Uncovering the Power of Peer Group Coaching
Everyone boldly starts in their careers as if on a path of individual achievement.
We try; we fail; we overcome. We work hard and receive accolades.
And yet as we grow, somehow achieving great results doesn’t fan our flames the way it once did.
It is in this crucial pivot point where the focus must shift from seeking individual achievements to searching for ways to contribute to others.
It’s the difference between one match burning alone in the darkness and many flames burning together to light the world.
I created my very first peer group in 2007 while I was working as head of HR. It wasn’t anything I did for work; it was something I felt like I needed personally, so I got together a cohort of working mothers just like me.
We had mothers across the generations, with children in kindergarten (like mine), middle school, high school, and even college. We had married moms and single moms, new moms and seasoned ones. We got together on a monthly basis and followed a simple peer-learning, Mastermind format.
What was unique about the initial working mother’s group was that we had mothers from all across the spectrum. As a result of the rich diversity of experiences, we all benefited from both vertical and horizontal knowledge transfer taking place at exactly the same time.
The success of that first group spawned a high-potential women’s group in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania region. Young women across companies and industries gathered in my kitchen on a monthly basis to share best practices.
Because we were truly a peer group based on career-experience level (all in our late 20s to mid-30s), we quickly found out that peer learning has an inherent limitation. We don’t know what we don’t know! We had to give ourselves permission to become vulnerable and ask for help outside the cohort.
Leveraging the power of our collective networks
Through this setup, the participants themselves amplified our ranks with executives from across the region who came to share their best practices with us. We chose topics we were stuck on, and these Guest Mentors, as I came to call them, met our vulnerability with vulnerability by engaging in an authentic dialogue with us.
So, with two cohorts under my belt, I built my first “official” group coaching experience in Pittsburgh, layering in peer learning, Guest Mentors, and coaching. This journey ultimately led me to create an innovative approach to group coaching called PEER Technology®. It stands for Partnership, Experience, Exposure, and Reflection.
Partnership: We show up together, as partners, contributing to and holding one other accountable.
Experience: It unfolds based on an individual’s personal and professional Outcomes, as well as the Outcomes of the peer group as a whole.
Exposure: This is about practicing vulnerability and embracing new ideas through mentoring and coaching. It’s exposure to innovation, contributing to and receiving an infinite flow of knowledge.
Reflection: It is vital for people to look at how we are currently showing up, how we are getting in our own way, and what we are going to choose to do differently. It’s a space of learning and growth.
The Power of Peer Group Coaching
Through launching EDGE Leadership in 2013, I learned that the PEER Framework was successful for groups of women, but I needed to know how it would bring value to other demographics of people.
That’s when I met Michelle Buczkowski. The energy company she was working for at the time as head of talent management was in a growth mode, but they had a very traditional mentality.
Advancements in technology led the company to hire very few people for nearly twenty years, then everyone started retiring all at the same time.
We co-created what a PEER Group Coaching experience would look like for them, and launched it with a cohort made up of twenty- to thirty-year-old Millennial men.
What was the result of the experience? When Michelle surveyed them after the full experience ended, the data showed exactly how much the men in the cohort had changed as a result of the experience.
Expanding Human Potential
There are only so many coaching time slots on your calendar. And you can only share what is in your knowledge bank.
I invite you to ask yourself: are a lot of your coaching clients in similar developmental spaces but within a diverse peer group?
Could you use an effective way to leverage a wide range of skill sets to achieve a common goal in an organization or industry?
How can you integrate experience and create intentional space for vertical knowledge transfer without trying to turn seasoned executives and internal subject matter experts into “trainers”?
If any of these scenarios interest you, you may wish to pick up a copy of my book, The Peer Revolution: Group Coaching that Ignites the Power of People.
This PEER Framework is perfectly suited for both in-person and virtual environments to bring people together in a dynamic group coaching experience across diverse life experiences, viewpoints, and geography.
You can add to your coaching services the ability to coach many people by empowering them to coach one another and themselves.
I invite you to explore the PEER Framework to elevate and expand human potential!