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Coaching Tips for Project Managers

When people move from an operational role to a project management one, they find it difficult to delegate tasks. As Neil Shorney describes in this article in, this is particularly significant for project managers, where their primary task is now to delegate, and trust others to do a good job. Shorney suggests that the relinquishing of control brought about by delegation can be overcome by coaching.

Types of Delegation

  1. Abdication: This is an ineffective and ultimately dangerous approach and could end in the task being performed below the necessary standard, or not being complete at all.
  2. To Direct: This describes an approach where no control is relinquished at all by the manager. While micromanagement of this nature does yield better results than abdication, it is an inefficient use of time on the part of the manager and the subordinate and does not lend itself to the development and empowerment of the team member.
  3. The Middle Path: This approach involves giving a task to a subordinate and empowering him to perform the task in a manner that represents himself and the manager in a good way. It does not prescribe micromanagement, nor abdication. This method is called coaching.

What is Coaching?

Coaching describes an approach to delegation where a team member capable of performing a task to the required standard is chosen to perform said task, and this member is provided with the necessary support. This will require some extra effort and time on the part of the manager, but this investment will help the team member grow and become a vital contributor.

How to Coach

  1. Determine Current Performance: Find out the capabilities of the member or ‘coachee’ to perform the task in question through discussion and observation.
  2. Communication: Precisely what is required of the task, and its importance must be conveyed to the ‘coachee’ – however, steer clear of being patronizing, and don’t micromanage.
  3. Guiding: This involves ‘proper coaching’ where questioning techniques help the ‘coachees’ arrive at solutions themselves till task completion.
  4. Evaluation: Once the task is complete, the manager should:
    1. Evaluate the task
    2. Evaluate the individual performances of herself/himself and the ‘coachee’
    3. Act on any areas of improvement

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Sapna Hiremath

Sapna S Hiremath is currently working as a Content Specialist Lead for CAI Info India. With experiences of having worked for newspapers after pursuing a Master's in Mass Communication and Journalism, she has worked in the thriving fields of Search Engine Marketing, online shopping and healthcare. Being an avid traveler, she likes being in the serene landscapes of nature, but also likes being around friends.

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