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3 minutes reading time (621 words)

Mentoring New PMs (Part 8 of 8)

“If I help other PMs, then they will expect me to continue, but how do I sustain a coaching effort?”

Part 8: Accelerate and sustain the learner’s transformation

Ultimately, developers want learners to grow. However, some learners show little real growth from coaching because they have no real desire to change, although they may use coaching to get advice or to express and release pent-up frustration. Other learners make incremental changes- for example, learning new approaches for dealing with conflict, being able to lead with greater clarity and conviction, and being able to make important and wise decisions in a timely way. While these are valuable outcomes of the coaching process, the greatest value of the coaching experience is in the learner's making transformational change.

Transformational change requires learners to examine their fundamental patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. They need to assess what they truly want, realize that the fundamental obstacles to achieving these desires are often rooted in their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and recognize that they have real choices that are within their control. In addition, learners who make transformational changes continue to grow and develop throughout their lives.

The role of a PM plays an important part of the success of projects, but regardless of how proficient the PM is, organizational structure, technology, information flow, and process all play their part. The coach can often help the learner recognize those things that are out of their control, and those things that can be and should be changed.

REMINDER The learner may appear committed to change, but it is important to clarify whether the intended change is incremental or transformational. Always make sure the learner has a plan for change, or the growth will be difficult to sustain.


The following summary can serve as a coaching template and may be used for short-term, crisis, or long-term coaching.

  • Determine Coaching Goals and Learner Motivation
  • Make sure the goals can be accomplished in the time available and are linked to one or more of the learner's key motivators.
  • Assess the Learner's Level and Range of Self-Mastery, then Use Level-Appropriate Coaching Approaches
  • Determine the learner's normal (average) level and range of self-mastery.
  • Select the development approach(es)that would be most effective with the learner, and experiment with these.

Use Coaching Techniques That Challenge Growth

Plan how you will use each of the four coaching techniques from this section, and use them at appropriate moments during the coaching process.

Head Center Challenge: "What if?"

What have you heard the learner say or imply that reflects a mental model or assumption you can challenge? How will you phrase this "What if?" challenge to the learner?

Heart Center Challenge: Recognizing and Leveraging Defense Mechanisms

When have you observed the learner use a particular defense mechanism? Would a direct or an indirect challenge be more effective? How would you phrase this defense mechanism challenge to the learner?

Body Center Challenge: "Why would you want to do that?"

What behavior has the learner stated that he or she plans to do? Do you think this is a wise course of action? How would you phrase this "Why would you want to do that?" challenge to the learner?

Transformative Paradoxical Challenge

What paradoxes have you observed in the learner? Select the most significant one. How would you phrase this paradoxical challenge to the learner? REMINDER Using an effective coaching challenge at an opportune moment stimulates the learner to grow at an accelerated pace. However, using too many techniques can interfere with excellent coaching, which is essentially an interaction between two human beings. Listening attentively, conveying respect for the learner, and being committed to the learner's growth is far more important than any technique.

Facilitating Integrated PM Projects (1 out of 11)
Mentoring New PMs (Part 7 of 8)


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Tuesday, 25 September 2018
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