Over the past few years, we have designed and implemented CoachingOurselves programs around the world. Many followed a similar pattern: participants complete 6 CoachingOurselves sessions over 6 months, with a kick-off event to get started and evaluation at the end. The success and impact relies on the important questions: why, who, and what?
What do we mean? To design a successful program, the following must be defined:
- Why are we asking people to participate and what are our goals and the expected outcomes?
- Who will be part of the program, how will the groups be divided, who will be facilitating and coordinating, and who will be managing the program?
- What topics are they going to use and in what sequence?
Let’s unpack the “why”. To get the most from peer learning, organizations must delve into the root of their objectives. For example, in creating high performing teams, think through why and what might be truly undermining team performance. Managers might be too busy and aren’t prioritizing effective communication and so would benefit from a discussion on Dealing with the Pressures of Managing or Managing on Tightropes: The Inescapable Conundrums of Managing for example.
Answering the “why” provides the basis for evaluation. There are three methods to evaluate a program:
- After each session, participants discuss whether they felt it was a useful way to spend their time.
- Participants commit to actions and the quality and quantity of these actions can be captured and evaluated.
- Organizations can judge the impact of CoachingOurselves through A/B testing over many participant groups.
Almost as important as the “why”, is the “who”, or rather, how the organization will divide participants into groups. Each CoachingOurselves session should include 4-6 participants typically comprised of intact teams or cross functional/departmental groups. Organizers need to group participants based on what will help them achieve their goals. There is no right or wrong way and the process relies heavily on good judgement and common sense. We recommend not to have more than one level of difference in hierarchy in each group.
Finally, organizations have to choose topics. A strong first topic and closing topic is imperative. The topics in the middle need to align with the goals and be of general interest and importance to the peer learning groups.
We have over 80 topics – how do you start choosing which ones will work for your organization? Our topics are grouped by themes and appropriateness for different management levels. We recommend designers start by scanning through the titles of our topics with this in mind, and we can help narrow down your choice.
We recommend the following as good first topics:
- Accountability: It’s a Tricky World
- Strategic Blindspots
- Silos and Slabs in Organizations
- Decision Making: It’s Not What You Think
- Five Ideas about Teamwork
- Managing Time and Energy
The process of answering the who, what and why is fundamental to our program’s success. Most importantly, the CoachingOurselves team is here to help and guide you through the process of answering these questions and choosing the best topics. For more information on CoachingOurselves and how we can help, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.