The Corporate world demands significant amounts of time and dedication. It is a fast-paced environment that never rests and expects only one thing from us: productivity. Thus, not being able to improve your team’s performance can be extremely frustrating, considering that we also have to deal with everyday challenges and unexpected events in our personal lives.
Being a Project and Program Manager is difficult. We have to learn to deal with multiple obstacles in order to drive projects along the right track and meet customer’s expectations. There are many factors we have to manage and keep under control to reach a desirable outcome and succeed in our job; therefore, we need to develop a variety of skills that will help us be prepared to face both external and internal threats that may affect the project during its execution.
We are not only familiar with the technical aspects required to conduct and carry out a project efficiently (such as time, budget, and resource management), but also need to cultivate soft skills that will enable us to interact and maintain open communication channels with everyone involved in the process: from sponsors to stakeholders, leaders and the project team.
In addition, since we are constantly working with people and we depend on them to achieve milestones and organizational goals, we need to learn how to approach individuals at a personal level and motivate them to be confident about their work and capabilities. In other words, we have to become team coaches.
So, what does it entail being a project management coach?
Coaching is an increasingly popular business management skill among leaders who are trying to uplift their teams and improve processes and productivity within their companies. Being a project management coach means empowering team members so they can develop at a personal or professional level, positively affecting their work as well.
However, this skill must not be mistaken with mentoring, as they are quite different practices. Simply put, being a mentor has a more comprehensive approach, since it implies helping a person develop their potential to fulfill their present or future needs. Instead, coaching focuses on a specific area or skill a person needs to learn, improve, or develop to enhance their working performance.
Being a good project management coach means practicing active listening and asking the right questions, it is not about giving instructions or directing people. The purpose of the process is to enable a learning environment where every individual can feel sufficiently entitled and capable of finding a solution to their problems by designing an action plan. Therefore, all the coach needs to do is listen and provide their team with tools that will help them improve their behavior and get the knowledge they need to surpass their difficulties and complete the project successfully.
Reasons why coaching benefits Project Managers
Helps unveil and leverage new abilities
Since the process promotes self-knowledge and skill improvement, new abilities and ways of doing things may arise throughout the process and upgrade your team’s performance. Likewise, a higher efficiency and a better self-esteem of team members will contribute to the overall project and boost its productivity.
Empowers team members to take on more responsibilities
If a team member widens their experience and increases their competencies, they will automatically receive more responsibilities and be trusted to accomplish new goals and objectives. In this scenario, the project manager can delegate some of their duties to their team and focus on other strategic aspects of the project such as team building or risk management.
Contributes to the improvement of interpersonal skills
Forging a relationship with the project team and providing a positive and appealing environment where every talent feels valued and listened to, will contribute to a better understanding and communication flow among team members, which will also avoid potential conflicts.
Awards Project Manager’s with a smarter working team
If coached well, a team will acknowledge their flaws and learn how to overcome them. To accomplish that, it is important that both parties are open to the challenge and willing to learn and improve their skills. Encouraging team members to think on their own and take responsibility for their actions will result in a smarter and more qualified working team.
All in all, we can say developing coaching skills is highly beneficial for project managers as it means investing in a project’s efficiency and productivity. Plus, it helps professionals improve their talents and learn from their mistakes. Although working with different personalities can be challenging, there is always a way Project/Program Managers can encourage team members to be their best selves and contribute to the completion of a project successfully.
Jeannette L. Collazo, MSMIS, PMP brings more than two decades of stellar project management success and bilingual expertise to her work helping companies institute IT projects, data migration and data center transformation. She established Lurdez Consulting Group (the name Lurdez is taken from her middle name) in 2018 with a vision of offering exceptional project management services as a diversity-driven company that advances young women in the field of information technology.