Remote peer coaching with PXT Select: a case study
Topics covered in this article
Numerous articles have been written about the benefits of peer coaching. How it builds leadership skills, increases productivity, holds team members accountable to each other, and improves employee engagement. But if your organization doesn’t have a formal peer coaching program, the PXT Select Coaching Report is a great place to start.
Having used PXT Select™ during the hiring of a new employee, a Talent Gear customer decided to try one of the other reports available - the Coaching Report - to help facilitate some peer coaching. They work in a fairly flat organization that values teamwork and collaboration even though a lot of their employees are remote. The idea of strcutrued peer coaching fit right in for them, and the remote team members got a lot out of it.
"As a mostly remote worker, I found the experience to be a great way to strengthen a relationship with my on-site peer." — Amy, remote teammember
A stimulus for discussion
Since the PXT Select™ Coaching Report is created from the same data used for the Comprehensive Selection Report they ran before hiring Amy, she didn’t have to take a new assessment. And the company didn’t have to pay for a new report.
The report covered Amy’s behavioral traits and interests. Her team used it to start a discussion about their differences and similarities, not to focus on problems as some peer programs recommend. It was a fun and fascinating learning exercise for the entire team.
How will people behave?
Amy and her team had already worked together long enough for everyone to have formed expectations for how she might behave in different situations. They also know her Everything DiSC style, so they didn’t expect to see anything to surprise me in the multi-page behavioral traits section of the report.
But there was. And some things they disagreed with. This was where their curiosity really came through and they were able to share evidence for their own views. If they had worked more closely together or for a longer time, their misperceptions most likely would’ve been already corrected. But it was great for everyone to have insights into Amy’s behavior without getting into conflict with her first.
What are they really interested in?
Since several team members not often in the office regularly, Amy and her team haven’t talked much about things other than work. They used the interests section of the report as a way to learn more about her.
They didn’t expect to see Mechanical as one of her top three interests. But after discussing how she expresses that interest, everyone's view of her broadened. It’s such a simple thing, but they were able to see a side of her that they hadn’t noticed before. It allowed her manager a chance to consider what “other duties as assigned” they might want to ask her to take on.
How can managers improve their effectiveness?
The report’s “management tips” were also great for generating insights and discussion. They’re written with positive language, so it’s easy to talk about the recommendations without feeling defensive or criticized. For example, Amy's manager asked, “If I’m taking the lead on a project, is it true that I should check in with you often?” Since both she and her manager prefer to work independently, they were able discuss how well that works with their team’s culture and when it could cause problems. They were also able to discuss real examples from work in a way we would have glossed over in normal conversation.
Some peer coaching programs start with identifying problems each person needs to work on. We did hit on a few examples of workplace challenges or problems eventually, but I only noticed that afterwards. The report encourages you to explore versus evaluate, so the experience doesn’t turn into a problem-solving session or a performance review.
Is this person a fit for our culture?
Organizational or group culture isn’t addressed in the Coaching Report, but the team found ourselves talking about it a lot.
They found it particularly interesting that Amy didn’t score where most people successful in her job category did. In fact, she was more aligned with the company culture than with the customer service performance model. For example, Amy was more forceful than someone successful in customer service typically is. But as a team they expect each other to be assertive, and Amy can act as a strong advocate for our customers.
Making peer coaching easier
Proponents of peer coaching claim it can increase employee performance and engagement. And it happens informally all the time at companies everywhere. When a new software tool is introduced, for example, peers tend to teach it to each other and share tips.
But for more personal and behavioral issues, it’s much harder to offer or ask for support and coaching. The Coaching Report provides a non-threatening scaffold that can help you get to these important, higher level interactions.
Every organization could benefit from using it. See a sample Coaching Report
How to run a Coaching Report
Log into your Profile Assessment Center (PAC). From the dashboard select View/View Candidates.
Locate individual’s name on list of completed PXT Select assessments, or by using the search feature. Click on the file icon for Assessment Results. Select Coaching Report (One person. Once position.) and click on the print icon to download the report.
If your candidate or colleague has not yet completed a PXT Select assessment, purchase a test for them today.
How Peer Coaching Can Make Work Less Lonely, Harvard Business Review, October 12, 2018