Peer Coaching for User Experience Managers

At the 2007 IA Summit, a group of user experience managers came together at workshop facilitated by Mags Hanley. The group totally ignored Mags' slides and focused on helping each other, providing ideas and support for the problems and issues that arose during the day. It was a great success! The Peer Mentoring programme was born.

To continue the discussions and peer level support, we offer you the following resources so you can set up your own peer coaching programme in your local area. Local groups, meetups, UX Book Clubs or UX Show & Tell groups are ideal settings for mentoring programme. Feel free to contact us at for assistance in setting up a peer coaching programme near you.

Setting up your own session

Once you have listened to a session and are comfortable with the process, you can either:

  • Set up your own group, or
  • Contact the peer coaching coordinator to introduce you to a group who needs another member

Each group should be registered with the peer coaching coordinator.

Learn More

To learn more about peer coaching, read the following documentation:

Please feel free to email Mags Hanley for more details (mairead at

What is peer coaching?

Peer coaching is where a group of people meet regularly to provide coaching to each other; each session is confidential and totally voluntary. The group coaching is done using Skype (or other free IP phone service) allowing a group of 4-5 people to have a phone conference once a month for an hour. Each person brings a problem that the other members of the group would coach them through. Usually the group can only address two problems in each session and listen to updates from the previous session; everyone takes turn.

Peer coaching is different to mentoring:

  • It is between a group of people who are in a similar place in their career, so they are able to empathise and identify with the situations being discussed.
  • Each person takes turns at providing coaching and being coached.
  • The aim is help the person identify the best path for their situation, by asking probing questions and providing the opportunity for the person to reflect on those questions.

What to expect from the group

The group will not solve all your problems; the group is there to provide with the sounding board for your situation and to help you to find the solution.

The group will respect confidentiality; no issue discussed in the group will be shared outside of the group, including anything that could be considered competitive advantage.

The group will meet regularly; to provide the support, the group should meet regularly once a fortnight or once a month.

The group's leader will rotate each session; the person keeping time and taking notes will change every session to allow every member the ability to be coached.

How to become a member of a group

To set up a group:

  • Find 3-4 other people who are willing to talk on a regular basis
  • Register as a group with the peer coaching coordinator
  • Make sure that you all have the technology to participate in a conference call
  • Start your sessions

Each group should be registered with the peer coaching coordinator, so that if you need additional support or need to find another member, the coordinator can help.

The peer coordinator will have a list of the groups and be able to identify any groups that need additional members and refer you to one. If there are no openings, she can also take your name and refer you to other people who register their interest.

View a sample peer coaching agreement (PDF).

Sample peer coaching agenda

  • Hellos
  • Summary of issues from last session
  • Update from members on the problems they talked about the previous session
  • Progress
  • Update on actions
  • Results
  • Need for more discussion of the problem

Ask the group who has issues to be discussed. If more than 2 issues ask:

  • Who needs resolution quickly?
  • Is the problem large or small?
  • Allocate time to the issue discussion
  • Start your discussion
  • At the end of each discussion, write down the actions for the person and distribute.
  • Set time for the next session

Questions to ask in a coaching session (GROW method¹)


  • What specifically do you want to achieve?
  • How will you measure it?
  • How will you know when you have achieved it?
  • When do you want to achieve it by?
  • What are your intermediate goals/what’s you first step?
  • Is this challenging enough?


  • What is the situation right now?
  • What have you done about it so far?
  • How do you compare with others at this point? (benchmark)
  • When did you notice things were not going so well?
  • What happened to cause this situation?
  • How do you feel about your challenge right now? (scale 1-10)


  • What could you do about the challenge?
  • What have you seen other people do in similar situations?
  • How did you solve this challenge last time/how have you solved similar challenges in the past?
  • How would you tackle the challenge if you were the boss/your role model?
  • What if you had more time/more/people?
  • What else?


  • What are you going to do about it?
  • When are you going to start?
  • Will this action meet your goal?
  • What obstacles might you meet?
  • What support do you need and how will you get it?
  • What else might affect your decision?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how committed are you to taking this action?

¹ Source: Jan Brause

This page was last modified on February 17, 2012 03:46 AM.