Category Archives: Intro to Peer Coaching

EmployID peer coaching practice


In this unit you will learn more about what is necessary to form a peer coaching group. Without further training you will probably not be ready to practice the entire peer coaching process just yet, but you could practice some of the techniques in a group. (You can learn more about the whole peer coaching process in our 3 week course here)

What do you need for peer coaching with your colleagues?


  • You have participated in EmployID peer coaching online course OR you are a professional/practicing coach and informed yourself about the peer coaching process.

  • You are motivated to facilitate others learning and you are also interested in bringing in your own challenges.

  • You accepted the code of ethics for your peer coaching group OR actively created this code of ethics and then accepted it.

  • You are okay with organizing the first sessions (e.g., meeting schedule, facilities, moderation of the group).

How do you start a peer coaching group?

There are different possibilities to start a peer coaching group:

  • Ask other participants of a peer coaching training (e.g. peer coaching online course of EmployID) if they want to participate in your peer coaching group.

    • Either ask participants directly (personally) or

    • write a post in the comments, that you are searching for members for your peer coaching group

  • Ask other peer coaching interested colleagues to take the next peer coaching course of EmployID or use the open one to start with you a peer coaching group.

Testimonials of peer coaching training

Comments on Public Employment practicioners from Public Employment Services in Slovenia and Croatia on EmployID peer coaching and the peer coaching training.

Practice EmployID Peer Coaching  process with our self-coaching approach

Now this introduction on how to start a peer coaching group was very theoretical and you need clearly some more input on that. And you might not be able to join a peer coaching course yourself… so, to ensure that you benefit from the peer coaching process without a training course we have provided you a self-coaching process that is conceptualized to fit the peer coaching process. You can do this on your own whenever you need it.

Phase 1: Problem & situation

  • Which concern would you like to work on?

  • How would you describe the actual problem curtly and bold?

  • What have you tried so far to solve the problem?

  • How far are other persons concerned by the problem situation?

  • Can you feel the problem physically or spring suitable pictures or metaphors to your mind?

  • If your problem is solved optimal, how will you recognize it?

Phase 2: Vision, resources

  • Imagine you’re on holiday and your problem has been solved overnight. What happened to solve your problem?

    • How do you feel now that the problem is solved?

    • Can you feel anything physically after the problem is solved? What do you feel?

    • Which thoughts are running through your mind now that the problem is solved?

Phase 3: Collecting resources

  • What helped you in past resembling situations?

  • Search for resources that could help you in the current situation.

    • Think of internal resources such as strengths, values, capabilities.

    • Think of external resources such as other persons, communities, tools.

Phase 4: Setting goals

  • How will you recognize in your actual situation that the problem has been solved?

  • What’s different?

  • Which goals can you derive for your concern?

    • To which part of my concern refers the goal?

    • How can I notice that I have reached my goal?

    • How attractive and challenging is reaching the goal for myself?

    • How realistic is my goal?

    • Till when is the goal to be reached?

Phase 5: Solution & next steps

  • How can you put your goal/ goals into practice?

  • What are possible steps?

Now, you can start your Self-Coaching right away!

One step further: Receiving feedback!

If you want you can improve your Self-Coaching process by getting others involved in giving you feedback just like in the peer coaching.

In Phase 3 ask others (collagues, friends, family) about what they think are your internal and external resources. You can also take the resource wheel as help.

After clarifying the goal, you can ask others (colleagues, friends, family, even strangers) on their ideas for solutions and next steps.

EmployID Peer Coaching Online Tool

As an additional information we want to present to you the peer coaching online tool in short.

To support peer coaching done over distance we developed an online-tool which is available in a beta version.

Interest in further details on concept, training and tool? Contact us!

Are you interested in having a peer coaching practice implemented in your organization?

Do you want detailed information on peer coaching training or the EmployID peer coaching tool and how we implement peer coaching into Public Employment Services so far?

Then contact your tutor Carmen by emailing

We also have a handbook on concept, training and tool implementation.


EmployID Academy (2016). Open Peer Coaching Online Course. URL:

What is Coaching?

EmployID Peer Coaching

Core Skills



EmployID peer coaching core skills

Core peer coaching skills

There are five EmployID peer coaching core skills:

  • peer coaching process knowledge & transfer

  • active listening

  • emotional awareness

  • powerful questioning

  • growth mindset

In this unit we will explain shortly what they are. Since emotional awareness is a skill that is very good to use during stressful times, we will go into more detail here. If you are also interested in a more detailed look at the other skills check out our EmployID Academy peer coaching open online course.

Peer coaching process knowledge & transfer

For this you need to learn the peer coaching process and practice it. You can either practice it with colleagues directly in peer coaching or you can use our self-coaching approach to practice the process. This approach will be shown in unit five.

Active listening

Active listening is important for building trust between coach and client. It is a way for the coach to show the client that he is completely with him and his concerns. Understanding listening enables the client to talk open about stressing, burdensome, unpleasant and even embarrassing situations. Individuals tend to maintain along their self-picture no matter what. So every attempt to convince them differently is threatening, since their whole identity is built upon their beliefs of their self-picture. This means that even a well-meant praise can be uncomfortable and displeasing for someone who believes he is not worthy of the praise and is not good in what he was praised for. This keeps the person from changing. With active listening the attempt is made to change indirectly. The person is able to explore for himself, see for himself and make his own decisions to become in a position to change.

Emotional Awareness

One of the indirect results of coaching is the emotional self-awareness and it is activated by the coach through questions focusing on feelings, affects, etc. But this is not only a result from coaching for the client, but also an ability the coach needs.

For the client it means to be aware of one’s feelings and attitude it is the knowledge or perception of the self. Knowing about your current emotional state and what influences it, is the first step to changing this state.

Powerful Questioning

Sometimes they are also called reflective questions, open questions, coaching questions etc. Powerful Questioning is a method on using questions that support the client to reflect and think more deeply about what for example the situation the problem occurs really is about. For example the question “How would your supervisor feel about this?” This forces the client to take in another perspective and role, which can change the current view of the problem and lead to ideas for solving it.

Growth mindset

The concept of Growth Mindset was developed by American psychologist Carol Dweck. It is a combination of many concepts that lead to be growth mindset oriented.

A Growth Mindset…

… embraces challenges,

… persists across obstacles,

…views effort as a path of mastery,

…learns from criticism,

…gets inspired from success of others,

… believes that necessary skills and knowledge to be talented can be developed,

…believes that intelligence can be increased by learning,

…knows that it sometimes requires tenacity and persistence and

…knows when to best seek for assistance.

(Dweck, 2007; Richard, 2007)

Emotional Awareness in EmployID

In this video there is a detailed description on emotional awareness explained by Pablo:

Dealing with emotional issues

Why people get angry or upset? From your perspective, some people may be angry and appear to be difficult. Why do you think this is? The reasons could include be any of the following:

  • They feel unfairly treated.

  • They feel you are being unreasonable.

  • They are not getting what they want.

  • They perceive a lack of respect.

  • They feel devalued.

  • They feel little control over their situation.

From a psychological view, hostile behaviour is more complex than you would imagine. It is not just about getting what the person wants, believe it or not, but about controlling the situation. In many cases there is no conscious purpose at all – the person is emotional and operating on ‘auto-pilot’. It is vitally important that you manage the interview. This means:

  • acknowledging the emotional response,

  • being empathetic,

  • remaining confident,

  • being clear about what the person should do; and

  • not becoming confused.

Effective behaviour is assertive, firm, confident, but especially, aiming to be collaborative.

Note: empathy is about understanding how the other person feels in the situation, not how you would feel. It means trying to understand how and why a person feels the way they do, in other words, putting yourself in their shoes. Demonstrating empathy with someone’s feelings doesn’t necessarily mean that you agree with them, only that you can understand why they feel that way.

Tips for Effective Behaviour with difficult persons

Usually there are no tips in coaching, but in EmployID peer coaching there is a step in the process where advisors can bring in their experience and their solutions. These could be solutions to handle difficult persons for example at your work or in a training or even during a peer coaching process, when a participant does not stick to the decided rules and ethical guidelines. (Originally those tips were used in a closed MOOC for work coaches to support them with difficult conversations with clients/ claimants.)

  • Persistence (Broken record)

Be persistent and stick to the point of the discussion, to keep saying what you want to say, and not to pursue to side (deflecting) issues brought up by the person (protesting). Essentially, this is the situation, these are the rules, and we need to agree what we need to do. Repetition cancels out diversions and helps the person to focus on what needs to be done.

  • Responding to criticism

Do not respond to the person’s criticism with denial, defensiveness or argument. Instead break the manipulative cycle by actively promoting more information and then stating you will (or have) consider(ed) this information, then try and progress the converstation.

  • ‘Going over your head’

The person may try to go over your head by asking to speak to the manager. This is usually meant to intimidate. Inviting the person to speak to him/her comes across as confident. For example, ‘I know you’re unhappy about xxxx. If you believe that it’s best to talk to my manager, I can certainly help with that. Do you want me to help you arrange to talk to him/her?’ Then try to progress the conversation.

  • Topic grab to stop a tirade

Use something the person has said that you can relate to. For example, ‘I’ve got two kids too…” – a neutral comment, but the person will be interested as it’s based on what they said earlier.

  • Do not give cause for complaint

If you sigh, roll your eyes, show frustration or impatience, mutter, or do similar things, or slam the phone down, then you are giving cause for complaint. Showing ‘positive’ body language is important.

  • the person’s face-saving

If the person has made a mistake or does not understand the requirements, do not challenge (for example, ‘You’ve broken the rules or ‘you’ve done this or that’, or ‘you fail to understand’). Instead say ‘Let me talk you through this’.

  • the person clearly wrong and stubborn

For example the person may say ‘You can’t do that!’ Do not respond by saying ‘Oh yes we can!’ Allow face saving outputs for the person. Avoid embarrassing or humiliating the person. Your objective is not to win the argument, but to deal effectively and professionally with the person, whether they are right or wrong.

All these tips do not only help you to calm down and reassure another person, but they are also good to keep calm yourself.

In dealing with difficult people it is also very important to be mindful of our own thoughts and emotions. People who are hostile and not acting very nice to us also trigger thoughts and feelings in ourselves that we have difficulties to handle. In dealing with that, we do not only have to deal with other people’s emotions, but also, our own.

  • be mindful with yourself

Be mindful of your own feeling that you feel in that situation, to accept it, and not acting upon it – if it triggers you to act unprofessionally or any other way. After acknowledging what you feel, you can accept it, and focus on client/customer and deal with your emotions later.

  • have empathy for others

Try to understand others anger and behaviour is hard to deal with. Thinking what is behind that behaviour could help you to understand the person and act in a positive and constructive way to another person.


Now try to change your emotional state:

Think of a current challenge you have and try show it by your mimic, your gestic and your posture and remain there for a few seconds (yes, right in front of you computer :-)).  Afterwards please think of a very happy event in your life and show it likewise. Reflect on how it feels and what you think by taking in the different states!

  • What was different?

  • Was is useful to you?

  • What did you feel?

Dealing with difficult people:

  • Think about characteristics that they find annoying in people or have difficulties with.

  • Then name behaviours that are helpful for dealing with those people


Dweck, Carol S. (2007). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Ballantine Books.

EmployID Academy (2016). Open Peer Coaching Online Course. URL:

Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick (2016). EmployID – Changing World of Work [closed MOOC on FutureLearn].

Richard, Michael Graham (2007). Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset: Which One Are You? Retrieved from:

What is Coaching?

EmployID Peer Coaching

Core Skills



EmployID peer coaching


Peer coaching “refers to a specific form of coaching carried out among colleagues. The members of the group take turns in adopting the role of coach and thus provide coaching to each other. All members are responsible for the coaching process. Synonyms are: ‘Intervision’, ‘Collegial Coaching’” (Ajdukovic et. al 2015, p. 37).

Peer coaching comes from Supervision, where an expert works with one person or a group on their cases at work. It is often used for reflection of counsellors, coaches, and educators.

Characteristics of peer coaching 

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Fig. 3. Peer Coaching Characteristics based on Lippmann 2009

There a certain characteristics on intervision you need to understand:

  • group of equal rank

The group that does peer coaching is of equal rank. That does not mean, that persons in the group can be differently qualified, but it means, that everyone in the group may bring in his problem equally and no one of the group is a professional coach who leads the group or process.

  • common professional focus

Another thing is the professional focus. Usually there is a common professional interest. People in the group have a common objective, because they have maybe the same professional background.

  • target-oriented process

The process is target-oriented which means it is about a solution-focused exchange to find one or more solutions that can be transferred into work afterwards.

  • mutually defined structure

There is a mutually defined structure that supports the peer coaching process.

  • voluntariness, liability

Peer coaching should be voluntary, but within the group there is a need of liability to take part actively and feel responsible for the processes.

  • idea of „giving and taking“

There is the idea of “giving and taking” which means that you learn from each other and help each other.

  • counsel without fee

The peer coaching is without fee, because there is no professional needed, there are trademarked concepts. (Lippmann, 2009, pp. 17-19)

EmployID peer coaching group

To perform peer coaching there is the need of the group members to take in different roles. In this peer coaching model there are three roles: client, peer coaching facilitator and advisors. In each coaching process there is only one client and one peer coaching facilitator but many advisors (the rest of the peer coaching group members). There should be at least three advisors in order to have a helpful process.

EmployID peer coaching process

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Fig. 4: EmployID Peer Coaching Process Model concept based on Lippmann 2009, Berg & Berninger-Schaefer 2010, Berninger-Schaefer 2011

The EmployID peer coaching process is based on Lippmann (2009), Berg & Berninger-Schaefer (2010), Berninger-Schaefer (2011).

The actual coaching process is divided in:

    • start, problem selection

The contact person of the group welcomes everybody, problems of group members are collected and selection. Afterwards roles for the peer coaching session(s) need to be assigned (client, peer coaching facilitator, advisors).

    • problem & situation

The peer coaching facilitator asks the client about the problem. The advisors listen actively and observe.

    • vision, resources

The peer coaching facilitator asks of the last time the client was enthusiastic about something and helps the client to visualize the feelings, thoughts, strengths and resources of that moment.

    • collecting resources

The advisors add their ideas on which strengths and resources that are still needed or which strengths they feel the client has hidden beyond. They can also ask, if there are e.g. supporting systems like family, friends, other persons, rituals, places with a certain atmosphere, etc.

    • setting goals

The peer coaching facilitator asks the client what the client wants to achieve  in this session and the client formulates a specific goal and an order to the group, to find possible solutions for achieving the goal.

    • solutions & next steps

The possible solutions given by the advisors are being collected. The client prioritizes and plans steps after the collection of solutions.

    • feedback

Everybody of the group starting with client and peer coaching facilitator explain what they learned for themselves in the process. Afterwards the session is closed and another session can be started.

In unit four of this week you can practice this process by yourself!

You want more?

For more information on peer coaching and EmployID peer coaching concept check out the EmployID Academy open online-course on peer coaching!



Ajdukovic, Marina; Cajvert, Lilja; Judy, Michaela; Knopf, Wolfgang; Kuhn, Hubert; Madai, Krisztina & Voogd, Mieke (2015). ECVision. A European Glossary of Supervision and Coaching. Retrieved from 

Berg, Thomas E. & Berninger-Schaefer, Elke (2010). Die Kollegiale Coaching Konferenz. Stuttgart: Boorberg Verlag.

Berninger-Schaefer, Elke (2011). Orientierung im Coaching. Stuttgart: Boorberg Verlag.

EmployID Academy (2016). Open Peer Coaching Online Course. URL:

Lippmann, Eric (2009). Intervision. Kollegiales Coaching professionell gestalten. Heidelberg: Springer Medizin Verlag.

What is Coaching?

EmployID Peer Coaching

Core Skills



What is coaching?

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Fig. 1: “coaching and peer coaching” created with

What is coaching and what are coaches doing?

Coaching is a form of pre-structured and process-oriented communication between a coach and a client to support the client in finding a solution for a work-related challenge. To separate it from other forms of coaching, e.g. sports coaching it is often also called business coaching. There is  “a whole lot of asking and not much telling” in coaching, meaning that the coach is NOT telling the client what to do, but supports the client by asking questions on what would be useful in the client’s situation. The coach is the expert of the process (the coaching process) and the client is the expert of the challenging situation. Only the client knows all for him or her visible aspects of the situation.

The coaching understanding in this MOOC is based on the understanding of coaching associations e.g. the German Federal Association for Executive Coaching (DBVC) and the systemic-solution oriented coaching approach by Berninger-Schaefer (2011).

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Fig. 2. Professional coaches based on SmithLeadershipLLC, 2012

Why do we use coaching?

It is important to recognise that coaching is different from advising, instructing or teaching.

Some characteristics of Coaching:

  • it avoids telling the person what to do,

  • it helps to build rapport which leads to more effective communication,

  • it encourages the person to identify for themselves what they need to do, rather than being told,

  • it draws out the person’s potential; and

  • it enables the person to move forward.

Let’s think about coaching in a sporting context.

If you think about a coach who works with an athlete, the coach’s job is to transfer their knowledge and experience to develop the athlete’s skills. The coach does not run the race for the athlete, nor do they run alongside the athlete during the race telling them what to do. But they do work with the athlete in advance of the race to improve their technique and performance so that they can perform well in the race even when the coach is no longer with them.

We have said that sports coach draws out the person’s potential. They do this by:

  • encouraging the athlete through difficulties

  • challenging the athlete to raise their game and do everything they are capable of

  • being firm when the athlete needs it, but supportive when they need it too; and

  • drawing out the best performance by challenging/encouraging as needed.

The Benefits of Coaching

By coaching clients, you are involving them in decisions about their future and gaining their commitment. Involving people in the decisions that affect them increases their sense of ownership. This in turn increases their commitment and motivation. By coaching, you enable them to identify their goals and think for themselves.

If people are told what to do, they may go along with it to a degree, however they tend to be more committed to the ideas that they have come up with themselves. This means they are more likely to actively pursue these targets and undertake the steps to achieve them. By coaching, you enable them to plan how to meet their goals. Setting a goal is all very well but you need to put in the effort and have the willpower to actually achieve it.

People are far more likely to achieve their goals if they:

  • identify the goals themselves,

  • make a plan for what they will do, and how, when and where they will do it.

By coaching, you help individuals to find inner motivation for themselves. Having identified their own goals, people have a vested interest in achieving them – they want to achieve them. This gives them the motivation to take the action needed. Once they start they make progress which in itself is a great motivator.

By coaching, you help them to build confidence in themselves. Coaching is empowering as it enables people to take ownership and responsibility for their own future. It encourages them to consider their situation and discover for themselves the changes they can make and how to make them. By asking the clients to discover the answers for themselves you reinforce the message that their opinions, knowledge, experience etc. are worthwhile.

Code of Ethics

One of the most important points in coaching, before a coaching process can be started is to be clear and transparent about ethics. Since coaching is at the moment more and more professionalized there are a lot of associations and the members there who engage themselves to keep the ethical standards of their association.

One example there is the code of ethics by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) to give you an understanding on what is meant by ethics in coaching.

Maybe you know ethical guidelines from your country’s coaching associations? Then share them with the whole group in the comment section below.

This is very crucial. In coaching and in peer coaching the whole coaching group needs to engage themselves to keep ethical standards and this has to be discussed in the very beginning.

In summary:

Coaching is a very specific technique which enables you to build the client’s confidence and self sufficiency.


Berninger-Schaefer, E. (2011). Orientierung im Coaching. Stuttgart: Boorberg Verlag.

DBVC (German Federal Association for Executive Coaching) URL: 

EmployID Academy (2016). Open Peer Coaching Online Course. URL:

Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick (2016). EmployID – Changing World of Work [closed MOOC on FutureLearn].

International Coaching Federation (ICF) (2015). Code of Ethics. URL:

SmithLeadershipLLC (2012, July 17). What is Coaching? [Video file]. Retrieved from (YouTube).

What is Coaching?

EmployID Peer Coaching

Core Skills