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It’s January which means it is grey and cold outside. We are determined to make this year better than last. This is why I will be spending January focusing my attention on coaching and how it can help improve your performance and the performance of your team.
Today, I am talking to Josh Nankivel, a project management coach, about what he does when coaching people. Josh founded pmStudent.com back in 2006. Since then, he has been writing and training in project management. His primary focus is on helping new and aspiring managers.
Hello Josh. Hello Josh. I’m sure you coach project managers. But what does a coach do exactly?
Eric Parsloe’s definition of a mentor and coach in The Manager as Coach is one that I agree with.
Coaching is “a process that allows learning and development to happen and thus performance can improve.” A Coach must have a good understanding of the process and the various styles, skills, and techniques that are appropriate for the environment in which they are being given.
It’s all about teaching.
A coach who is successful enables learning and development through the teaching process, but more importantly, a coach who cares deeply about helping people reach their goals. I can teach people how to manage projects or land a job, but if they don’t go out and do it themselves, I’ve failed as a coach.
My passion is helping people understand why they can make things happen for them and encourage them to realize their potential. I don’t feel satisfied until they make their theory a reality.
Where should you start if you want to coach people in your team?
Start by listening, observing and building trust. You won’t be able coach your team members effectively unless you have earned their trust. They must feel that you are there to support them, not the other direction. They must know what your goal is for you to help them grow and succeed.
You will lose your clients if you rush in with great ideas or ‘best practices’. Coaching is only possible after you have gained trust and have figured out the truth.
This sounds like a difficult job. What do you like about coaching?
I love seeing people succeed. It could be something as simple as a lightbulb going off, or having them implement a strategy that I helped them with and landing them a job. It is worth all the hard work.
I enjoy challenging people. Some of the advice that I give to people who I coach or write on my blog can be difficult to swallow. I am often quite candid (but nice!) When pointing out ways people can improve, I tend to be quite candid (but nice!) These are the times I see the most light bulbs being turned on. I challenge basic assumptions and push people out of their comfort zones.
You write a lot and work with people online through your Work Breakdown Systems that Work (And how to Implement Them). Is it not necessary to coach people face-to-face?
Although it is not necessary to coach people face-to-face, it is important to take steps to ensure that communication is as effective as possible.
For example, in my online programs, I have students create their own plans for sample project ideas. Then in coaching sessions I record my screen and voice to critique their ideas and work. We discuss the item and go back and forth, making improvements as we go.
These lessons are available to all students. They are a powerful way to coach on specific topics that you don’t understand unless you do it yourself.
Whatever medium, coaching is best when you can observe and give feedback. A mentor can be a valuable resource at your workplace, as they can watch you manage your team or run a meeting.
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