PM Coaching Guidelines


Quick Summary
Screenshot Ideas for setting up and carrying out a coaching arrangement, where a more experienced project manager coaches a less experienced PM during a project.


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What this is

Guidelines for setting up and carrying out a coaching arrangement, where a more experienced project manager coaches a less experienced project manager during a project.


Why it's useful

Provides the PM with direct hands-on guidance and mentoring during a project. The Coach mentors the PM in understanding project management principles and how to apply them in this company and on this project. The coaching can provide practical nuts and bolts learning about key elements necessary for successful projects, including cross-functional involvement; overcoming technical and team obstacles; determining deliverables the team will create, proper management involvement etc. Coaching is especially useful in organizations where PMs are created "overnight," for instance, by designating a capable technical lead to take on a PM role with no or little prior management training.


How to use it

Your project organization can set up a coaching program to make sure project managers get hands-on practical support as they take on new challenges. The program can be very visible and formal, a requirement for all new PMs, or it can be informal and on an as-needed basis. In some organizations the coaches are full-time internal consultants, part of a Project Management Office or a Project Support Group. In others, more senior PMs allocate some of their time to coach, spending the rest managing projects themselves.

This document provides guidelines for how a coaching relationship can work—how often the PM and coach meet, what subjects get covered, what expert advice and oversight the coach can provide. It includes:

  • Possible levels of coaching depending upon PM skills and experience
  • Typical coaching involvement during a project
  • Suggestions on how to get the coaching started
  • Subjects to cover in a one-on-one coaching meeting
  • Coach's checklist items for helping keep a project on track
  • A Project Summary Sheet for use during PM coaching

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