Colleague Calls: A new kind of coaching

I’ve always found it fun, and intellectually stimulating, to work alongside other professionals in my field.  In the early days of my career I was lucky to land in teams that were focused on creating great work together with a minimum of competitive drama. Later, as a consultant to HR teams, it was hit-and-miss. Some teams welcomed a partnership, others looked at me as a threatening outsider.

These days I’m offering a new service to HR practitioners, which I call “Colleague Calls”.  A hybrid of coaching, consulting and mentoring, these are ad hoc meetings (usually virtual) where the focus is more on the work, and less on the individual. Before the call, I spend some time getting up-to-speed on the project or the task at hand. On the call, we discuss challenges, uncover opportunities, discuss how best-practices might fit (or not), brainstorm options for actions. We might be talking about Succession Planning, or employee engagement, or culture change. We might be wondering how to enable leaders to take more accountability, or why the performance management program is under-used, or how to scale a tiny process.

Often these ad hoc calls fit naturally into the consulting continuum: Diagnose, Differentiate, Design, Deliver. Sometimes they are less defined, and more about generative conversations (the real fun). I use my coaching skill of asking powerful questions to supportively challenge the status quo or the obvious. I use my experience to provide insight.

Colleague Calls are a good way to step into someone else’s sandbox, to play and to help them build something. There is something magical about sharing the heavy lifting. For HR people who are working alone in their organizations, the call offers a boost of confidence from another technical professional.

Next time you are facing a challenge – exciting or scary – consider that having a colleague alongside would help. You may know someone who would trade an hour of their time for your help later. Of course, if it’s an Organizational Development topic, I’d love to hear from you.


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