Co-coaching is the structured practice of a mutual exchange of coaching support among peers. As new or experienced Coaches or people in organisations interested in coaching support, co-coaching gives people the time and opportunity to practise coaching, to try new ways/approaches or to work on something that we might want to improve. I practice co-coaching with a couple of good Coach friends on a monthly basis, and find it incredibly useful and powerful.

This usually involves each individual taking turns to be coach in 45-1-hour sessions, so taking a total of 1.5-2 hours for each to have a turn being coached and being the Coach. It can work for:

  • Coaches in training or recently trained who are still trying to get coaching clients and want to practice their coaching skills
  • Experienced Coaches who want some coaching support and the opportunity to try out different approaches and tools in the safety of working with someone they know well
  • It can be used as part of a team coaching approach where each person in the team works with another person on a co coaching basis to supplement the learning they are doing in the team coaching setting
  • It could be used in an informal supervision setting with Manager and member of staff where the Manager is using coaching skills as opposed to a stricter supervision template, or more intuitively outside supervision sessions

The approach

It would be pretty typical to adopt the Using the GROW model of coaching or if your preference is for something more holistic, the Co-active Coaching model to frame the session.

  • Agree that everything said in the session is strictly confidential: what goes on in the session stays there. Also think about what you each want to bring as an approach to contracting for the sessions; e.g. length of time for the sessions, regularity, approach to contact between sessions
  • Each agree at the outset of the session the problem each individual in turn would like to work on
  • Check in in terms of style and approach what kind of coaching style will work best for each of you e.g. whether the other person wants you to listen, and ask questions for clarification to get you to think more deeply about the issue
  • Consider good coaching questions like: “what have you tried or considered already”? “Any other options you see?” “What do you see as the pros and cons of each?”
  • Aim if at all possible for a resolution on the things each person is taking forward, and how feedback/progress will be reviewed
  • Agree how you will each follow up; more pure coaching theory tends to put the responsibility of note taking and actions on the person being coached