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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 methods, 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 desired 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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Sunday, 16 December 2018
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