Project environments are highly stressful and can often feel like a pressure-cooker. Project managers often feel overwhelmed and unsupported. They work long hours but feel like they can never get on top of their workload. This is why coaching is so important for project managers. Project managers gain great benefit from coaching as they are able to face their challenges through deep, explorative conversations. Coaching helps them gain a different perspective on the situation, identify their options and put strategies in place to deal with them – all in a safe space away from the daily grind. Below are the 4 top coaching benefits for project managers:
Regaining control of runaway projects
When a project goes off track with missed deadlines, underperforming teams, conflicts or technical issues or obstacles project managers often feel unable to regain control of the project. Their confidence takes a knock and so does their motivation. Being so close to issues makes it difficult to actually see them clearly, take a step back and come up with the right solution.
Coaching gives them the space to mentally remove themselves from the issues so that they can gain a clearer perspective on the situation. The coaching conversations not only help them find ways to restore the project, but also helps to develop their confidence and re-motivates them so that they can drive project success.
Building better client relationships
Successful project managers have good communication skills and without good communication skills, they cannot develop strong client relationships. A weak client relationship where the client doesn’t have confidence in the project manager’s abilities will lead to a project fraught with problems as trust issues and conflicts arise.
Through coaching a project manager will develop their communication skills and learn how to build good client relationships. As a result the project manager becomes more confident and the client sees the project manager as a valuable resource able to drive the project to success.
More efficient time management skills
One of the top challenges for project managers is time management. People are always demanding their attention, they spend most of their days in meetings and they have an ever-growing task list. Everything seems important and needing urgent attention which leaves the project manager feeling stressed and incapable of meeting all their time demands.
The coaching technique incisive questioning helps project managers distinguish what is truly important and will add the most value, from activities that seem important but don’t add much value (The pareto principle). Overall the time management coaching benefits are that project managers learn how to work more efficiently and effectively.
Goal setting to drive project success
One of the reasons why coaching is so effective is that it helps project managers set definitive goals which are achievable, measurable and realistic. It is imperative to set clear and concise goals for projects so that the team and stakeholders have a common understanding and expectation of what the project aims to achieve. These goals set a solid foundation for the project and help to minimise the risk of failure.
Coaching helps project managers to set the right project goals. Most project managers are aware of techniques like SMART or GROW however putting them into practice is not always easy, particularly when the project requirements are vague. An experienced coach will guide the project manager through the goal setting activities, challenge their assumptions and ensure that the project manager has covered all potential gaps, risks and issues through incisive questioning.
The coaching benefits are plentiful and all add to the personal development of project managers making them better leaders, and enhancing their weaker skills. Ultimately what coaching does is increase the value of project managers so that not only do organisations see them as valuable assets, but it also improves the project manager’s ability to deliver projects successfully.