#CIPDCoach14 – A Peer Coaching Network

Final session for the day! Biba Binotti (Red Hat People) and Gillian Dore (Cisco)…..

Cisco have a PEER COACHING CULTURE – who, what and why?

Their definition (Robbins ’99) is what I know as ‘buddy coaching’ but with some added bits around solving workplace challenges together which almost makes it feel like it borders onto mentoring.

In Cisco VUCCA is making work so fast & unpredictable and they’re losing time as peer coaches to take that time to reflect….this sounds interesting…how they make this peer coaching stuff work in an agile space…..

It’s about relationship with process and ourselves – do you start your day driven by your emails? Do you even stop to check in with yourself, let alone check in with those around you? How do you make relationships work in these organisations.

Cisco’s 30 years old but was only 7 when Robbins wrote his Peer Coaching definition – things have changed! Cisco’s now one of the key players in tech – aspirational. When you look inside, it’s a matrix org with low hierarchy and high span of control with an informal culture but formal processes – incredible paradoxical space!

They develop managers to be able to coach in a moment when the need demands it. It’s a fluid approach but with development sessions to start them off with the skills they need. But now, how can peer to peer coaching support this fast business?

3 ingredients for them to create the culture and mindset they want in the business….their SECRET SAUCE!…..
1. Co-creative relationships – the whole is greater than the sum of the parts
2. Go-Giving – not like the Go-Getting of the 80’s. People want to leave a legacy of something they’ve done or given instead of wealth – attitude of more generosity. Having an ‘in service of’ mindset – working with others with a positive intent.
3. All Potential – what if you don’t have the best ideas, what if you stop your ego and be open to anything & believe that anyone can contribute.

This stuff applies to anything – skills don’t.

To build on 1:1 peer to peer they’re developing people to take a ‘1 to many’ coaching approach.

Real life examples from managers in Cisco…..

– A group of managers together on a ‘conscious leader’ development programme now continue to work together to support each other – even to the extent of working together with ideas about going for a promotion – each of them wanting the same job. Egos stripped away. The stuff they shared in the group grew relationships beyond what’s normally seen in business – stuff they might not have even told their husbands and wives.

– Creation of new content by working with others around you – develops bravery by working together.

– The attitude is spreading beyond boundaries and gaining momentum.

– Working with other teams who might have challenges to see how things can be moved on, or where you might have had similar examples you can share with your peer to support them.

– ‘Conscious leaders’ are being invited into other countries and teams to bring new thinking and generate innovation.

Taking us to an example of how this can work….a bit of NLP here for the room to try…..
Close your eyes
Think of a colleague you’d like to give some feedback to
Now feel yourself giving that feedback to them
Notice how you’re feeling
Have you avoided giving that feedback and started to think about something else

Now open your eyes and look again at the 3 secret sauce ingredients
Imagine you’re co-creating – neither of you has the answer but by starting the conversation you believe that something greater will come of it.
Imagine you’re go-giving – what’s going on for them, what do they really need, what would you really want for them
Now imagine anything’s possible

Close your eyes again
Recall those 3 channels
Say the feedback, out loud if you want, in answer to these questions…
– where do they succeed?
– where do they fail?
– what is their unintended impact?

Did you notice a difference between those two?
Give yourself a couple of words for what that difference was – ‘collaborative’ ‘structured’ ‘supportive’.

A simple mindset shift to change your attitude to others and the impact you can have on them.

Saying that the ‘conscious leader’ development process starts with ‘I’ where you get clear on what’s important to you. Then layer on with those around you. Up to the point where they have a symbolic session of stepping across a line in response to challenging questions to test their commitment to the change.  Going deep with this stuff through searching questions.  And demanding significant commitment from the leaders on the programme – no sessions can be missed. There’s no option on that.

“Peer coaching is a powerful co-creative relationship that enables an expansive environment for reflection, refinement, building, sharing, development, experimentation and innovation  in service of the whole” (Red Hat People & Cisco)

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