Skip to content Skip to footer

19 Coach-Recommended Ways To Facilitate A Peer-To-Peer Group

When leading a peer-to-peer group, ensuring meaningful outcomes for each participant requires a careful balance of leadership, strategy and empathy. A professional coach can play an essential role in shaping an open and psychologically safe peer-to-peer environment where all members of the group feel valued, understood and motivated to contribute.

Below, 19 Forbes Coaches Council members share tried-and-true tactics to ensure a peer-to-peer group benefits everyone involved. Using these suggestions, leaders can promote enthusiastic participation and more productive discussions during peer-to-peer sessions.

1. Encourage The Use Of ‘I’ Statements

I always encourage members to use “I” statements rather than generalizations to express personal experiences, reducing the risk of inadvertently offending others. This careful structuring of interactions creates a secure atmosphere where participants feel valued and understood. Most of the time, it fosters meaningful exchanges and deeper connections. – Patricia BurlaudP. Burlaud Consulting, LLC.

2. Infuse An Element Of Dynamic Theater

Having run CEO peer groups for over 10 years, one of the biggest challenges is ensuring leaders prioritize peer group time in their busy agendas. To maximize commitment, ensure all peer group meetings have an element of dynamic theater about them. Peer group meetings must never be “business as usual.” They must sizzle in a way that makes them the first item in the CEO’s agenda, rather than the last. – Dr. John BlakeyThe Trusted Executive.

3. Guide The Group In Mutually Supporting Each Other

Beyond confidentiality and parity, the key tactic in facilitating peer-to-peer coaching groups is guiding members to support each other by asking thought-provoking questions, sharing relevant experiences, offering resources and mirroring observations. Equally important is discouraging the sharing of unsolicited advice and judgmental statements. – Svetlana Dimovski, PhD, ICF-PCC, NBC-HWCDharma Growth, LLC.

4. Make It Clear That All Perspectives Are Welcome

Create an environment that is open, honest, respectful and understanding. Peer-to-peer groups bring together professionals with commonalities but also contrasting differences. All participants must feel supported and safe expressing their opinions and perspectives for the group to succeed. From the outset, it must be understood and agreed upon that differences of opinion are expected and accepted by all. – Kathryn LancioniPresenting Perfection.

5. Leverage Group Agreements

Using group agreements is the most powerful strategy for creating a safe space for open exploration in peer-to-peer groups. Agreements with clear expectations outlining acceptable and unacceptable behavior let everyone know how to show up. Inviting group members to add agreements promotes inclusion and diverse perspectives and encourages allyship within the group. – Nathalie BlaisCanada Coach Academy.

6. Make Common Goals Explicit

What are we seeking to achieve here? Peers bring unique perspectives, experiences, challenges and objectives. The varying points of view can be useful for others to learn. However, if common goals are not made explicit, dialogue may overemphasize one person’s objectives while inadvertently overlooking others. – Matt PaeseDDI.

7. Encourage Active Listening And Constructive Feedback

The most important tactic for a coach leading peer groups is to encourage active listening, communication and constructive feedback among participants. This fosters increased engagement among group members, leading to higher productivity by enhancing camaraderie and levels of listening and feedback. – José Luís González RodriguezActionCOACH.

8. Establish The Purpose Of The Group

A key tactic to organize and run a peer-to-peer group is to first establish the purpose of the group, and then control who gets into the group. If you have peers with different needs and reasons for joining the group, then the discussions may be scattered and lead to frustration. Next, after determining the purpose, you can invite those individuals who need and want to discuss similar issues. – Andrea BullardAndrea Bullard & Company.

9. Set Ground Rules At The Start

An important way to start is to have ground rules to make it a safe space—for example: “Nobody gets to be wrong,” or, “We all can share our thoughts and opinions.” Try to use, “Yes, and” instead of, “Yes, but.” – Wendy HansonNew Level Work.

10. Build Trust With The Group

No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. The most important tactic for a coach leading peer-to-peer groups is fostering trust and open communication. Trust allows for honest discussions and support, while open communication promotes sharing and collaboration. These elements create a supportive environment for members to learn and progress. They must believe, like and trust you. – Jay GarciaJay Garcia Group.

11. Foster An Environment Of Authentic Vulnerability

Fostering an environment of authentic vulnerability encourages members to share openly and honestly, creating a foundation of trust and mutual support. It unlocks the collective wisdom of the group, enabling transformative growth and breakthrough insights. Remember, the magic of peer-to-peer learning lies in sharing not just knowledge but also journeys. – Alejandro Bravo, Revelatio360.

12. Employ The Technique Of Mirroring

In peer-to-peer groups, employing the technique of mirroring—subtly reflecting the body language or tone of the speaker—can greatly assist a coach. This uncommon yet crucial tactic cultivates deep empathy and understanding among members, nurturing a supportive and unified group dynamic. – Alla AdamAlla Adam Coaching.

13. Focus On Commonalities Up Front

In addition to co-creating ground rules that facilitate psychological safety, I start with exercises that focus specifically on how much we all have in common instead of how much we differ. This approach builds camaraderie, helps peer-to-peer groups form a basis for sustaining an environment of civility, and creates the space needed to develop collective visions, goals, objectives and outcomes. – Barbara Anne Gardenhire-MillsPurpose-Filled Solutions & Evolutions.

14. Be Actively Involved In The Group

A coach should also be actively involved in the group, serving as a guide and facilitator rather than an authority figure. This means creating opportunities for group members to take ownership of the group and its direction, encouraging collaboration and mutual support. Having the flexibility to allow the dialogue to unfold is also important if they are to own their ideas. – Shamila MhearbanThe Leadership Growth Hub.

15. Deliberately Ask The ‘Quiet Ones’ For Input

Realize that some peers will naturally love to speak up, while others may need extra encouragement to feel safe. Be deliberate about asking for input from the “quiet ones,” then lead everyone in acknowledging what they share. This can be accomplished by asking for support in the chat or with hand motions and emojis. The sooner they feel like they belong, the more they will relax and benefit. – Meridith AlexanderG.R.I.T. Mindset Academy.

16. Understand When To Step Back

Know when to intervene and when to let the conversation flow. There is no magic formula, but keeping an open mind and not being bound too strongly by the agenda helps. – Basav Ray ChaudhuriCoach with Basav.

17. Create An Environment Of Open, Respectful Dialogue

The most critical tactic in peer-to-peer group coaching is to create an environment of open, respectful dialogue. This approach fosters a safe space where members feel comfortable sharing insights and challenges, leading to deeper learning and connection. By embracing diverse perspectives and providing a platform for multiple identities, the group becomes more inclusive, enhancing the overall experience for everyone. – Martha JeifetzMJ – Executive Coaching & Advising.

18. Engage In Exercises That Develop Trust

Developing trust is not just a tactic; it’s a cornerstone of effective peer-to-peer coaching. It sets the stage for meaningful connections, transformative learning and sustained success. So, as coaches, let us tend to the garden of trust, nurturing it with care and intention, knowing that it is the soil from which greatness blooms. – Susan Jordan, MBA, MSODL, PCCSphereshift Coaching and Consulting.

19. Carefully Clarify Confidentiality

Set the expectation that whatever is discussed will stay in the room (whether physical or virtual). Have each member individually commit to that, including why it matters to them, to help secure buy-in. – Dr. Joel M. Rothaizer, MCC, ABPPClear Impact Consulting Group.

Si quieres ver esta publicación en la web original de Forbes, accede aquí:

José Luis González, Forbes Coaches Council Member