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Coaching Others in the Community

“If I coach new members, then I will develop friendships, but I need to know the best way to quickly create a focus on change and goal accomplishment.”

Short-term coaching is particularly useful in certain PM situations: The learner is a temporary assignment to your PM team. The learner is someone that has been outsourced, and will be providing a temporary service. The coaching goal is sufficiently precise and narrow in scope that it can be achieved in a short time period; or the learner has a limited window of opportunity in which to develop in the agreed-upon coaching area. Short-term coaching will not be useful if the coaching goal is beyond the scope of what can be achieved in a short time frame, or if the learner is either too low in self-mastery or has insufficient skills and/or on-the-job experience to achieve the coaching goal within the allotted period.

Although there are a variety of excellent short-term coaching meth¬ods, the Strategy below is straightforward, logical, and highly flexible. Focus first on the change the learner most desires; i.e., and have the learner define a clear goal for the coaching, one that is precise, measurable, and stated in positive terms rather than negative language. For example, "“I want to be less intimidated while participating in the community.” is imprecise, difficult to measure, and negatively phrased and should be rephrased as, for example, "To feel consistently confident when participating in the community.” During this discussion and all others, make sure to document every comment.

Next, proceed to the desire and demand for the change; dissatisfaction with status quo, followed by the learner’s vision for change and their plan and process for achieving the change. For each of these elements, have the learner assign a numerical score from O to 5 (0 = low; S = high), then have him or her explain exactly why this score was given. Let the learner assign the score, they need to own it. It is their assessment, not the coaches.

When the learner explains the score for their desire or demand for change, ask probing questions to elicit the learner's depth of desire, the external demands for this change, and the dissatisfaction the learner or others feel about the situation as it is.

For the vision of change, determine whether the learner can articulate the vision fully and imagine him- or herself completely engaged in this new behavior.

For their plan and process for achieving the change, verify that the learner has a concrete and viable plan and process already in place in order to achieve the vision and accomplish the change. Your milestone roadmap is only the beginning of your plan. However, as project managers, the tendency is to go into much detail. The coach needs to help the learner find a healthy compromise.

Third, proceed to the resistance to change; have the learner give it a numerical score from O to 5 and explain the reasons behind the score. Many learners are surprised to find that they themselves have resistance to the change they say they want, or that some people around them may not support them in their desire to grow.

Fourth, complete the calculation with the learner. Notice that multiplying the desire score, the vision score, and the plan and process score means that if any of these three factors is 0, the entire left side of the equation is 0. When this is the case, no change will occur. However, if the left side of the equation is greater than the resistance to change score, change is likely; the greater the score on the left side relative to the resistance score, the greater the speed and magnitude of the change. Of course, in short-term coaching, this is critical. Work with the learner, and see if it’s possible to address factors if they are preventing change. In longer-term engagements, the coach can help address these hurdles. In short-term relationships there isn’t time, either they are ready for change or they are not.

Longer term engagements may follow these short-term relationships, but it’s important to deliver value quickly.

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Center of Excellence

“If I participate in the Center of Excellence, then I will receive the benefits of a community of practice, but then I will most likely have to change and improve some aspects of my life.”

Yes, the pmNERDS Center of Excellence is a (CoP) or Community of Practice. Looking back, we see that some connections are inevitable. Given enough time and networking, some people are bound to meet and find that they share a passion. For more than a decade, these three; Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermott, and William M. Snyder, had been working with communities of practice in their own ways. Etienne had been involved in the original research at the Institute for Research on Learning as well as some early work at Xerox and National Semiconductor; He had also written a seminal book on communities of practice. Richard had been building “Learning communities” for a dozen years at companies such as Ben & Jerry’s, Shell Oil Company, and Hewlett-Packard, as well as writing articles and developing tools to help change agents build such communities. Bill had found the concept in Etienne’s dissertation and used it as a key element in his own dissertation on the connection between learning and performance in organizations. He also used it to perform his work on knowledge and communities at Colgate-Palmolive, McKinsey & Company, and the federal government.

A decade later, when Val Workman left EDS Services to found the Center of Excellence with RYMA Technologies and Services, it was only natural to go back to old contacts and leverage the proven structures that these gentlemen had started, applying these principles to the development of community-based knowledge development to the domain of Integrated PM. Here at the Center of Excellence, we share the early vision that communities of practice will help shape society with pervasive knowledge-oriented structures. They will provide new points of stability and connection in an increasingly mobile, global, and changing world.

Here at the Center, we have attempted to:

DESIGN FOR EVOLUTION- The community of practice is organic, design is more an act of shepherding the evolution rather than creating it from scratch. The community’s technology is a catalyst for the community’s natural evolution.

ENABLE OPEN DIALOGUE BETWEEN INSIDE AND OUTSIDE PERSPECTIVES- Our community is built on the collective experience of each community member. Only members can appreciate the issues at the heart of Integrated PM, the knowledge that is important to share, the challenges that this field faces, and the latent potential in emerging ideas and techniques. It also takes an outside perspective to help our members see the possibilities. Our community brings information from outside the community into the dialogue about what the community could achieve.

INVITE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF PARTICIPATION- We anticipate many different levels of participation. We invite all to participate in the CORE group of leadership, but recognize that some may prefer to maintain an active role in the community, contribute to dialog and help build intellectual capital, but not participate in a leadership role. Still others may prefer to stay outside of even an active role, and enjoy only a peripheral status. Of course, it is the desire of the CORE group, to build a fire in the center of the community that will draw people to its heat.

DEVELOP BOTH PUBLIC AND PRIVATE COMMUNITY SPACES- Like a local neighborhood, dynamic communities are rich with connections that happen both in the public places of the community; meetings, webinars; and private space, groups, and the one-on-one networking of community members. We have public events where members meet face-to-face or electronically to exchange tips, solve problems, or explore new ideas, tools, and techniques. However, our community is much more than these public events. The heart of the community is the web of relationships among community members, and much of the day-to-day occurs in one-on-one exchanges.

MAINTAIN A FOCUS ON PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT OF PROJECTS- our community thrives because it delivers value to its members. Some of that value comes from focusing on current problems and needs of community members. Developing a systematic body of knowledge that can be easily accessed is also important to our members.

COMBINE FAMILIARITY AND EXCITEMENT- As a community, one of our goals is to offer familiar comforts of a hometown, but also to have enough interesting and varied events to keep new ideas and new people cycling into our community. Like a neighborhood bar or café, our community desires to become a “place” where people have the freedom to ask for candid advice, share opinions, and try their half-baked ideas without repercussion. It’s a place for people to drop by to hear about the latest tool, exchange technical gossip, or just chat about technical issues without fear of committing to action plans.

CREATE A RHYTHM FOR THE COMMUNITY- Our everyday lives have a rhythm: Waking up and preparing for work, commuting, checking e-mail, attending meetings, commuting home, engaging with kid’s activities, enjoying quiet time. Although there are different rhythms for different people, most of our lives do have a rhythm, which contributes to its sense of familiarity. At the heart of our community is a web of enduring relationships among members. Regular blog posts, comments, teleconferences, podcasts, forums, courses, and group meetings become the community’s rhythm. Your participation becomes this rhythm of life pulse of the community. If you find the community to be dead, then participate more and increase the strength of the community’s pulse.

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Welcome to pmNERDS’ Center of Excellence

“If I participate in the Community, then I will increase my knowledge of Integrated PM, improve my project’s performance, and have many opportunities to increase my income, but I might not fit into the culture.”

The Center of Excellence is an open Community of Practice, started is Austin TX, by a group of PM consultants in 2009.

Today, it is a group of self-governing people from around the world, organized and constrained within an on-line Community, e-Learning, InnovationSpark and GrandView structure supporting the expansion of Integrated PM.

We hold each other accountable for constantly improving the quality of our shared practice within Integrated PM. As community members, we hold to these four values listed below:

COMMUNICATION - We have an obligation to communicate. Here, we take time to talk with one another … and to listen. We believe that information is meant to flow, and that information moves people.

RESPECT - We treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves. We do not tolerate abusive or disrespectful treatment.

INTEGRITY - We work with customers, members, and prospects openly, honestly, and sincerely. When we say we will do something, we do it; when we say we cannot or will not do something, then we won’t do it.

EXCELLENCE - We are satisfied with nothing less than the very best in everything we do. We will continue to raise the bar for everyone. The great fun here, will be for all of us to discover just how good we can really be.

As an open community, we believe the Center of Excellence, and all its Members, perform a public service that becomes more and more relevant each day, as all of us reach out and help those we encounter, and together become more capable PMs.

To become part of the Center- Join the Community today!

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