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Home About Us For Project Managers PDU's: Programs & Training Coaching Tips

For those interested in using coaching in your leadership and project management, here are some guidelines:

1. Practice Active Listening: Even though you may not be fully interested in everything going on with Person X's life, being fully present in the conversation will help to understand why the issue came to where it is today. It is a great ice breaker to let Person X talk as much or as little as they wish to be comfortable.

2. Paraphrase the issue. When coaching, it is important that one of you brings up the reason for the meeting. It is best if the topic can be introduced by Person X. For instance, asking open ended questions may get him to think in that direction, "So, Joe, what is on your mind today?" or "Let's talk about the project, Joe. What concerns do you have at this point?"

3. Once the issue is presented, ask Person X to come up with their own solutions. Some people may be able to do this on the spot, and others may want time to think it over. The important thing is to get some ideas rolling in the meeting, even if you have to suggest one or two ideas to get Person X to generate three or four more ideas. Focus on the solution. Do not focus on the person. (Don't: You did a horrible job on this project... Do: This project needs some tweaking to meet the new specifications. Let's work together to come up with some solutions.)

4. Work together to come up with consequences if these solutions are not implemented within a given (specified) time frame.

5. Ask Person X to summarize the conversation: working with both the issues and the solutions presented. In this, you are also verifying whether or not the conversation was attended to and heard by both you and Person X. Depending on the person with whom you are working, you may also want to follow up with a written summary of the conversation and solutions. Some people will do well in writing the summary themselves and forwarding that to you. Others will struggle with completing the summary. With these people, it may be easier to quickly complete the summary yourself and forward that to them. Many people take notes throughout the meeting and immediately thereafter, transfer those notes into an email attachment and forward them ONLY to Person X.

6. Schedule a follow-up meeting to follow-up with all that was discussed and agreed.