Why every project manager should have a coach!
There are many such stories which illustrate the power of coaching. Through only a few one-on-one coaching sessions you can gain clarity over a topic or an issue which you have been struggling with for months. It’s interesting how it works really. It’s as if someone is holding up a large mirror in front of you where all your habits, fears, excuses, ambitions and talents are being reflected back to you so that you see yourself – and your situation – in a much clearer light. It’s personal and professional development on steroids!
As project managers we often lack guidance in how to develop our
leadership abilities and fast-track our careers.
So how can you start to tap into the power of coaching and benefit from it?
Working with a professional coach will stretch and challenge you to think deeper and take action towards the things you desire. Your coach will help you address immediate concerns; for instance relating to missed deadlines, a disengaged team, unhappy stakeholders, or a feeling of overwhelm and lack of achievement. A coach will also help identify your medium to long term aspirations, put together a plan of action and assist you in moving closer to your goals. This could relate to becoming a better project manager and leader, getting a promotion, or finding more joy and satisfaction in your work. I once worked with a gentleman who got the largest pay rise of his career after I coached him. What an awesome result for both of us!
2. Find a mentor
A mentoring relationship can be a good alternative to a professional coach, especially if you are looking to gain specific skills or advance within a particular organisation. You can approach a senior colleague within your firm or industry who you trust and admire. Choose someone who has made a few mistakes, so that you can learn from them. Before you start the mentoring relationship, think carefully about what you want to get out of it and prepare for each session. It’s important to recognise that your mentor’s time and resources are precious.
3. Adopt a coaching mindset
When you have a coaching mindset it means that you get in the habit of setting and achieving goals, and that you build up momentum on a daily basis. It means that you keep an open and inquisitive mind and that you are being proactive with regards to the things you want. This type of self-coaching is useful in combination with a good coaching or leadership book that can help guide you. Read as many inspirational books as you can, attend motivational talks and listen to uplifting podcasts. Find a friend to work with who can serve as an accountability buddy – someone who you trust and who would also like to adopt a can-do attitude and achieve the things they dream of.
3. Ask insightful questions
Asking quality questions, and taking the time to act upon the answers, can have a tremendous impact on your career. Set time aside on a regular basis to take a step back from it all. Go to a place you really enjoy, maybe a park or a café, and enquire about the following:
What would make my job as a project manager more fulfilling? What can I do to influence this?
What keeps me awake at night? Which risks and issues could jeopardise the success of my project? What can I do about it?
How can I instantly start to add more value to the project and my client? If any roadblocks are in my way, what can I proactively do to remove them?
Who can I start to train and delegate to, so that I free up time to focus on the activities that really matter?
What can I do to improve my relationship with my key clients and stakeholders?
How can I better motivate and utilise the strengths of my team members?
For more questions, please read this blog.
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