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Peer to Peer Coaching: A Model

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The Massachusetts J2J Program established a Peer Mentoring Policy and Practices Committee (PMPPC) determined to adhere to best practices and provide consistency, continuity, and effectiveness. Through the work of the PMPPC, the following areas were identified as needing definition and clarification for the program’s successful system-wide integration:

1.    Role of presiding or chief judge
a.    Selection and assignment of mentor coach and mentee
b.    Meeting schedule (including check-in meetings and annual meeting)
c.    Resolution of conflicts
d.    Issues and goal expectations

2.    Confidentiality

3.    Continuing mentor coach training
a.    Mandatory learning labs
b.    Optional trainings

4.    Mentor Coach
a.    Mandatory foundational training before assignment
b.    Mentor Coach/Mentee meeting expectations

Supportive Resources and Ongoing Learning Needs

In addition to foundational training and ongoing learning labs, mentor coaches are introduced and given opportunities to practice with a variety of tools. For example, articles such as Atul Gawande’s New Yorker (October 3, 2011) piece titled “Personal Best,” can start a great conversation with professionals and the support a coach can provide.

Another powerful resource is the Judicial Capacity Wheel. The Judicial Capacity Wheel evolved from an observation by a juvenile judge that the Wheel of Life could be adapted to the needs of judges (especially those newly appointed) to help focus on important development areas. The Judicial Capacity Wheel is designed as a self-assessment tool for judges to rate how they view their capacity in the following areas:

•    Lawyer relationships

•    Jury management

•    Organizational dynamics and culture

•    Self-represented litigants

•    Caseflow management

•    Knowledge and use of resources

•    Demeanor

•    Courtroom management

•    Time management

•    Knowledge of the law

•    Judicial-writing

•    Resiliency

•    Judicial decision-making

•    Relationship with staff

•    Relationships with external stakeholders

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