This article is part of the series on “Journey of a coach” covering my experiences as a performance coach. You may have the read an earlier article in the series on “Journey of a coach – the beginning”. The journey continues here… Yogi Berra, New York Yankees baseball player (arguably the best catcher of all time) said, “In theory, there is no difference between theory & practice. But in practice, there is!” So, this article is about the theory & practice of coaching for performance – not baseball players but people managing software projects. In my context, the “theory” was mostly “Coaching for Performance” by John Whitmore (by the way, there is another article of mine on Whitmore if you are interested). The “practice” was, of course, my actual experiences over the years. A caveat – I am not here to debunk theory and hail practice – as a cardiac surgeon might! I have a great deal of respect for Whitmore’s book on Coaching for Performance. The book provided a solid reference and a practical guide for my work as a coach all these years. However, I do have my own “interpretations” and “extensions” of the theory in actual practice which I wish to share. I will use the diagram below which shows the context for coaching. You can see the “circles of influence” around the coachee which would...Read More
Author: Shiv Sivakumar
Yet another framework?! I start with a prayer – that you will not be put off by the word “framework” (the f-word!!) and not read further! The f-word has been sort of over-hyped – especially in the software world to the point that “you ain’t nothing if you don’t have your own framework to brag about!” In our case, when we, at PM Power Consulting (“PM Power”), homed in on project management competency development as a focus area, we also felt the need for a framework – not for sounding cool (well, that too!) but also for somewhat more down-to-earth reasons such as a vehicle for communicating with our customers and organizing ourselves to meet their expectations. This framework with moving parts! Project management competency development (or any competency development for that matter) in an organization is a big canvas. Many aspects need to be addressed in a coordinated manner. For example, some key inputs typically come from the performance management system of the organization in terms of individual competency development needs. Before launching training & development initiatives for individuals, the organization needs to ensure that the performance management system is effective in providing quality inputs for planning. Another example is the linkage of the talent acquisition processes with overall competency development. If these processes and the linkage are weak, then no matter how effective the other initiatives are...Read More
Several years ago, when I was getting started on becoming a coach, a good friend recommended the book “Coaching for Performance” by Sir.John Whitmore (JW). Although I did not pause to ask the question then, I do now: “Can one learn swimming by reading a book?” So, what is the point of reading about coaching when you have to learn by jumping in and doing it? To take it even further, why should you, as an aspiring coach perhaps, be reading this article right now?! Are you not better off spending the time in more fruitful activities in preparing to be a coach? Rather than answering these questions right away, let me park them for the time being. But I promise to come back to them at the end of the article. Let us now go back to the book by .JW. Up front, I must clarify that this is not a book review per se. Nor is it an attempt to promote the book. Coaching for Performance has already sold over 500,000 copies worldwide and has been translated into 22 languages. It scarcely needs my endorsement!! So, my objective is to bring it to your attention if you not already aware and share with you how I got great value from it – to get started and on an ongoing basis – even now, years later. As I...Read More
The motivation for this series of articles is to share my personal journey as a “performance” coach for software project managers since 2006. These days, one sees a number of professionals in their late career starting out as coaches – former CEOs, senior HR professionals, operations executives and so on. I hope that this series would be of use to them in understanding and preparing for what lies ahead. Firstly, let me share reasons as to why I myself chose coaching as a professional pursuit. 1. After working in software delivery for over 25 years, I was getting a sense of déjà vu in leadership roles – “more of the same” syndrome regardless of the companies I worked for. I simply grew tired of it and wanted to try something different, yet connected to my experience. 2. I was also reaching a stage in life & career where I wanted to do something more “meaningful”. I figured that being of assistance to others is a very meaningful activity – in this case, assisting young professionals in meeting the demands of their managerial roles. 3. Thirdly, I observed that in many organizations, developing the potential of employees was a lofty goal – but only on paper with little to show for it as a formal practice. But there seemed to be a crying need of managers to get contextual help...Read More
In Part 1 of this article, we covered the “terrain changes” in making the transition from a Project Manager (PM) role to a Delivery Manager (DM) role. Terrain changes include the aspects to “learn” and “un-learn”. In Part 1, we covered the following: – Terrain change #1: Portfolio diversity – Terrain change #2: Dynamic aspects of “delivery assurance” – Terrain change #3: Enabling rather than controlling In this part, we will cover the remaining three terrain changes. Terrain change #4: Greater focus on people & their development Learn: As a DM, a key responsibility for you would be people development – especially development of PMs. You need to learn to use project situations as a way to achieve that goal. For example, reviews, besides being project necessities, provide an excellent opportunity for people to learn. If you adopt a natural coaching style of management, people in your teams would develop a greater sense of responsibility and ownership over time. Also, be conscious of the fact that you are now managing managers and seek guidance on its nuances from your senior management and coaches. Unlearn: There may be a big change in mindset here for you. As a PM, you are probably very conscious of seeing people mostly as part of a work schedule – a result of task orientation that is natural for the role. As a DM, you...Read More
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- CHOW #120 – Workacholic Manager
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- CHOW #117- Project Health and Project Status