Coaching represents a critical attribute of project leadership. A project leader who coaches: helps team members advance their skills, builds a stronger project team and provides career guidance. According to Emotional Intelligence (EI) guru Daniel Goleman, coaching in leadership is best summed up by the phrase “try this.” (from Goleman, Daniel, Boyatis, R., & McKee, A., Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead With Emotional Intelligence, Harvard Business School Press, pgs. 59-64, 2002.)
Project leaders use coaching to help team members identify their strengths and limitations so that they, in turn, can exploit their positive aspects and overcome their limitations. Also, team members’ individual career aspirations and personal goals are incorporated into the project mix, so that team and individual goals are seen as being connected to—and congruent with—project milestones and deliverables.
Keep in mind coaching in project leadership is not being a “hand holder.” It is about giving plenty of feedback on performance, delegating effectively and giving out challenging assignments. Project leaders who use coaching most effectively have the ability to send these messages to their teams:
Goleman’s research also found that coaching was the least common inspirational responsibility found in the workplace, mostly because the majority of project managers don’t see themselves as having the time. On the other hand, although it takes time and patience, it’s a short-term investment that yields above-average team performance in the long term.
To summarize, coaching leaders are genuinely interested in helping the team succeed. They do this by focusing on the development of others, along with aligning team and individual goals, while using empathy and EI.
In my next post we will discuss the third area of responsbility – managing change.
Download the complete article – Leadership Success: Behaviors, Competencies and Responsibilities That Produce Positive Results. – Responsibilities – written by James Haner documenting the responsibilities of a successful leader.