How Peer Coaching Enabled Innovation And Inclusion Among Boston Scientific’s Highly Technical Teams
With 34,000 employees in over 40 countries across the globe, Boston Scientific is a global organization dedicated to transforming lives through innovative medical solutions. Boston Scientific has a high performing culture, where employees continuously raise the bar to develop solutions that save and transform millions of lives across the globe.
Innovation and excellence require technical skills and knowledge, but also require having teams where people have the psychological safety, self-awareness, and interpersonal skills to collaborate and explore different perspectives.
Kari Murphy, HR Director of Global Manufacturing, had invested in traditional courses and coaching and seen some impact but it wasn’t creating the sustained behavior change that was needed.
Kari and the leadership team launched the Imperative peer coaching platform for their managers and then later expanded to a larger portion of the manufacturing team in Maple Grove, MN. The platform pairs employees for bi-weekly, guided coaching conversations that help them build trust, learn new skills, and practice those skills in the flow of their work.
Participants expressed some apprehension at first but after completing their first coaching conversation they have embraced it and found it makes meaningful conversation accessible and comfortable.
The leadership team quickly saw peer coaching result in behavior change as participants identified changes they wanted to make in their work and held each other accountable to follow through. Peer coaching has empowered their people to show up more courageously and thoughtfully and to trust and support each other.
“People think it has to be more complicated to work as well as this does. Peer coaching is so simple and just works.”Kari Murphy, HR Director of Global Manufacturing
Build Psychological Safety and Scale Inclusion
Kari’s goal was to cultivate psychological safety and inclusion to fuel innovation and growth. To tackle this challenge, Kari needed a solution that enabled self-awareness and reflection, while making it accessible for highly technical teams who were uncertain or uncomfortable with the process.
Peer Coaching for Managers and Their Teams
To launch peer coaching on Imperative’s platform, participants began by filling out our scientifically designed purpose peer coaching profile. Then, they were paired off using Imperative’s algorithm.
The video-enabled platform guided the peer coaching pairs through bi-weekly conversations that provide the questions and coaching prompts, supporting the peers to reflect on their real-time work experiences and leave with a meaningful commitment to action before their next conversation.
As employees engaged in peer coaching conversations, the Imperative platform collected anonymized quantitative and qualitative data about the quality of the experience and the results.
Scaled Inclusion and Increased Psychological Safety
99% of employees described the peer coaching experience as “helpful,” “very helpful,” and “breakthrough.” 84% of the actions the participants pledged to take after each session were completed.
Some of these included:
- Identifying and challenging their biases
- Building greater trust and credibility
- Celebrating the diverse contributions of their team
- Focus on improving active listening
- Share more constructive feedback
Culture of Inclusion and Continuous Growth
After having peer coaching conversations, employees reported having more trusting relationships, powerful conversations, increasing their engagement and role clarity, owning their personal career growth, and building their active listening skills.
Overwhelmingly, employees reported a desire to continue peer coaching, as it is a “time multiplier” in their week.
Employees described peer coaching as something they look forward to and continue to see the value grow as they get new peer coaching partners and continue to have meaningful conversations.
“It’s simple, clear, and builds connections, putting development back in the hands of employees. Peer coaching helps people become comfortable about having discussions about themselves and getting curious about someone else.”Kari Murphy, HR Director of Global Manufacturing
Reflection and Courageous Conversations
Humanizing work and increasing EQ is a challenge for many tech cultures, and when peer coaching on Imperative launched at Boston Scientific, one employee expressed interest but concern about peer coaching. They said, “This seems worthwhile and I can see the benefits, but I don’t know how to do this. Other people might be good at these conversations, but I’m really nervous and don’t know how to start.”
Through peer coaching on Imperative’s platform, they experienced the structured questions and psychological safety that comes with being matched with a peer. This was a safe way for them to understand and experience personal reflection.
Soon after their first peer coaching conversation, this employee was advocating to expand peer coaching within their own department. They had experienced the simple but impactful process of peer coaching and they immediately wanted to share it with more members of their team.
“At first, I was uncomfortable when I thought about peer coaching. I’ve never done something like this before and was unclear how to do it. But once I had my first conversation, I realized how simple and easy it was. It became something I looked forward to and found so much value in the time spent having these conversations. I wanted other people to be able to experience that.”Senior Engineer, Boston Scientific