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Scalable and Inclusive Peer Coaching for the Next-Gen Workforce

By Numly - Leadership Coaching Group
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Harvard Business Review revealed in a global survey that almost 1,400 millennials looked forward to receiving constant feedback from their managers. In the next few years, with millennials comprising more than half of the workforce, they will be seen as the next-gen purpose-driven leaders at the helm of operations of major corporations which punctuates the urgent need for evolution in how organizations develop this budding workforce of the future.

When it comes to driving growth for businesses, millennials are largely envisioned as ‘influencers’ – extending their influence to innovate, market, and engage. In an increasingly evolving marketplace, they have also been tagged as an impatient generation with over 90% looking at rapid career progression. The survey from Harvard Business Review also indicated that devising ways for members of different generations to collaborate effectively is paramount for boosting business outcomes. 

Essentially, achieving productivity and innovation in this new normalization of work requires an evolution in the leadership mindset – one that the next-gen managers will eventually need to scale up to. And a great number of corporate leadership development programs have not delivered this desired transformation. Research by the Brandon Hall Group states that only a mere 8% of organizations have aligned their unique leadership development requirements with forthcoming business needs. 

Coaching, a developmental method used in the past, was only a prerogative for leaders without any end result in mind. Often viewed from a conventional lens, coaching is seen as hard to scale, an exclusive privilege used for high-potential employees, and an expensive alternative to employee development. However, it has now become mainstream with organizations transitioning into synergized coaching models that facilitate problem-solving and employees’ advancement to secure their future leaders.

The ICF’s Global Coaching Study reported a 33% increase of coaches from the year 2015, with a whopping supply of 71,000 professional coaches in four years. The current market dynamic has just simplified the access to this supply to make it more scalable and affordable. With multiple flavors and configurations surfacing and the boundaries of coaching being pushed, industry leaders are articulating the need for abundant and inclusive coaching. 

The overall scope of coaching has broadened in the following key areas:

  • Engagement and humanized connections

The need for human connection in coaching has gained significant traction and the profound impact that it can have on engagement within the organization thereof. With the workforce transitioning to the hybrid and remote models, the long-term gains from increasing engagement through collaboration and human connections are enormous.  

  • Personalized employee development

The need for personalized development has increased in the Learning and Development strategy of various organizations. The very culture of coaching stems from a growth mindset and taps into the potential of every employee through a process of continuous learning that aligns with their mission of connection and belonging.

  • Change management

The unprecedented rate of change has employees grappling with issues related to hybrid work, mental well-being, stress and burnout, and a sense of belonging. The ability to reach out to every employee and enable individual behavioral changes, is, therefore, an imperative. In this rapidly accelerating work dynamic, management of change is effectively addressed by coaches who help identify the type of leader their coachees want to be and develop essential leadership skills such as prioritizing, delegating, and navigating critical conversations with direct reports. 

The traditional methods of coaching, at this point, do not fit into the mold where organizations once operated under the presumption that coaching is for the individual only. With coaching being seamlessly integrated into career development strategy, leadership development initiatives, and skills development, the overall scalability and impact on individual, group, and organizational effectiveness are indisputable. 

When an interview-based study asked leaders to identify the challenges they faced with coaching, three key factors – scalability, inclusivity, and budgetary constraints were reported as the top concerns that prevented them from using coaching as a business imperative. These concerns can be addressed and not hard to mitigate. 

  • Scalability

Introducing coaching in contemporary formats through innovative methodologies for individual, group, and organizational effectiveness leverages the coach-coachees relationship and generally helps resolve scalability whilst maintaining quality in coaching.

  • Inclusivity

Coaching that was once seen as a reserved privilege only for a specific section of the management has now expanded into inclusive solutions. Deep-dive studies into inclusion strategies indicate that organizations adopting inclusive cultures are more equipped to stimulate larger networks and reduce attrition rates with an immense impact on the strong sense of connection and belonging in the workplace.

  • Affordability

With sound investment in employee development budgets continuing to be a challenge, peer coaching optimizes internal resources for employee development that is not as capital-intensive as the erstwhile coaching methodologies.

Peer Coaching  is a new coaching flavor for the next-gen workforce

The blurred lines between mentoring, learning, and educating have now unified to create a more modern flavor or theme of coaching that resonates with the vision of the next-gen workforce. Organizations recognize the ‘human-centric’ element in peer coaching and the progressively profound impact that it can have on the overall development of their employees. 

Peer coaching is the most critical and reflective of all contemporary learning practices – and can be a powerful development tool that leverages the engagement between peers and penetrates the existing competencies in your organization. The advantages of peer coaching methodologies lie in designing a trusted support system among members of a learning and development program, therefore bolstering cross-functional networks. 

The opportunity to extract the social, experiential, and psychological nature of peer coaching is here and now. When used to augment leadership development, peer coaching can be a powerful tool that is uniquely positioned to address the most pressing demands of the next-gen workforce. 

Numly advocates that peer coaching can only be supplemented by an organizational culture that interweaves the learnings into behavioral change. With transparency in both goals and direction, the pipeline of next-gen leaders will be engaged in an ongoing educational journey that elevates their employee experience and helps them grow with the organization. At Numly, we offer prepackaged coaching and mentoring models that enable businesses to attract, retain, and engage talent. We empower your organization with the right methods that go beyond stagnant, one-dimensional coaching for a positive bottom-line impact.

Leaders are now cognizant of the unprecedented value that coaching can bring to their organizational culture and are pushing the envelope to make it accessible to every last employee. In his book, ‘The Inner Game’, renowned author, Tim Gallwey, reiterates that “coaching is about unlocking individual potential to help maximize their performance. It helps them to learn, rather than teaching them.” The bottom line is to discern the difference as we are all finding ways to connect with a sense of direction. Peer coaching helps achieve both. And is increasingly becoming central to the fabric of a learning culture – a culture that organizations need to develop and deploy for the next-gen workforce.

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