What’s peer coaching all about?
Let’s start with a few answers to questions you may have.
Common areas people request coaching
Coming out to friends and family at any age
Relationship issues with a partner, friend or family member
Being social and making new friends
Substance dependence (we may refer you to professionals we trust too)
Depression and isolation
Here are some of the perks you'll like:
Having someone give you their undistracted presence
Hearing yourself better and clarifying your own desires and goals
Allowing yourself to work on goal setting as part of a trusted peer coaching relationship
Here's what happens after you submit your request:
You’ll get an email from us to connect you with someone on our team who will schedule a call.
The person you meet on the first call isn’t your coach. They’re a leader on our team who will better understand your needs and match you with the best coach.
You can ask any questions and hear more about how everything works.
Once you decide you’re ready, you’ll be introduced to your coach via email and you two can coordinate your first meeting from there.
Can you pick your coach? We pair you with the best person based on their background and experience. We want to protect the coaches as well and part of the way we do this is not allowing you to select them directly.
Where do you meet your coach? After connecting, you two will confirm somewhere that is convenient and always a public location. Coffee houses, restaurants or a walk in the park are usually the best places for a first meeting.
Who pays? Each party agrees to pay all of their own expenses related to meeting up. Coaches cannot pay for food, drinks or parking. The value you each give each other is time and listening.
How long and often do you meet? You’ll determine this with your coach based on each others preferences and availability. It’s common to meet every other week in the beginning and then once a month. All coaching sessions should be focused and kept to one hour generally to respect each other’s time. Most coaching relationships reach an outcome within 3-4 months but some are agreeably ongoing and can last years. It’s up to the two of you.
What if it’s just not a good match? People are different and coaching relationships aren’t always the best match despite our good intentions and effort. Within approximately 60 days after starting a coaching relationship someone on our team will reach out to you for feedback unless we hear from you proactively sooner. If you feel it’s not working then we’ll gladly pair you with another coach. We want you to get the most out of the experience.
How / when does it end? The coach will always be guiding you toward an outcome and conclusion. You should both know where you want to go and where you are in getting there. At junctures the coach will ask if you two are on the same page and actively engaging. If not, they’ll help you to redefine the goals and plan. And if you both decide that the goal won’t be reached and you want to stop the process then that’s fine as well. Clarity, trust and respect in a peer coaching relationship is always something to celebrate regardless of whether you reached the outcome you had in mind when you started. Don’t be afraid to end the relationship if you aren’t growing.
Final thoughts to get the most out of this experience
Knowing that you have an interest to open yourself to the peer coaching relationship is the first step. You’re already doing it!
All of our coaches are human beings just like you. They are volunteers who have lived their lives and feel that they have something to offer others. Once they apply, we interview them, have them go through a background check and offer training. The training is generally provided quarterly with role play around active listening techniques.
Peer coaching isn’t therapy. Although they share aspects - they’re very different. When people refer to therapy, they generally mean someone who has gone to an accredited university or school such as a psychiatrist, psychologist or psychotherapist. The expectation is that they will listen, then tell you what’s wrong and in some cases prescribe medications. They also expect you to pay them.
Peer coaching is active listening, feedback and goal setting in a trusted relationship. Although our coaches may choose to share their own life experiences and stories when relevant, their job is to listen. Active listening is being completely in tune and clear on what they hear you saying and repeating it back so you can try to hear and observe yourself. In the process of “listening to yourself” through the eyes and ears of another you gain more clarity in the process. You are actually your own therapist in a way. It is a collaboration between you and the coach. They will ask you helpful probing questions about what you think in your mind, what you feel in your heart and most importantly - why? It is an art.
When you synchronize what’s in your head and in your heart, the next thing is to consider actions. Coaching is not just about having someone listen (although that alone is very important). It’s imperative to the process that you can commit to action. Actions can lead to growth and growth is the primary purpose of coaching. Establishing goals is the desired outcome of listening and understanding each other. Following up on those goals, checking back to see if they are still in line with the areas of desired grow and actually growing is what success looks like.
It is a journey together in which you must do the work you tell yourself to do and the coach will help it to unfold beautifully.