“If we increase the number of PMs we have, then we can do a better job on more projects, but then we will need to train and mentor our new staff.”
Part 1: Assess and enhance your coaching competence
In our profession, we are sometimes called upon to mentor others in some practice or another. Maybe even mentoring new community members. I’ve put together a check-list intended to start discussions and future blogs. Please contribute with your experiences. By all means, disagree with me, and fix it where I’ve got it wrong. The goal is to have something that will help us all, not for me to prove how right I am.
It has been said in many ways, all the way back to the I Ching. If you want to help others, start by qualifying yourself. By no means must you know everything about PM, or even more than those you desire to help. However, you must know how to help.
List the concepts that must be developed, find ways to provide access to the new information, define some boundaries and focus on what is being mentored. If you don’t know the material, know how to get it. Understand what resources are available, and use them.
It says a lot about a person when they ask with a smile, “How may I help you?” Most likely they can’t. And why not? Because they haven’t developed any coaching competence.
As a coach, you need to know “How you can help.” Focusing on the development of these six coaching areas should provide some direction.
- Being an excellent developer of people. Developers need to have a clear coaching role, honor their coaching agreements, have personal and professional credibility, possess a deep desire to develop others, have excellent coaching skills, and ultimately hold learners accountable for their own development.
- Knowing how to accelerate the learner's growth. Developers need to focus learners on specific coaching goals that they are highly motivated to achieve, create a coaching environment that encourages learner receptivity, and accurately assess learner capability, including cognitive ability, emotional maturity, and work-related skills.
- Being able to create a productive relationship with the learner. Developers need to create trusting and respectful relationships with learners that focus on individual development needs, are flexible and honest, and support the growth of both the learner and developer.
- Knowing how to implement an effective coaching process. Developers need to use a systematic coaching methodology tailored to the learner's needs that includes an effective development process, a concrete development plan, and an ongoing feedback mechanism.
- Being able to align the coaching efforts with organizational requirements. Developers need to make certain that the coaching goals and methodologies are aligned with the organization's needs, and that the organization's culture and political dynamics are factored into coaching conversations and recommendations.
- Being able to achieve lasting results. Developers need to make sure that the coaching achieves effective results that can be sustained over the long run.
REMINDER: It is essential that you continuously enhance your coaching skills through increased knowledge, constant practice, and a commitment to your own self-development.