Coaching as a powerful tool, the cat-metaphor on agility, and the crux in project monitoring at #PMIEMEA19 Day 2

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The Project Management Institute's annual events attract some of the most renowned and esteemed experts in the industry. In this blog, Global Conference, EMEA Congress and experienced event presenters past, present and future from the entire PMI event family share their knowledge on a wide range of issues important to project managers.

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What a second day at the PMI EMEA Congress 2019. Not only did the sun shine again in Dublin. PMI also celebrated it’s 50th birthday with us. Half a century of caring about the people and the profession; I am happy to have witnessed just over a tenth of that time. PMI also brought on a stage the most incredible Irish a-cappella-band for the evening celebrations. They would certainly be in the final of any X-Factor show.

Here my short and punchy summary of the key take-aways of the three sessions today with Maria Fafard, Leonor Viturro, and Anderson Gordon – three very inspiring speakers.


It was the first time Maria Fafard spoke at a PMI Congress, and it will not be the last. As an Executive Coach, Maria’s goal was to emphasize the value of coaching techniques in project management.

“What’s wrong with you?”

Does this question ring a bell? Avoid this question if you want to effectively coach. Coaching is essentially about helping the one being coached to change their beliefs, and with it, their behaviour. Because you touch the belief system of a person, the strongest tools in coaching are open powerful questions: How is your behaviour serving you to achieve your goals? Ok, you received feedback from peers, how are you going to use it? Why is this important to you? A common misconception: As a coach “you are not there to be liked, you are there to give a service. Kindly and firmly state what you observe”, says Maria.

Maria also highlighted to overcome the urge to provide a solution that worked for you in a similar situation. Descriptive support will not provide a change of the belief system in the person being coached. People are not vested in the success of a solution that was brought to them from external. 


In the afternoon Leonor Viturro demystified organisational agility and described the three basic layers of agility needed in today’s organisations to respond rapidly to change: (1) Project Agility, (2) Personal Agility, and (3) Agile Decision Making, of which Personal Agility is the pre-requisite, and also the most difficult to obtain in organisation. Leonor applied a metaphor of a cat to distil the key characteristics of personal agility:

  • A cats’ flexible spine: Constantly review your set of beliefs, as a belief system always restricts choice and options
  • A cats’ curiosity: Understand and learn from your context to be able to apply the right leadership approach in a given situation
  • A cats’ vestibular system for orientation: Define your career growth through developing a clear vision beyond factual goals and know what motivates you.

In order to increase organisational agility, starting to push processes to become agile (project agility) will most certainly fail, if the other levels are not addressed (personal agility and agile decision making).


The last session of the afternoon was highly engaging and sparked a lot of discussion. Anderson Gordon introduced a systematic approach to project monitoring: He extended the common Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle to include the importance of studying the data being collected and then using the insights to constantly review and adapt the monitoring system.

Anderson mastered the task to facilitate discussion and lead the audience to come up with the key take-aways themselves. He showed examples of performance indicators that lacked completeness and were rightfully challenged by the audience. Performance Indicators should combine two set of criteria: CREAM and QQT. Meaning Clear, Precise, Economic, Adequate, and Monitorable indicators, which can be collected in the right Quality, Quantity, and Time.

And don’t forget to evaluate the indicators you have selected before adopting them.


Let’s see what day 3 holds ready for us.

 

Don't forget to follow my fellow Community Correspondents for updates during PMI EMEA 2019: Emily, Stephanie, and Karthik.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn were we will provide live coverage from the sessions.

Posted by Moritz Sprenger on: May 14, 2019 07:06 PM | Permalink

Comments (3)

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Great post, Moritz. Very nice summary of your Day Two at #PMIEMEA19.
I look forward to your Day Three summary too.
Meanwhile, keep smiling, keep shining, and keep inspiring!
:-)

Thanks @Moritz, great write-up. It made me realize how much Belief Systems are a common theme in several presentations throughout the Congress. It is so important for us to identify the Belief Systems in ourselves and in our team members, so that we can dismantle them and further innovation.
Looking forward to your next write-up.

Moritz, thanks for the insight! I like the cat analogy. I am definitely going to use this one in future presentations.

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