We live in an age of virtual conferencing, virtual work spaces, virtual everything. Digital technology has brought many wonderful changes to our professional and personal lives, and it has allowed us to work remotely and collaborate with our colleagues with ease. Even without such a global pandemic that brought some of the most stressful times for business leaders around the world, there is no denying that digital tech has paved the road to global connectivity, remote work, and seamless collaboration.
There are also many ways you can leverage virtual meetings in your company, from one-on-one meetings to audio and visual conferences and presentations, stakeholder meetings, all the way to individual and group peer coaching. Peer coaching in particular is a powerful way to take your company forward on multiple fronts, as it allows your team members to exchange knowledge and skills, brainstorm new ideas, and keep the innovation process moving forward.
Today, we’re putting all of this into perspective and taking a look at some of the best ways you can leverage peer coaching in a virtual setting.
Have a specific goal and topic in mind
First and foremost, every successful virtual meeting should start with specific goals and topics in mind that you’re going to strive to achieve and elaborate on. If only every business leader called a meeting having specific goals and talking points in mind, there would be far fewer meetings, productivity would go up, and the meetings would actually deliver the desired results. When it comes to virtual meetings and specifically peer coaching, goals and talking points can make or break the session.
You have an amazing opportunity here to create better employees and take your business forward, but it needs a clear structure. For example, if you’re organizing a sales coaching session for your teams in the hopes of improving your sales processes, you still need to tackle specific problems, address concrete pain points, and have very specific goals. Improving sales is not a specific goal, but teaching your employees how to master specific sales techniques, for example, is a concrete goal.
You need to apply this approach to every peer coaching session, and focus on delivering a lot of value to your team members. This will also help improve engagement and will allow the participants to internalize the information far more quickly than they would if the meeting didn’t address specific topics and challenges.
Set a clear structure and timetable
It’s not easy conducting a virtual meeting, and speaking at a virtual conference can be one of the most difficult tasks for any leader or employee. Why? It’s not so much because you don’t have the speaking skills to engage your audience, it’s because the meeting itself is lacking a clear structure and an optimized timetable. Keep in mind that every peer coaching session has the potential to achieve amazing results, but only if everyone knows exactly what’s happening at all times and if they have enough time to go over all the important steps.
For example, if you allow too much time for someone to speak into the camera, attention and zeal is going to drop. If you break up into focus groups too early, though, people won’t know what they’re supposed to do. In this age of virtual connections and remote work, it’s important for you as the leader to set a structure for the session and specify a concrete timetable.
So, spend some time devising a plan of action, ensuring that you give enough time for:
- The introduction
- Goal-setting and elaborating on goals
- The topics you’ll cover
- Questions and answers from participants
- The lecture itself
- Focus groups
- Brainstorming and innovation
- Practical examples and problem-solving
- Conclusions and feedback from participants
Use peer coaching to thwart the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic was, and still is, a very disruptive force in the business world, and its effects are going to ripple throughout the global business sector for years to come. While it is true that the crisis is slowly subsiding, many companies are still operating on a remote work model. Whether you’re working remotely or in-house, you need to find ways to be more resilient in the era of COVID-19, meaning that you need to leverage virtual meetings and peer coaching to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.
Peer coaching is a great opportunity to raise awareness about the pandemic in your organization and the risks it poses to the well-being of your employee collective. But aside from stressing the importance of staying safe, you can use your peer coaching groups to tackle the practical problems of health and safety in the workplace and beyond. You can use these virtual meetings to help your team members take practical steps to keep themselves and others safe, which is the best way to create a safe working environment for when the time comes to come back to the office.
Use engaging and informative visuals to your advantage
One of the biggest problems with virtual peer coaching is that the virtual space is often not engaging or stimulating enough to ensure productivity and zeal in the group. If you want to make your virtual meetings and peer coaching sessions less stressful and more effective, then you need to include visual aids and engaging visual tools and accents that you can share with the group. This will not only keep people interested, but it will also help you get your point across and visualize important data for easy retention.
To do this, you can use some creative infographics with captivating, branded visuals and a clear structure that gives priority to some key points, data, and content. The great thing about infographics is you can use them in your virtual presentation when you share your screen, but you can also send them to all participants as a take-home summary of the session with key points and takeaways.
Break off into groups to solve specific problems
On a final note, remember that peer coaching only works if people work together on resolving specific issues. However, they can’t do this effectively if there are too many participants, and especially if there are participants from other departments. Once you have laid out the topics and the goals for the session, it’s important to assign each participant into a specific group of no more than five people, so that they can huddle together and work on overcoming specific challenges in a concrete time frame.
Each group should have its own private space on Zoom where they can work together and brainstorm solutions, and then they can come back into the main meeting space with everyone else to talk about their ideas. As a moderator and a leader, you can hop from one chat room to the next to see how things are going and to provide some much-needed guidance to your team members.
Do this, and your peer coaching sessions will deliver amazing results every time and you will be able to dominate every virtual meeting
Over to you
Virtual peer coaching is a great way to invest in your employees’ growth and success, and it’s one of the best ways to keep pushing your company forward during a crisis. Let these tips help you conduct productive, goal-driven coaching sessions that will take your business to new heights of success in 2021 and in the years to come.