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Reciprocal peer coaching

Peer mentoring, coaching and supervision

Defining peer learning in its broadest sense is ‘coaches learning from and with each other in both formal and informal ways'. The emphasis is on the learning process, including the emotional support that coaches offer each other, as much as the learning itself.

What is peer coaching?

  • a confidential, neutral, non-judgemental space to receive support & encouragement

  • based on an equal relationship from someone on a similar level

  • a peer coach’s role is to actively listen and provide a sounding board

  • having someone support you in your journey of insight

  • an accountability partner to challenge you into self solution making

Why have a dedicated BIPOC peer coaching space?

Racism and white supremacy culture shape the experiences of individuals in coaching, mentoring and supervision programs. A mentors/coaches/supervisors attitude about race, ethnicity and culture can harm their relationships with BIPOC mentees/coaches. Some mentors/coaches /supervisors are unaware of their own biases and negative stereotypes and/or do not have the skills to bridge cultural differences between themselves and their mentee/coachee. Unfortunately there are not enough non-BIPOC coaches who are consciously anti-racist nor is the coaching profession diverse.

Anti-racism training and education for mentors and coaches is necessary for promoting the positive personal development of BIPOC individuals and communities.

Until that point;

  • Where can we discuss incidents of racism or whiteness in coaching or mentoring with supervisors or trainers in a way that does not reinforce trauma?

  • Where can we talk about the tensions of navigating in white privileged capitalistic spaces without having to explain ourselves?

  • Where is the knowledge base of BIPOC coaches, mentors, supervisors highlighted, acknowledged and appreciated?

  • Where can we be ourselves and have a felt sense of connection with other coaches who understand us?

This isn't to say that traditional peer coaching without the subcategory of BIPOC only isn't as effective, however this can give a helpful alternative for those who feel that they need someone who can understand them from a lived experience or the very least a systemic awareness of what it means to be a race other than white.

Whose in this space?

Generally, peers are other people in a similar situation to each other, who do not have a role in each others separate lives. They may have considerable experience and expertise or they may have relatively little. They share the status as fellow BIPOC accredited coaches and they are accepted as such. Most importantly, they do not have power over each other by virtue of their position or responsibilities.

What is reciprocal peer learning?

Coaches in reciprocal peer learning are by definition peers, and so there is less confusion about roles compared with situations in which one of the 'peers' is a senior coach or has special expertise.

  • There is no need to pay the more experienced coaches responsible for peer coaching.

  • coaches simultaneously learning and contributing to other learning.

  • issues of power and domination are less prominent than when one party has a designated ‘mentor/teacher' role and thus takes on a particular kind of authority.

Additional benefits of BIPOC peer coaching

  • BIPOC coaches can be their own advocates, lead their own work, and learn how to organise and amplify their own voices.

  • Intergroup connection between cultures - both parties can teach things to each other while also learning new concepts.

  • Outside the box perspectives - promoting learning & creativity whilst using new techniques that aren't used often in traditional (mainly western, white-bodied, male, global north lens) coaching

  • A Sense of Community - helps promote a sense of unity, allows BIPOC coaches to make friends with each other whilst also learning together.

If you are an accredited coach (EMCC, ICF, AC, APECS, IAPC etc), identify with BI+POC (Black, Indigenous, + People of Colour) - (People of Global Majority) and would be happy to participate in reciprocal coaching, do get in touch and join our peer coaching community.

Jasmine Gill MCOptom (She/Her)

Certified Executive & Team Coach | Facilitation | Leadership Development | DEI Advocate | Multicultural Life Coach


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