers begin the peer learning process, they are asked to be vulnerable and share their issues and concerns. Because they are able to have confidential discussions and speak openly and honestly, the members connect on a more personal level. This creates much stronger relationships.
According to Steinberg and Watkins, these benefits require a coaching group’s commitment to nurture a climate of trust and support, have a collaborative attitude, listen actively, provide direct feedback, be supportive, and take risks.
Peer learning group members make this same commitment. Imagine how much more powerful these qualities are when they are shared and sustained by managers in the same organization. The positive impact of their collegiality, collaboration, and growth mindset on the management team and on the organizational culture is enormous.
Question: Do your managers spend any time talking with each other, or can’t they see past their siloes?
#management #leadership #communication #collaboration #groups #trust