Positive Ways is ALF’s training partner and we use their programme to train Peer professionals at three levels, enabling career progression as well as personal development.
The Peer Confidant is an Award at level 3, Peer Mentor is a Certificate at level 4, and the Peer Coach is a Diploma at level 5. All courses require a minimum of 370 hours of study.
The core course teaches peer professional skills and theory, which can be used in any field, with additional modules which can bespoke the course to a specific environment. Our current specialism are for use within Mental Health and community based peer practice, and in the workplace and business.
The Peer Coaching Tree
Positive Ways is inspired by the age old metaphor of the Oak tree, whereby the purposeful spirit of the tree is held, germinated, and released from the see through its mutual interaction with the attentiveness of the crucial elements of a fertile soil, nourishing water, a warming sun, and strengthening winds that sustain and shape it over time. There is always plenty of time, through changing seasons, as it blossoms and sustains, back in return.
Following on with this metaphor, as we work through the programme, the roots provide the firm foundation from which we can always draw the nourishment and support needed to sustain us throughout our lifelong journey.
Moving into the trunk of the tree, the focus is on developing ‘myself’ and understanding our current place in relation to others, ourselves, and the world. We understand our current limitations, identify how our needs are being met, and prepare to get our current story clear, in preparations for taking it into the branches of the tree where, through co-production, it can unfold with our peers as we continue to move towards purposefulness.
We become strong enough in the trunk to accept our relatedness with all others and all things, whilst negotiating our path within and through the systems of which we are a part, and become aligned within ourselves.
With a strong sense of self, drawn up from the roots and the trunk, we take considered action, build healthy relationships with others, continue learning, reflect on and in our action, and gently stretch ourselves as we progress, with our peers. In the branches of the tree, we become adept at living life, as we always keep an eye towards to the crown of the tree, which is purposefulness.
Is at the roots of the Peer Coaching Tree, forming the strong foundation for a lifelong learning journey that is respectfully two way, in that we both give, and receive.
It is the basis of any relationship that gives strength, encouragement, support, and purpose. It embraces diversity whereby ‘I’ am stretched by the difference in ‘me’ to meet the difference in ‘you’. Thereby, we understand and grow, acknowledging and negotiating the power relations inherent in every relationship whereby ‘you’ or ‘I’ may lead the other towards purposefulness in each stage of the learning journey.
This is an intersubjectivity which includes awareness and acceptance of ‘me’ in relations to ‘you’ at any given point and recognises that it is dynamic and can shift.
Is the first part of the trunk of the tree. It acknowledges that, first and foremost, we are born into the world in which, from conception, we are always related to others. Some call this inherent inter-relatedness, the web of life, or the collective unconscious, for example.
From the moment we enter the world, we become part of a family system, and this is just one of a collective of systems we are inherently a part of throughout our lives.
In the Inter-View, we look at how we currently navigate ourselves within and between the systems of which we are a part.
Sometimes there are systems in which we need to be a part, even if it is temporary, For example, as users of health systems, or as employees of organisations, How we navigate our way though and within these systems will impact our experiences of them, our wellness, and other aspects of the tree, Moving towards a place of finding a healthy way to do this, moves us along our journey towards purposefulness.
By looking at the five domains of a healthy life (physical, emotional, psychological, social, and spiritual), we will see how the Inter-View is inherent through all of these in getting our needs met, mobilising full use of our innate resources and, with our peers, becoming purposeful. We call this Emotional Resilience in Action.
Once we have understood our relatedness with all things and all others, we can begin to look more closely at our relatedness with the self.
This may involve taking a look at how we are currently narrating the story of our lives, in preparation for co-creating and co-producing a new, health story in the branches of the tree.
We look at how we can improve and build on our self-efficacy. In other words, do we have authority – the ability and right to take action in our lives; do we take responsibility – take action when we know it is our to take; do we hold ourselves to account – or check ion and ensure that we are keeping the promises to take action that we have made to ourselves, and how do we measure that. We may take a closer look at our inner resources.
We come to understand in our Self-View that, as everything is constantly changing and shifting, the same is true of ourselves. The self is dynamic, Once we accept that there is no true essence, fixed identity, or ‘self’ that can be pinned down, and lived to, we are better able to adapt to the constant changing both within and out side of ourselves. We are able to relate to all of the different aspects of ourselves. We come to be ‘okay’ with the parts of ourselves that we may have judged, and appreciate those parts that form our strengths, gifts, and talents. This is a process we call Adeptness.
Is where we begin to understand and shape our personal values and our rationale for our life. In other words, identifying and pursuing those things that bring meaning to our lives and enable us to make sense of your world, and our existence in it.
We may need to modify certain beliefs, assumptions, and inferences which limit and make us unhappy. We build on our Inter-View, and Self-View, and bring them together to create a healthy Life-View which motivates and leads us towards purposefulness, Included in this are our personal ethics, morals and laws that govern us and provide a personal framework from which we can go out into the world.
Once we have melded our experience of others, ourselves, and the work and have a healthy Life-View with clear personal values and beliefs, we are ready to move into the branches of the tree and begin to co-produce our healthy narrative with our peers which will move us towards purposefulness.
Is where we first look at our relationships with other which may sometimes have has a tendency to become unhealthy in their transaction between self and other. This could be in personal or professional relationships.
As we are always moving towards health, in any aspect of the tree, we begin to see the unhealthy patterns of the drama triangle give way to an adept triangle of relating with other that is healthy.
In looking at relationships, we can understand how to negotiate power with the relationship, and set healthy boundaries which benefit ourselves and those we work or live with. It is here we also identify our limitations in relationships, or the extent to which we can guide and lead another and leave them in command of their own cycle of adeption whilst always supporting them in leading themselves through the Inter-View, Self-View, and Life-View stages of the tree.
Co-Operation can also mean the ways in which businesses, organisations and services work, genuinely, together to share ideas, knowledge, resources, and support, sometimes called Co-Opetition in business.
All of the above are a form of Intelligent Co-Operation, which is altruistically reciprocal, whereby we are open to receiving and responding constructively to feedback from others and the environment, whilst we are checking our progress towards purposefulness.
Here, the process of our learning, in the fullest sense, is scaffolded and supported with another, as we are broadening our knowledge and skills.
We begin to narrate our new story, with its aim always towards health and purposefulness. We shape our vision of how we wish to be purposeful, in our lives of business for example, then we construct and co-create the story which will take us there.
Co-Education draws out the knowledge and resourcefulness which we have within ourselves and builds our confidence in co-producing and co-delivering the fullest expression of our potential.
Here we are able to confidently take considered action, supported by our peers, and taken from the clear intentions we have set ourselves.
In many therapeutic and coaching interventions, taking action is often where people come un-stuck, or find a challenge. The journey from intention to action can seem like bridging a deep and wide ravine, and sometimes a bit of action may be taken but not sustained for long enough to create a new, health habit. Sometimes the old story can entice us back into old patterns and disable us from creating lasting change, this can also prove de-motivating for future efforts.
By taking Co-Action, we have an inbuilt accountability partner, as well as someone we can rehearse with and lean on when things feel tough,
The Peer Coach minds the gap between intention and action, whilst we find our feet and move from simply taking action, to sustenance, when the scaffolding can be removed and make way for aspirations to higher levels of adeption.
Is a process which takes place both during, and on, action. We reflect whilst we are taking action, and we reflect on the action which has been taken. This gives us the ability to modify and encourage whilst we are doing the action, and then to take stock of what we have achieved, whilst appreciating the extent to which we have developed thus far.
In our reflection and appreciation towards ourselves and others, we foster an attitude of gratitude which serves to make us feel our efforts are worthwhile and aids us to make sense of our lives. Together with hope, gratitude; meaning, purpose; and service to others, make up a Pragmatic spirituality which is the fifth essential domains of life and will be discussed further, during this module.
In this module we look at our personal growth with a view to preparing for the next set of goals. We acknowledge that, at times, personal growth comes equally from pausing and slowing down, as much as it does from fast paced action. In this part of the course, we will learn that personal mastery comes from practice. To use the metaphor of the plateau, the plateau is a great place to see far and wide, take a pause, and then decide which part of the view we wish to head towards next.
We will take stock of our personal strengths and weaknesses with our peers to best consider how to make optimum use of the opportunities that present themselves. We understand that the wheel continues to turn, and the tree continues to blossom and grow. Part of human motivation is the need to always be moving towards competence, achievement, and purposefulness.
Here, we arrive at purposefulness, though it is not an end, more where we achieve the sense that there is always something worthwhile to wake up for every day. However, with all of the elements of the tree providing an firm foundation, this purposefulness is strong and considered, and the action we take is energy efficient and focused.
In this module we set the goals with our peers that are going to motivate us and provide continuity and sustenance for our purposefulness.
Our personal narrative is congruent with our goals and aligned to take us forwards with purposefulness. By using the tools and knowledge that we have gained in our journey from the roots to the crown of the tree, we need always ever be focused forwards, sustained and supported by it, and by our peers with whom we co-design, co-produce, and co-deliver our purposefully led life.