Workplace Skills: Coaching Your Peers

By Sharon Smith
Monday, 10 August, 2015

We have asked leadership and coaching consultant Stacey Ashley to provide some practical workplace skills in the area of people management. In this article Stacey takes us through the art of coaching our peers, whether in a formal or informal coaching or mentoring relationship.

Working in a healthcare environment can be challenging. When things are going well and patients are responding and thriving, it's a great job but other days, it can feel like a long hard struggle. However, in order to support your patients, their families, your peers and the team that you work with, you need to be at your best.

Imagine how great it would be to have someone to support you every day when things were not going to plan. Someone who would listen to what you’re feeling and experiencing without judging you, encouraging you to find a way forward. Someone who recognises your strengths and will help you discover how to maximise them to make your work easier and more enjoyable. That would be great wouldn't it?

If only we all had someone we could do that for us. Now imagine you could do that for your colleagues.

Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them” -John Whitmore.

Coaching is recognised as one of the most effective ways to bring out the best in people, to develop talents and strengths, to build skills and confidence and to nurture learning. It’s a powerful technique of listening and questioning that provides myriad benefits on many levels.

Coaching improves retention of learning, offering opportunities to talk about what has been learned and to apply learning in to action. For example, the questionWhat strategy have you learned recently that might help you with this task/problem? is a great technique to partner with your colleagues and help them bring out their best.

The next time one of your peers asks ‘have you got a minute?’ why not try using a simple coaching approach like the GROW model. This model will help the person find their own way forward with their problem, challenge or situation, rather than you trying to solve it for them.

The GROW model is as follows:

G is for Goal

R is for reality

O is for options

W is for Way Forward

Always remember that coaching is about a person finding their own answers. Your role in the process is to simply ask good questions and listen without judgement.

Using a coaching approach the questions you could ask for each of these steps are as follows:

G What would you like to achieve?

R What is happening now?

O What options do you have to move just one step forward?

W What will you actually do?

This open style questioning and listening allows your colleague to understand their situation and come up with a way forward that works for them. This method will create clarity, ownership of any actions to be taken and also a sense of feeling empowered.

One of the benefits of coaching is that it helps people to respond with a resourceful mindset, one where they can look for options, opportunities, see choices and make great decisions for themselves and the people around them, rather than being stuck on what’s too hard, impossible or just won’t happen.

So the next time someone talks to you about the problems or challenges they are having at work, try to support them become more resourceful in solving the problem themselves rather than joining them in their problem. You can also try the technique of ' reframing'

For example, if you hear an statement like ‘It’s all too hard’, respond with simple open question such as ‘how can you make it easier?’ The aim here is to have the person focus on what they can do rather than what they can’t do. The objective of a reframe is to have the other person shift their mindset into a more resourceful one. One that supports them to take ownership of the situation and to take some action. This allows people to be more empowered in situations where they may have felt a lack of control.

See below for some examples of good reframing statements:

What can you do right now?

How can you help/change the situation?

What one thing can you finish/change/start/fix today?

In conclusion, it is always easier to see someone more objectively than yourself so why not try Peer coaching as a powerful driver for professional transformation.

Stacey AshleyStacey Ashley is a coach and speaker who excel in the fields of coaching and leadership development. and to become true leaders. She is also a Professional mBIT and The Science of Happiness at Work Certified Coach and Coach Trainer.

To find out more about Stacey, please see

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