By now, you know that a peer-coaching group is as a small group of managers helping one another improve their practice of management through reflection and dialog. Simply put, they are small, highly productive, communities of practice. But did you know that peer-coaching groups enable leadership development or OD professionals to deliver high impact development and team building exercises during team offsites? Here’s how.
First, here are five benefits of using peer-coaching groups for a team offsite:
- Engagement and alignment around the goals of the offsite through open and honest discussion, critical reflection, and dialog within peer groups.
- Participants take responsibility for their own learning and the learning of their peers.
- Creates a culture of coaching, mentoring, and learning – building a strong sense of community.
- Establishes a space for networking, sharing, and relationship building across the organization, breaking down silos and creating organizational alignment.
- Provides a launch pad for a peer-coaching groups program and community of practice.
In our experience, the peer-coaching group approach generates the greatest impact when participants work together for approximately 90 minutes, in groups no larger than 6, supported by a facilitator, and guided by a well selected CoachingOurselves peer-coaching module that’s aligned with the goals of the offsite.
Now comes the design of the exercise. Designing a successful team offsite exercise through peer-coaching groups is pretty simple:
- First, simply select a peer-coaching theme that builds upon any speeches or presentations during the offsite. There are over 80 CoachingOurselves peer-coaching modules available covering a broad range of themes.
- Keep the peer-coaching groups small. Five is the ideal number for optimal reflection and dialog – any larger than six per group will result in little to no lasting impact.
- Keep it simple! Focus participant-facilitators on keeping time and ensuring everyone follows the instructions.
- Stand back. Resist the temptation to meddle in groups once they’ve started. Participants will achieve greater results by muddling through it themselves, rather than being guided every step of the way.
Keep in mind these seven steps to running a successful team offsite using peer-coaching groups:
- Prior to the offsite, select a CoachingOurselves module from our catalog of over 80 peer-coaching modules and make a copy for each participant.
- After introducing the concept of peer-coaching groups, ask participants to split into teams with no more than six participants per group.
- In a loud and commanding voice, ask each group to select one person to play the role of facilitator and have that person stand up.
- Deliver a one minute facilitator training program: “use your smartphone’s stopwatch feature to follow the indicated times and make sure people follow the instructions on each page – now GO!”.
- As needed, go from table to table to help facilitators follow the instructions without interfering.
- After approximately 90 minutes, have all groups stop and spend five minutes generating a list of outcomes or actions they’d like to share with other groups.
- Have one volunteer from each group come to the front and share.
Additionally, these offsite sessions can be an excellent launch pad for a peer-coaching groups pilot program back in the organization. In a classic peer-coaching program, a manager is trained as a facilitator and runs six or more sessions with their leadership team to complete a program. Teams select their own curriculum from our library of over 80 peer-coaching modules.
Everyone loved it? Let’s start a peer-coaching group from your offsite experience! It’s easy:
- Give everyone a menu of CoachingOurselves modules.
- Allow groups 5 minutes to decide on the titles that interest them.
- Participants use their smartphones to schedule 90 minute meetings or conference calls for each module selected.
- Before everyone leaves, collect email addresses and the lists of selected modules from the facilitators.
- Email everyone their selected modules and invite all facilitators to check-in via conference call.
The use of peer-coaching groups at a team offsite featuring a relevant CoachingOurselves module will engage and align participants with the off site’s goals and drive reflection and dialogue for immediate organizational impact. Contact us to learn more!