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15 Mar, 2011

Project Coaching: A brief introduction by Spencer Wasley

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coach Plus Articles|Coaching Articles|Personal Success|Success Stories

Project Coaching: A brief introduction by Spencer Wasley

Spencer Wasley is a Project Management Consultant and Coach, having successfully qualified through The Coaching Academy last year. He is known as “The Project Coach” and regularly publishes articles and texts on coaching within the Project Management arena.

Here Spencer gives us a brief introduction into Project Coaching:-

If you are a good project manager, which I am sure you are, you probably already put your people first. You are probably good at motivating your team towards a set of goals, achieving them through your own, and your team’s, hard work.

If, however, you take the time to get underneath the skin of your project and understand your team at a deeper level, then you can get them to perform at a much higher level. Taking a coaching approach on your project can really help in ensuring that you make the most of yourself, the individuals within the team, and the team as a whole.

Project Coaching can bring about a real step change in performance and accelerate your project by getting everyone to work together quicker and more effectively, ensuring you have a ‘People Powered Project’. When I say ‘People Powered’, this includes all the people involved in delivering your project: you, your team, stakeholders, clients, users, and so on.

I define Project Coaching as ‘The art of using Coaching tools and techniques to create, and sustain, high performing individuals and teams involved with Projects and Project Management’.

Let me clarify that definition a little further:

  • ‘Coaching’: In this context can be described as ‘helping people to move forward in their project roles’
  • ‘Art’: Each of us is different, with different motivators, values and beliefs that need to be taken into account and balanced to ensure we are most effective. Achieving this balance is an art.
  • ‘Tools and techniques’: The use of coaching models like GROW (Goal, Reality, Options and Way forward) to assist in helping people help themselves and take ownership.
  • ‘Create and Sustain’: Creating change by effectively holding up a mirror to people about their performance and behaviours on a project, ensuring that any changes are sustainable throughout the project and into other roles they perform.
  • ‘High Performing’: Ensuring that people perform at their optimum level, including yourself, ensuring that you can manage yourself as well as others.
  • ‘Individuals and Teams’: Each of us has specific needs and need to be treated as individuals in order to be supportive and get the best out of ourselves. Teams need to have a common purpose and provide a support network on projects. Understanding the dynamics of a team and leveraging their strengths can have tremendous impact on both the project and individuals alike.
  • ‘Projects and Project Management’: Any project, programme, portfolio or project office support role relating to the work performed in the support of the Project Management Life Cycle.

You don’t need to be a qualified coach to start Project Coaching (although it can help!) just add a coaching approach and focus to your project and your team.

A coaching approach involves taking a good look at yourself in the first instance, understanding your values and beliefs, and objectively reviewing your performance and impact as it relates to other people. Start with ‘the man in the mirror’, as Michael Jackson once sang!

Taking a coaching approach with your team members and stakeholders means not jumping to any conclusions, ensuring they take ownership of their problems and helping them by facilitating the identification of solutions with them.

Project Coaching takes its people-oriented approach from personal, team and executive coaching, as well as elements from NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), Emotional Intelligence and Management and Leadership. Combining these elements and using them interactively with Project Management disciplines will assist you in managing the people-oriented aspects of your project.

Over the coming weeks and months, I will be writing a number of articles relating to Project Coaching. By implementing the tools and techniques covered in each article, you will soon be able to reap the benefits of Project Coaching on your own projects.

1 Response to "Project Coaching: A brief introduction by Spencer Wasley"

1 | Malcolm Lugton

March 16th, 2011 at 8:23 pm


Spencer, nice approach – and powerful if people will have the courage to use it, and I am coming from 40 years engineering and projects experience in the oil and gas sector… so I also understand CYA very well…

Actually this fits with a “thought” that crossed my mind earlier today. Having some “challenges” getting people to understand the concept of coaching it crossed my mind that as a coach “I am helping people to become project managers on their most important “project” ever – their own lives”!!!

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