Peer Support Competencies: Guidelines for Effectiveness

Peer support is built on a foundation of empathy and trust. To ensure that the support provided is safe, empowering, and respectful for both the helper providing support and the person receiving support, there are key competencies that can be followed.

Peer Support Competencies
Interpersonal Relations
The ability to establish and maintain positive and effective relationships with others  is a key competency for peer supporters. This includes building trust, fostering a sense of safety, and actively listening to the needs and concerns of those being supported.
Adapting one's demeanor to align with the person being supported can create a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere, while still maintaining a positive and supportive environment that is respectful, non-judgmental, and respects confidentiality.
Clear and effective communication is crucial for peer supporters. This includes the ability to clearly convey information and ideas, as well as actively listen and understand the perspectives of others.
Critical Thinking
Analyzing information and making sound decisions is an important skill for peer supporters. This includes the ability to evaluate information, consider multiple perspectives, and make well-informed decisions.
Inspiring hope and optimism in others is an important role of peer supporters. This includes the ability to help others see possibilities, look for opportunities, and build resilience.
Self-Management & Resiliency
Managing emotions and bouncing back from challenges is important for peer supporters to maintain their own well-being and to be able to support others. This includes the ability to regulate emotions, set boundaries and manage stress.
Flexibility & Adaptability
Adjusting to new and changing situations is an important competency for peer supporters. This includes being open to new ideas, being able to adapt to different perspectives and cultures, and being able to navigate change.
Self-Awareness & Confidence
Understanding one's own emotions and abilities, and having confidence in them is important for peer supporters. This includes being able to identify one's own strengths and weaknesses, and being able to use that self-awareness to improve one's own performance.
Initiative & Commitment
Taking charge and being committed to supporting others is essential for peer supporters. This includes being proactive, taking ownership of one's role and being accountable for one's actions.
Working effectively with others towards a common goal is important for peer supporters. This includes the ability to collaborate, communicate and negotiate effectively with others.
Continuous Learning & Development
Continuously learning and growing in one's role as a peer supporter is important. This includes staying informed about new developments in the field, seeking out new learning opportunities, and being open to feedback and constructive criticism.

For more information on peer support competencies, please refer to Peer Support Canada.

Last modified: Monday, February 6, 2023, 9:22 PM