Using Peer Forum to Build Leadership Skills and Relationships

The challenge

Anne, the vice president of professional services at a software and services company, was planning a conference for all 350 members of her organization. The agenda included four days of meetings and activities, and Anne wanted to spend a half day with just the top 60 leaders to focus on how they were leading.

Her objectives for the session included:

  • Helping the leaders get to know each other, as they came from many different offices
  • Providing an opportunity for the leaders to reflect on their leadership
  • Building tangible leadership skills
  • Strengthening engagement and commitment among the leaders

The Boda approach

With these objectives in mind, the Boda team designed a program that included teaching coaching skills and conducting Peer Forum sessions. The first half of the program centered on building core coaching skills to equip the leaders with tools to strengthen relationships and develop others. Leaders learned about different types of listening, the mindsets that affect interaction, and how to ask questions that invite others to expand their thinking.

After practicing the coaching skills in small-group exercises, the leaders moved on to the Peer Forum, where they worked in groups of four on their real-life challenges. The Boda coaches used a timed, structured format to facilitate these discussions. In each round, one leader presented their challenge, and their three peers coached them to help them think about the issue constructively. When all four leaders in each group had been coached, the Boda coaches led a debrief to help the leaders process what they learned and plan how they would apply their new skills to their leadership.

The results

The leadership track received some of the highest feedback scores of the four-day conference. The leaders were excited about their development and energized by the time spent working together.

One participant said: “I’ve been here 15 years and I’ve never had a conversation like that at work. The session was practical and powerful. This way of interacting has the potential to change the fabric of our organization.”