Tailor Your Coaching Style to Project Team Members

From the Voices on Project Management Blog
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In coaching project team members, project managers may forget that each person is different. Thus, the approach to engage them will be different. It is imperative to remember you are not creating a clone of yourself and that your team members may have a different working style than you.

You must have a game plan when coaching individual team members. It does not need to be written down; you just need to pay attention. Focus on the way your team members prefer to work, listen and learn. Some people like to draw when they talk or explain. Some people write everything down. Others just stare blankly but give good responses when requested to.

When you have an idea of how your team members operate, try these tips to coach them further:

  1. Identify the different ways your team members process information and engage them in that manner, on an individual basis.
  2. When you're presenting to the team, use figures and pictorial depictions on what you want to explain.
  3. Use humor to keep people interested. Dispersed doses of humor get people engaged and paying attention. It's also a great way to get new people on the team to warm up to you as the one who's going to be responsible for the deliverables. "Hey, the project manager jokes! Maybe she's nice to work with!"
  4. Encourage the team to give feedback on how they are coping with the workload and schedule. Most of the time, team members do not voluntarily share the challenges they are facing for fear of looking weak or incapable. The project manager needs to assure the team that it is important to make known the challenges since the success of the project depends on the ability of them completing the tasks.
It is important to understand your team members and then apply different coaching styles to deliver information. Include some laughter and good humor, and you'll probably find yourself with a happier and more cooperative team.

How well do you know your team members? How do you engage their interest in learning new things?
 
Posted by Hajar Hamid on: May 31, 2012 11:32 AM | Permalink

Comments

William
Good post.

Points 2 & 3 will likely depend on point 1.

"It is imperative to remember you are not creating a clone of yourself..."

A good rule to keep in mind!

S. Rosalind Baker
Re: #4 make sure they know that they can approach you in private if they need to. Be accessible!

Good article.

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