The advantages of peer coaching include helping people realize they can solve their own problems while helping others. It also broadens their awareness of how many people they can call on for assistance.
By Dr. Fred Mayo, CHE, CHT
Last month, we discussed helping students take charge of their lives by using a technique called the three-legged conference. This month’s column is about peer coaching, and the rest of the fall will focus on other strategies for helping students learn to take charge of their education and their lives.
Coaching is the process of one person helping another person to clarify the coachee’s goals, jointly determining strategies to attain those goals, and providing support for reaching the goals. It differs from consulting since consultants provide advice based on their background knowledge and experience; coaches commit to help their coachees do what is important to the coachees. Coaching differs from therapy since therapists are interested in why, and they focus on the present and the past; coaches are interested in what and how, and they focus on the present and the future.
The challenge in coaching is really listening to the other person and not providing advice or judging what the other person says or wants to do. It is a full commitment to helping the other person in the areas where the other person wants to focus. Many teachers find coaching hard to do since it differs so radically from their normal work as teachers, dispensers of knowledge and evaluators. It is even hard to shift from facilitating learning to coaching; these functions draw on different sets of skills.