Coaching Project Teams
Enable Project Teams to reach their peak performance
Project Teams working harmoniously and productively are key to driving business success. Project Teams (as with teams in general) can often benefit from the facilitation skills of an independent expert. This applies in two distinct situations:
- Start up - Project Teams can often benefit from support with the initial team building and set up, and the development of high-level goals communication protocols.
- Trouble Shooting - On occasion Project Teams can hit roadblocks or have serious problems e.g. with personality clashes or disagreements over priorities.
We offer a three-stage Project Team coaching process:
- Individual interviews with the team members
- An Off Site, Away Day to develop the team’s working relationships and performance
- Follow up, real time, team coaching sessions to monitor progress
One to One Interviews
We start the Project Team coaching initiative with telephone based ‘one to one’ interviews that give an opportunity for the Project Team members to share (in a confidential setting) what they feel their main challenges are, and thereby to help shape the final format for the Away Day. It is an opportunity to discuss (i) the clarity of the Project Team’s goals and their relationship with stakeholders, (ii) the effectiveness of the Project Team and (iii) the quality of the relationships within the team, in a candid manner.
We ask questions in three key areas:
How aligned are the Team and the Stakeholders with the Project Vision?
The more aligned the Project Team are with the overall aims of the project, the more coherent their actions and the more focused the decision-making becomes. Where teams have competing views of the overall project goals the more scope there is for disharmony.
On occasion Project Stakeholders can have disparate views on the overall Vision for the project and/or are reluctant to take the firm action that is needed to overcome obstacles. They may also lack confidence in the work of the Project Team. When this happens priorities are blurred and momentum is stalled.
How productive is the Project Team?
Effective Project Teams have well developed Work Breakdown Structures, clear Milestone Plans and make consistent progress against their weekly and monthly goals. However Project Teams who are in trouble often find that their Project Meetings allow little time for good quality discussion and find that the same issues keep coming up again and again, and that solutions are slow to be put in place.
How are the relationships currently working?
Relationships within the Project Team can become sub optimal in many ways. The pressures of work, unclear responsibilities, lack of personal ‘chemistry’ or just not knowing each other well enough to be open, can all block effective conversations and inhibit action. When relationships are not of an appropriate quality (for whatever reason) discussions in the team are either banal or become mired in ‘defend and attack’ behaviour.
Project Team Coaching, Off Site, Away Day
The Project Team Coaching, Off Site, Away Day is an opportunity for the Project Team to work through some of the issues that they face as a team in a relaxed and positive atmosphere. The output from the session will be an agreed ‘action plan’ of how the team will implement the key lessons from the Away Day.
The Away Day considers four key success factors: Trust, Strategy, Execution and Next Steps.
‘Trust’ is the confidence that team members’ have that each other’s intentions are good and that there is no need to be defensive. This ‘trust’ is a key part of reducing stress and achieving high quality, productive conversations. Teams that lack trust:
- Conceal their mistakes from one another
- Decline to ask for help
- Don’t provide constructive feedback
We address these issues by using the SDI (Strength Deployment Inventory) to discuss personal values, Project Team values and potential sources of conflict.
Successful projects have a clear sense of the overall Vision that the team and the key stakeholders all ‘buy into’. The relationships between the Project Team and the Stakeholders are also effectively managed. These ‘key success factor’ are explored by the Project Team using the Vision Template technique (to assess the alignment and clarity of the project goals) and completing Medlow’s Stakeholder Analysis Grid.
Good Project Teams have a very clear picture of what tasks need to be done, by when and to what quality levels, in order to achieve the project goals. We invite the Project Team to identify the current state of the project by reviewing key documentation and conducting a Project SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).
Good Project Teams have clear action plans and hold specific individuals accountable for achieving those plans. We ask the team to develop some concrete actions to drive the project forward based on completing a Force Field Analysis exercise.
Following on from the Project Coaching Away Day the consultant will observe three Project Team Meetings and give the team ‘real time’ feedback on how well they are progressing against the action they have agreed to implement, plus providing on-going coaching support to the team. In this way the consultant acts as an ‘accountability partner’ to the Project Team as they make changes in their behaviour over the weeks and months ahead.
The coaching will include:
- Monitoring progress against action plans
- Analysing group behaviours
- Discussion of Problem Solving strategies
- Facilitating peer group coaching
- Agreeing future commitments
Further information is available by contacting Boulden at:
Tel: 0844 394 8877