The power of peer coaching: 5 tips to improve your team's performance

Peer coaching can help you drive performance, boost employee engagement and develop future leaders. Check out the 5 benefits of peer coaching:


With the current skills gap making talent recruitment extremely difficult, many companies are now looking to HR to create effective learning programs to continuously upskill and develop their existing talent.


In 2017 training expenditures by US based corporations spiked at a 32.5% increase from the previous year, reaching a total of $90.6 billion.


Pressure isn’t just coming from the top level. A 2018 UK based study by Totaljobs found that 2 in 3 people had changed jobs due to a lack of development opportunities. 9 in 10 respondents agreed they wanted their employer to offer more training courses to develop new skills. The challenge many companies now face is: how do we create a continuous learning culture while staying lean?


If your company is grappling with this problem you just may be missing out on one of the most effective and free resources you have to drive team performance: peer coaching.


How peer coaching drives continuous learning


Knowledge sharing is one of the most commonly untapped resources. With today’s business environment being far more fluid and fast paced, smart leaders realize that standard performance appraisals aren’t the only way to facilitate the process of learning and development.


Generation Y stands beyond those practices. Today’s workforce is much more focused on interactive communication, ongoing feedback, network building and constructive dialogue. Peer coaching has proven to be a powerful way to drive professional growth.


Here are the 5 major benefits of introducing peer coaching within your team:


1. Provides deeper insights into strengths and areas for development

Getting feedback and coaching only from managers gives people one perspective of their performance. Teams are made up of different roles and personalities. In fact, people may work more often with team members on a project than directly with their manager. Opening up coaching to peers gives people a full picture of their performance from all sides, providing deeper insights into workplace strengths and ways to improve.


2. Empowers people to learn new skills

Your people are not one dimensional and neither are their workplace skills. Companies and teams lose out by limiting their people to fixed job descriptions. Instead, we’re now moving towards more flexible and fluid role based positions. Peer mentoring can open up new skills for your people by exposing them to internal teachers who can share their knowledge in their area of expertise and grow a larger knowledge base in that skill.

For example, teaming up iOS and Android developers or designers and content writers can create great opportunities to broaden each individual’s skill set or basic knowledge of a related field.


3. Increases engagement and improves team dynamics

Great coaches don’t just point out areas for improvement. Encouraging a culture of peer to peer learning also means you’re increasing the amount of recognition being shared amongst team members. Having a team which cheers each other on creates a highly motivating work environment leading to greater engagement and productivity. A study by Globoforce found that peer to peer recognition is 35.7% more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager only recognition.  


4. Enables peer mentors to develop leadership skills

A Workplace Trends study found that 91% of millennials aspire to become leaders, yet 55% weren’t satisfied with the leadership development opportunities offered by their company. When asked what opportunities would be most helpful for developing their leadership skills the top two responses were online classes and mentoring.

Giving millennials both the opportunity to be mentored and to mentor others is a great way to start developing their leadership skills.


5. Improves team performance

Overall, peer coaching can have a major impact on your team’s performance. For example, a number of academic studies have proven that 360 degree feedback leads to: more frequent and transparent communication, greater self-awareness and clearer understanding of goals and expectations. All of this in turn leads to an increase in trust and the ability to reach performance goals.


Check out how Bugaboo has created a continuous learning culture with peer feedback: