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Michelle LaBrosse

Quality Insider

Coaching: The Secret Sauce of Success

Learning new ways to look at situations will improve performance

Published: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - 07:58

Michelle LaBrosse is the founder of Cheetah Learning

There’s a reason that top-performing executives all over the world have coaches. It’s because good coaching dramatically improves performance.

A study by Metrix Global showed coaching produced a 529-percent return on investment (ROI). Most of us would be thrilled with even a fraction of that ROI.

As project managers, we’re good at getting things done, but often when it comes to raising our own profile or increasing our own ability to succeed, we put ourselves last.  As the global image and prominence of project management grows around the world, it’s time to join the ranks of executives who use coaching as their secret sauce of success.

Restructuring has “flattened” many organizations, sometimes even eliminating the rank of middle management. That’s meant the remaining managers suddenly have new responsibilities that may be outside their comfort zones. Being spread thin necessitates delegating and knowing how to spread the work around to get the job done. It’s time to learn fast so you can successfully do more with less. Coaching can help you achieve that goal.

The International Coach Federation surveyed 210 people who were working with coaches and asked them about the value and use of coaching. Nearly 99 percent of the respondents rated the value of their coaching investment as either “valuable” or “very valuable.” Here are some more interesting facts from that study:

• 67.6 percent developed a higher level of self-awareness through coaching.
• 62.4 percent were smarter at goal setting because of coaching.
• 57.1 percent had lower stress levels with coaching.
• 52.4 percent were more self-confident.
• 35.7 percent attributed project completion to working with a coach.
• 33.3 percent had a better relationship with their staff because of coaching.

I developed our coaching program based on my experience with project managers and working with leading national coaches who embrace coaching best practices. Here’s what we focus on as your key areas of growth:

Accountability.  A coach talks to you twice a month for a year, holding you accountable to your personal and professional growth goals and helping you work through the interpersonal dynamics that can often derail project managers.

Reliability. You complete both quarterly project management scorecards and a quarterly 360° assessment of your work. Both of these create more reliable performance.

Knowledge.  Using our accelerated online learning approach, you move from awareness to knowledge, skill, and ultimately, mastery. You leave others in the dust because you’re moving while they’re snoozing.

Confidence.  What is one of the biggest impacts from coaching?  Boosting confidence, which gives you an increased capability to take on the big projects knowing you have the skills to succeed.

Coaching teaches you new ways to look at situations and offers different perspectives on the challenges you face as a project manager. It’s all about learning through mentoring—something that’s valuable at every level in an organization.

In a Chartered Management Institute survey, 93 percent of managers said coaching should be available to all employees. The goal, of course, is that everyone who is coached remembers what they learn. At Cheetah, we combine the lessons from coaching with the principles of accelerated learning and project management so that our clients can quickly start performing at their best.

I call this peak performance because it is when you are operating on all cylinders. How will you know when you get there? You’ll see outstanding business impact. That means different things for different people. For some, it could mean being chosen for a high-visibility project that is a career changer. For others, it may mean substantially increasing your salary because you’ve proven your value in a very tangible way.  The goals are yours to set. The only limits are the ones that you impose upon yourself.

Project managers are no longer the quiet ones working away with little to say. With the right coaching, you can take your career and your image wherever you want it to go. It’s the time to dream big and then have the plan to make the dream happen. As project managers, we’re good at planning for others. Now it’s time to plan for ourselves and invest in our own development. Are you ready?

Discuss

About The Author

Michelle LaBrosse’s picture

Michelle LaBrosse

Michelle LaBrosse is an entrepreneurial powerhouse with a penchant for making success easy, fun, and fast. She is the founder of Cheetah Learning and a prolific blogger whose mission is to bring project management to the masses. She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management program and holds engineering degrees from Syracuse University and the University of Dayton. Cheetah Learning is a virtual company with 100 employees, contractors, and licensees worldwide. More than 50,000 people have used Cheetah Learning’s project management and accelerated learning techniques.