come across my desk enumerating the top reasons why managers fail.
The first rule of coaching might prove helpful in assisting project managers to create strong emotional connections with their teams. The first rule of coaching is to see your client/coachee as capable. Utilizing this rule often finds the manager using emotion and respect to navigate through their work day. Seeing the employee as capable means we don’t feel compelled to fix or constantly direct. It means we see where the individual adds value and we create a relationship where that value can be expressed.
If you are able to see your direct reports as capable, at some baseline level in both character and competency, you can coach them. Take this quick assessment and determine your readiness to take on a coaching challenge.
Think of one person who is currently reporting to you on project work or otherwise. Choose someone you are starting to trust. Be sure you apply all the questions to this one person.
1. List three skills this person demonstrates that you
If you completed the questions and now have a full body of responses, you are ready to take on the coaching challenge. Admittedly, not all team members have earned rave reviews and therefore do not enjoy an abundance of your trust. Don’t try coaching these employees right away. Hone your skills on the individual reviewed in the assessment first.
The Coaching Challenge:
Use the following script to engage in a conversation with one of your direct reports. It is a proven process I use from my toolkit to start building emotional connections with new functional team members. The process goes something like this:
“It seems like you know how to do your work here on our team.” (Support your statement by offering an example of the character and competency skills you listed in the assessment) “What is it you want to do for yourself while working on this project? How would you like to further develop yourself?”
Allow time and space for the team member to respond. Take notes.
Give your feedback and dig deeper with comments such as, “Excellent. What do you think it will take to accomplish this?”
Once again allow the team member to respond. Continue your note taking.
Finally ask, “How can I help?”
From this point on the one-on-one session could become a mini version of a project planning meeting. The tangible deliverable from this meeting would be a personal plan, co-created by you and your team member, that allows the employee to grow and learn while completing valuable project work. The intangible delivered from the encounter and subsequent sessions just might be 20% of your team’s time and 100% of their heartfelt support.
Needless to say, creating emotional connections is no simple task. However it always wins because it allows the entire employee to show up at work. Think of your own experiences. If you are like me, most of the leaders you remember with deep respect are those who took as much interest in helping you follow your heart as they did in wanting you to follow the project plans.