We have been running coaching triads in our business for over ten years to support learning and development. More recently we have introduced Coaching Triads as part of our onboarding process. They have delivered unforeseen benefits, colleagues are collaborating across continents in ways we never thought possible. The Triads are yielding some great insights into how as a business we could improve and grow.
So what are they and how do they work?
A coaching triad involves a group of peers coming together (we run them weekly) and each member of the group takes it in turn to coach one another. Whilst some companies use this for teams that work in similar disciplines we have found that cross functional and cross company teams work just as well.
Normally, as the name implies there are three people in each team, however you can run as larger groups and then use breakouts – but clearly multiples of three are ideal. In the active session individuals will take on the role of either Coach, Coachee or Observer.
- Coach: The Coach is responsible for asking probing questions, listening to the coachee, challenging their assumptions and giving feedback, but should not offer solutions or give advice. They may follow a structure, such as the GROW model (see across), or may simply ask questions designed to get the coachee to think through the issues and options and move forward to action.
- Coachee: The coachee will respond to the Coach and will bring an issue to be considered, they must agree to be open and honest when addressing the questions put by the coach and also be prepared to take action as a result of the coaching conversation.
- Observer: The observer(s) watch and listen to the coaching conversation and provide feedback to the coach and coachee. The intention is to provide constructive feedback on what has been said, for example, highlighting points that appeared to be particularly effective or less effective. The observer might point out questions that had moved the coachee forward or points where the coach stepped outside the coaching role and offered advice.
The group needs to be mutually supportive, there are no requirements to be an experienced coach but it is useful for the team to understand some basic principles of coaching and listening.
We included a Soundwave assessment at the beginning of the process so that each member could understand their communication style and preference.