developing a coaching approach in project management

Podcast 82 – Developing a Coaching Approach in Project Management

Elise Stevens
Podcast 82 - Developing a Coaching Approach in Project Management

Developing a coaching approach in project management

In this podcast Sharon De Mascia from Cognoscenti Business Psychologists focuses on wellbeing, change management and leadership in a project management setting. This article has been created to offer insight on developing a coaching approach in project management.

Sharon De Mascia is a UK-based Chartered Occupational Psychologist and a Chartered Scientist. She has over 25 years experience of delivering wellbeing, change management, entrepreneurial leadership and other organisational initiatives across both public and private sectors.

She has worked with Marks & Spencer, the Vita Group, the Strategic Health Authority, The Highways Agency and The Co operative Insurance Society. More recently she has worked with Santander, ATL, MMU, and the New Charter Housing Group.

Sharon commenced her career in clinical psychology and then specialised in business psychology, which gives her a unique insight into wellbeing in the workplace. In the past, Sharon worked for the Employment Service offering wellbeing services to internal and external clients. More recently, she has helped the ‘Centre for Mental Health’ to manage and deliver a training programme to help managers manage stress and wellbeing/mental health in the workplace. She has also worked with a range of organisations across all three sectors to help them create emotional resilience, manage stress and facilitate higher levels of wellbeing and engagement.

Sharon also has extensive project/change management experience and is Prince2 qualified as well as being a qualified coach. Sharon is a supervisor for the global MBA at Manchester Business School and has authored a number of articles. She had a book published in 2012 by Gower entitled, Project Psychology: Using Psychological Tools and Techniques to Create a Successful Project.

Listen to our podcast below on developing a coaching approach in project management.

Points raised in this podcast:

  • A coaching style is the best way to get the most out of your team members. People can use their own initiative. By encouraging people to problem solve and find their own solutions you increase the capability and motivation of team members. It also means you can delegate more using a coaching style.
  • Increasingly project management roles attract people who are focused on IT and not always focused on people and communication. Individuals can focus so heavily on the tasks that they forget to focus on the people.
  • Coaching techniques such as the grow model can lift performance and can turn around poor performance.
  • Coaching approach enables people to explore why something isn’t working without damaging the relationship with the individuals. Focus on a collaborative approach and discuss how thing can be done differently. Changing the mindset is essential when coaching and encouraging team members.
  • Incorporating coaching into project management is easier than it may seem. Coaching is focused on interpersonal skills.
  • Be non-directive and encourage project team members to find their own solutions
  • Practice being non-judgmental, try to understand the perspective of the team member and find out why they acted in specific ways. The greater the understanding we have the more likely they will develop the way we want them to.
  • Change the power relationship. Project leaders need to practice talking to their project managers as two people working in collaboration focused on the process and the end results.
  • Using coaching to enhance your business relationships is likely to bring out a successful outcome in project delivery.
  • Believe in the abilities of your team members, if you believe your team can do more your team members will achieve their goals
  • Concentrate on building good rapport with your team and be open and honest.
  • Active listening is not always used in project management, really listen and understand what is required for the project.
  • Use non-directive language – change the way you question your team and ask open-ended questions.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask staff members how they are feeling. Talking about feelings in the workplace can be a powerful way to create a shared understanding.
  • Reflect where your coaching did and didn’t work so well, reflect on the difference and focus on your coaching style approach.

For more information focusing on developing a coaching approach in project management, or Sharon De Mascia and her business Cognoscenti Business Psychologists visit

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