Peer coaching formats are the hottest form of collegial exchange right now. You form a professional learning community with likeminded people, meet regularly in informal sessions, and ready is the development opportunity. However, we found that people in self-organized learning groups often tend to fall back into familiar patterns. Learners have to be constantly reminded to adopt a new attitude. Otherwise, people drop out sooner or later.
Learning and personal growth is an iterative process. It can only be further developed through open feedback. This is more complex and takes a lot of time. Much more than many leaders want to grant this task. Therefore, many organizations try to shortcut this process by establishing self-organized learning groups. “Working out Loud” by John Stepper is probably the most popular method right now. However, we have come to learn that many of these self-organized initiatives fall short in everyday life. That is why we believe it needs more than a guideline. Throwing people in randomly assigned groups is easy but not very effective. Instead we have come to learn that there is an absolute need for moderated elements in self-organized learning environments.
Of course, this takes more effort. But facilitated peer coaching formats solve all three major show-stoppers of conventional peer coaching formats:
1) They provide commitment and accountability.
2) They ensure that also the uncomfortable things are addressed,
and 3) They ensure that things are not just announced, but actually put into action.
This way we want to ensure that the group gets constructive impulses from the outside. It is crucial that the group is made aware of problems that the group itself is not seeing (anymore).