Peer Coaching

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Peer Coaching

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1. Peer Coaching Food Systems Leadership Institute Fall 2008 Welcome to Mentoring and Coaching. My name is Dr. Claudia Fernandez. I am a faculty member in the Department of Maternal and Child Health, the School of Public Health, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Welcome to Mentoring and Coaching. My name is Dr. Claudia Fernandez. I am a faculty member in the Department of Maternal and Child Health, the School of Public Health, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

2. When it comes to leading others, you reap what you sow Leaders and managers would be wise to remember the old adage, ?you reap what you sow?, for this is very true in organizational life. There has been a wealth of discussion in books and articles on the similarities and differences between managing and leading others. One of the hallmark differences is that when managing others, one often focuses on problem solving, distributing tasks, and providing resources. When leading others, one tends to set the goal and then empower the team to reach it, in part by facilitating their problem solving. Which tactic you take has a profound impact on how your team will function. Leaders and managers would be wise to remember the old adage, ?you reap what you sow?, for this is very true in organizational life. There has been a wealth of discussion in books and articles on the similarities and differences between managing and leading others. One of the hallmark differences is that when managing others, one often focuses on problem solving, distributing tasks, and providing resources. When leading others, one tends to set the goal and then empower the team to reach it, in part by facilitating their problem solving. Which tactic you take has a profound impact on how your team will function.

3. Do you cultivate problem bringers or problem solvers? When you are the leader you will find that people tend to bring you their problems. It can be very tempting to give them the answers they seek. After all, it might seem like the expedient thing to do, the issue gets addressed your way, you might feel you are meeting their needs and being a good manager?but when you solve their problems guess what happens? They don?t learn HOW to solve problems. They learn how to bring you their problems to solve. A big question you need to ask yourself: do you want to cultivate people as problem bringers or problem solvers? Actually, there is no absolute right or wrong here, but many leaders get sucked into solving other people?s problems. Some like the sense of accomplishment they get from solving those problems or feel personally valuable to the team. Some new leaders struggle with moving from being the ?go-to? person to working through others. But make no mistake, if you train your team to bring you their problems to solve, that?s exactly what they?ll do. And they can become very skilled at dumping on you all the problems that arise in an organization! Of course, that might not leave you with enough hours in the day to do your own work or solve your own problems. Always solving the problems of others is called ?micro managing?. When you are the leader you will find that people tend to bring you their problems. It can be very tempting to give them the answers they seek. After all, it might seem like the expedient thing to do, the issue gets addressed your way, you might feel you are meeting their needs and being a good manager?but when you solve their problems guess what happens? They don?t learn HOW to solve problems. They learn how to bring you their problems to solve. A big question you need to ask yourself: do you want to cultivate people as problem bringers or problem solvers? Actually, there is no absolute right or wrong here, but many leaders get sucked into solving other people?s problems. Some like the sense of accomplishment they get from solving those problems or feel personally valuable to the team. Some new leaders struggle with moving from being the ?go-to? person to working through others. But make no mistake, if you train your team to bring you their problems to solve, that?s exactly what they?ll do. And they can become very skilled at dumping on you all the problems that arise in an organization! Of course, that might not leave you with enough hours in the day to do your own work or solve your own problems. Always solving the problems of others is called ?micro managing?.

4. So how DO you get out of the problem solving trap? One way to build people?s talents and skills is to capitalize on mentoring, coaching, and peer coaching. These strategies help transfer the skills from one valuable player to another as well as help people learn entirely new skills that can be tough to learn ?on the job?. We?ll talk about each of these in depth, but first let?s see how they fit into the wide scope of skill-transfer options that exist in most organizations. So how DO you get out of the problem solving trap? One way to build people?s talents and skills is to capitalize on mentoring, coaching, and peer coaching. These strategies help transfer the skills from one valuable player to another as well as help people learn entirely new skills that can be tough to learn ?on the job?. We?ll talk about each of these in depth, but first let?s see how they fit into the wide scope of skill-transfer options that exist in most organizations.

5. Peer Coaching facilitates teamwork Professional executive coaches are a great tool, but they can be expensive. So what can you do in your organization to foster feedback and on-going learning? One of the best strategies you can learn yourself and roll out across your teams is Peer Coaching. Peer Coaching facilitates teamwork and promotes the culture of a learning organization. When done successfully, it moves some of the strategies used by executive coaches firmly into the reach or a greater number of organizational employees. Professional executive coaches are a great tool, but they can be expensive. So what can you do in your organization to foster feedback and on-going learning? One of the best strategies you can learn yourself and roll out across your teams is Peer Coaching. Peer Coaching facilitates teamwork and promotes the culture of a learning organization. When done successfully, it moves some of the strategies used by executive coaches firmly into the reach or a greater number of organizational employees.

6. Peer Coaching shifts the mindset One of the more difficult skills for new leaders to learn is to work through others to get things done. Particularly after many years of being the quote ?delivery boy? or the ?go to person?, work can seem nebulous and lacking in closure when one accomplishes tasks by, well, seeing others accomplish them. Peer Coaching focuses efforts on getting things done through others, promoting success across teams rather than for individuals, facilitating problem solving skills and reflection in others, and promoting accountability. It is an easy step to put into an organization and can shift the mindset of your team. One of the more difficult skills for new leaders to learn is to work through others to get things done. Particularly after many years of being the quote ?delivery boy? or the ?go to person?, work can seem nebulous and lacking in closure when one accomplishes tasks by, well, seeing others accomplish them. Peer Coaching focuses efforts on getting things done through others, promoting success across teams rather than for individuals, facilitating problem solving skills and reflection in others, and promoting accountability. It is an easy step to put into an organization and can shift the mindset of your team.

7. Peer Coaching Structure Groups of 2-4 support and hold one another accountable for growth and learning To set up Peer Coaching, create small groups of 2-4 individuals. They can function in several ways: One strategy to capitalize on ongoing Peer Coaching is to have these groups share their individual development plans with one another and get together to go over them at least quarterly. That way each member states the 2 to 4 areas in which they want to grow, they have shared their road map for growth with their team, and they keep them regularly apprised of their progress. Team members support their goal achievement and help keep them on track. If someone needs more help, then they have their team right there to jump in. Peer coaches can also be available to one another on an ad hoc basis. Peer coaches function well within an organization, but don?t limit yourself! Think creatively?you and a few colleagues from across the country can form a peer coaching circle?with internet and telephones, you can implement peer coaching just about anywhere. The key is that your peer coaches help you think through issues by asking the right questions. And remember, in this relationship too, you should keep confidences appropriately. To set up Peer Coaching, create small groups of 2-4 individuals. They can function in several ways: One strategy to capitalize on ongoing Peer Coaching is to have these groups share their individual development plans with one another and get together to go over them at least quarterly. That way each member states the 2 to 4 areas in which they want to grow, they have shared their road map for growth with their team, and they keep them regularly apprised of their progress. Team members support their goal achievement and help keep them on track. If someone needs more help, then they have their team right there to jump in. Peer coaches can also be available to one another on an ad hoc basis. Peer coaches function well within an organization, but don?t limit yourself! Think creatively?you and a few colleagues from across the country can form a peer coaching circle?with internet and telephones, you can implement peer coaching just about anywhere. The key is that your peer coaches help you think through issues by asking the right questions. And remember, in this relationship too, you should keep confidences appropriately.

8. Peer Coaching Skills Teach how to ask questions rather than give answers and solve others? problems It is important to learn the skills of peer coaching. These skills teach you how to ask questions rather than getting sucked into solving other people?s problems. Here?s one exercise that you will find helpful. This will take between 60 to 90 minutes to complete: Get together with 2 other colleagues. Each person takes a turn as the Coach, Coach-ee, and the recorder. In the first round, the coach-ee gets 5 minutes to describe a situation they are facing on which they would like to have greater insight. After their description, the Coach has 10 minutes to ask questions to gain clarity or to facilitate the coach-ee?s perspective, while the recorder keeps track of time, writes down major points made and serves as referee, reminding the coach to only ask questions if they stray into problem solving. As you will see, the person getting the most training here is the coach! At the end of the this 15 minute period, the group debriefs on the experience?what was it like to think through the problem? what was it like to ask questions? How hard was it to refrain from solving other people?s problems for them and telling them what they should do? Then switch roles start over until everyone has had a chance to serve in each role. It is important to learn the skills of peer coaching. These skills teach you how to ask questions rather than getting sucked into solving other people?s problems. Here?s one exercise that you will find helpful. This will take between 60 to 90 minutes to complete: Get together with 2 other colleagues. Each person takes a turn as the Coach, Coach-ee, and the recorder. In the first round, the coach-ee gets 5 minutes to describe a situation they are facing on which they would like to have greater insight. After their description, the Coach has 10 minutes to ask questions to gain clarity or to facilitate the coach-ee?s perspective, while the recorder keeps track of time, writes down major points made and serves as referee, reminding the coach to only ask questions if they stray into problem solving. As you will see, the person getting the most training here is the coach! At the end of the this 15 minute period, the group debriefs on the experience?what was it like to think through the problem? what was it like to ask questions? How hard was it to refrain from solving other people?s problems for them and telling them what they should do? Then switch roles start over until everyone has had a chance to serve in each role.

9. Questions to ask? Tell me more about that. Of course, if all this is new to you, it can be hard to think of the questions to ask when you can no longer just tell people what to do. Here are reflective questions from University of Hawaii law professor John Barkai that you might find helpful. Make statements like Tell me more about that? Or What do you mean by?. Or Can you put that into other words? Or any of those on the screen. Encourage them to keep going by verbal cues such as ?that?s helpful, keep going? and hmm, hmmmmm? The Barkai chorus consists of many questions rooted in thinking. You might also ask some feeling based questions, such as: ?how did that situation make you feel?? OR ?how do you think X felt in that situation?Of course, if all this is new to you, it can be hard to think of the questions to ask when you can no longer just tell people what to do. Here are reflective questions from University of Hawaii law professor John Barkai that you might find helpful. Make statements like Tell me more about that? Or What do you mean by?. Or Can you put that into other words? Or any of those on the screen. Encourage them to keep going by verbal cues such as ?that?s helpful, keep going? and hmm, hmmmmm? The Barkai chorus consists of many questions rooted in thinking. You might also ask some feeling based questions, such as: ?how did that situation make you feel?? OR ?how do you think X felt in that situation?

10. Foretelling the future?. After asking reflective questions on the past and present, it is helpful to steer the coach-ee toward the future. You can use questions to help them find their way down this path as well. After asking reflective questions on the past and present, it is helpful to steer the coach-ee toward the future. You can use questions to help them find their way down this path as well.

11. Future-oriented questions to ask? What could X do to help you solve this problem? It?s funny, that while it can feel very easy to solve other people?s problems?at times it can seem very nearly impossible to either get a handle on or solve your own problems. It?s largely a matter of perspective and of being so close to the issues that perspective is elusive. That is what this type of training is all about. As a Peer Coach, refrain from telling your coachee what to do, rather facilitate their perspective-gaining and problem solving ability. What you will very likely experience when you use this strategy is that you learn much more about the situation from the answers to these questions than you ever would have by just spouting off your uninformed solutions. By helping uncover all the relevant pieces of information and facilitating their thought process it is much more likely for a viable solution to present itself. And, when a person comes up with their own solution, they are more likely to feel empowered by it, learn from it, and believe in it than if they are only doing something they were told to do. It?s funny, that while it can feel very easy to solve other people?s problems?at times it can seem very nearly impossible to either get a handle on or solve your own problems. It?s largely a matter of perspective and of being so close to the issues that perspective is elusive. That is what this type of training is all about. As a Peer Coach, refrain from telling your coachee what to do, rather facilitate their perspective-gaining and problem solving ability. What you will very likely experience when you use this strategy is that you learn much more about the situation from the answers to these questions than you ever would have by just spouting off your uninformed solutions. By helping uncover all the relevant pieces of information and facilitating their thought process it is much more likely for a viable solution to present itself. And, when a person comes up with their own solution, they are more likely to feel empowered by it, learn from it, and believe in it than if they are only doing something they were told to do.


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