Many people believe that coaching is solely a management technique. While it is an effective means of achieving business results through others, peer coaching is often overlooked. Peer coaching requires many of the same coaching skills that managers utilize. However, coaching your peers requires a special sensitivity for each situation and a less direct approach. Unfortunately, when peers coach others, they tend to come across very in-direct and sometimes the other person misses the message entirely. In CMOE’s coaching Models, establishing impact is key to helping others see the full picture and gain new awareness or insight about the topic or situation. When a peer has effectively established impact with another, it is because they created what Dr. Steven J. Stowell calls “a felt need for action”.
I believe the best example of establishing impact with peers comes from the time-old nursery tale, The Little Red Hen. In this story, a hen discovers some grain of corn. She has a vision for turning this grain into loaf of bread, but recognizes all the work that must first take place. She asks her neighbors, the duck, the cat, and the pig for help all along the way. They declined helping her first with the planting of the corn, and then again when she cut the stalks, took the corn to the mill, and then finally when she baked the bread. When she asked, “who will help me eat this bread?” the duck, cat, and pig all jumped at the chance and said “I will.” Now the hen could have handled this situation in a variety of ways, but the power of her response is what has made this nursery tale so well-known for so long. The hen responded frankly: “Oh no, you won’t. I planted the seed, I cut the corn, I took it to the mill to be made into flour, and I made the bread, all by myself. I shall now eat the loaf all by myself.” This hen was effective at helping her lazy peers see the “big picture” by coaching them. She skillfully created an impact by sharing her perspective and observations with candor and honesty and making it easy for her peers to see the consequences of their behaviors.
Remember, the overarching goal of peer coaching involves identifying and communicating to others how the combined efforts of team members can provide the most beneficial results. Keep the example of The Little Red Hen in mind and help take your team to the next level of performance.