Collegial Coaching

Collegial Coaching

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Staff development process in which two or more professional colleagues work together, in order to enhance collegiality, improve and validate performance. Collegial Coaching is a non judgmental and non evaluative method focused on collaborative development and a sharing of professional knowledge. First developed in the field of teacher training, it suits also to other professional domains to perform five main functions:
  1. Companionship (talking about success and failure)
  2. Feedback (giving mutual, non-evaluative feedback)
  3. Analysis (helping each other extend the control over a new approach)
  4. Adaptation (adjusting the new approach to the specific needs to be addressed)
  5. Support (providing each other support)

It can be used to:

  • Share new ideas and successful practice
  • Facilitate discussion and professional exchange among colleagues
  • Learn from each other
  • Reduce isolation
  • Solve problems in the workplace through collaboration
  • Support beginning professional in their practice
  • Conduct observations of meetings or workshops
  • Build collaborative norms to promote knowledge sharing and mutual assistance
  • Encourage alternative behavior [1]

Toolkit.png Running a Collegial Coaching Program

Step by Step

  1. Select a team of 1-6 members. It is also important to have an open and trustful working spirit among the participants.
  2. Calculate a time frame of 10 to 30 minutes it there are only two persons in the team and a time frame of 30 to 45 minutes if the group is bigger.
  3. Choose the case to be dealt with (because of its interest, importance, urgency…). The participant involved in the selected case is the requesting person, while the rest of the group should act as coach.
  4. Assign the role of facilitator to one of the participants. If the group has more than four members. Facilitator’s tasks are to check the time frame and lead the discussion if needed.
  5. Let the requesting person introduce the case to be checked: he/she should describe the situation and explain why this case is important, which difficulties he/she had to face and which strategies he/she has adopted. Crucial is to formulate a clear, core question the Collegial Coaching should focus on.
  6. Ask the requesting person to remain silent and listen to the others during the dialogue among the coaches. The discussion may concern: the way the case has been presented; the facts perceived during the presentation of the case; coaches’ feelings during the exposition; the core challenge according to them.
  7. Let the requesting person comment on what the others said about the presentation. He/she may also re-state the core question the discussion.
  8. Let the facilitator resume the dialogue and introduce the second part of the discussion. It is up to him/her structuring the dialogue. The requesting person only steps in if the discussion goes “off-road”. In this phase participants may share: hypotheses about the case exposed; questions they would clarify; information they consider important to gather; experience they have of similar cases; possible solutions.
  9. Let the requesting person share his/her impressions of the discussion, by specifying which suggestions are more interesting. The whole team might analyze benefits and risks of the most promising solution. After that, participants might also put the chosen option into practice through a role play or a comparison with a real case.
  10. Let the requesting person describe the next step he/she plans to do.
  11. Let the team shares learning insights and remarks about the whole process.

Coach’s skills

In order for a Collegial Coaching to be successful the coaches in this model should possess skills as:

  • Questioning
  • Observation
  • Capacity to understand and analyze social systems
  • Ability to transfer an experience into another context
  • Facilitation
  • Empathy with others

It might also be helpful if the coaches have own experience in a situation similar to the one to be checked.


Professionals having been involved in collegial coaching usually reported the following benefits:

  • Increased sense of professional skills
  • Learning of new professional skills
  • Enhanced ability to analyze their own performance
  • Stronger professional relationships with colleagues
  • More cohesive and collaborative working climate [2]

Job Aid

Pdf.png Running a Collegial Coaching Program


  1. (9 July 2009), (10 July 2009), (10 July 2009), [1] (10 July 2009)
  2. (9 July 2009), (9 July 2009), (10 July 2009), (10 July 2009), [] (10 July 2009)