If you’ve ever left a conversation with a close friend or acquaintance feeling some relief or clarity over a problem that previously had you feeling stuck, you already know the power of peer coaching. Presenting your problems to someone else and listening to their perspective can open up possibilities that were previously hidden to you, and conversely, listening to someone else talk about their challenges can give you similar perspectives about your own.

What is it?

Peer coaching is a one-on-one professional relationship with the goal of solving problems and achieving results through open conversation and questioning. Each person acts as coach and coachee. It is confidential and supportive, based on commitment and trust. Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering starting a peer coaching relationship.

Who is the right partner?

When considering the right person to be your peer coach you have a few different things to think about. You need someone you trust absolutely but they don’t have to be one of your closest friends or partners. Think about someone who has a comparable set of circumstances in terms of family, work life, and extracurricular passions. You don’t necessarily have to be in the same location, either. A weekly phone or video call is just as useful for a peer coaching relationship as face-to-face, as long as there is a consistent commitment to your meeting.


Trust is the absolute foundation of any coaching relationship. Whoever you choose, you need to be sure they have the same understanding of the trust factor as you do. There is no room for judgment. Thoughts and observations need to be constructive in nature. If there is any single topic you do not feel comfortable addressing in this situation, you can be confident you haven’t found the right peer coach yet.

Actionable advice and accountability

Focus on getting and giving actionable advice. We’re looking to do a lot more than confirm each other’s feelings as valid. We’re looking to change our thoughts and behaviors in order to help us reach our goals and become the person we want to be. Offer advice that is clear and time-specific. The flip side of that coin is accountability. The two of you need to agree upon a way to guarantee accountability for the things you say you will do as a result of these peer coaching sessions.

If you’re in a situation where you feel like coaching could be beneficial for your life, but aren’t sure if you can afford to hire an executive coach, peer coaching is a fantastic option. Perhaps you have someone in mind right now as your ideal coach. Approach them with the idea and see what they think!

If you’re interested in exploring the peer coaching process more in depth, download this pdf from Marshall Goldsmith or get in touch with me on LinkedIn or Twitter @DoubledareCoach.

photo credit: Bergnäsbron via photopin (license)