In business today people are assailed by some version of the phrase ‘change is permanent’. Modern business pressures are intense; globalisation, the pace of new technology, regulation, to name but three. Most businesses have significant change programmes. Often this change in being implemented in the domains of one’s peers who themselves have tough targets to achieve in their line roles. Leadership of this scale of change can be very challenging.
Sponsors, project partners and change leaders may have exceptional performance and knowledge in their field of specialism and they often benefit from the change that they are managing, but where do they go to for support and advice on how to sponsor this process effectively?
One option is coaching/mentoring. The two terms are often used interchangeably, in my view incorrectly but both are extremely valuable tools.
Coaching involves skilled questioning to arrive at the solutions to their problems. In this context it is not essential for the coach to have subject knowledge.
Mentoring however, involves the sharing of the mentor’s knowledge and experience. Clearly subject knowledge is essential in this relationship.
Whilst discussing the challenges around sponsorship of projects, some of the members of the Intelligent Projects Forum found that coaching and mentoring sessions can be a valuable haven for leaders under the intense pressure of both the day to day and the change programmes, some offer it informally, others as a formal induction to being a project sponsor. Coaching is a time for leaders to focus on themselves and their issues in an environment designed to help them solve their problems and think clearly through what needs to be done. A good coach will use these sessions to firmly challenge the coachee for the benefit of both the coachee and the business.
In their assurance work Pelicam have seen where coaching and mentoring support has had a profound effect on the capability of leaders to deliver change and offer this service as part of their support for clients. Following the Realising Project Intelligence courses a follow up mentoring session is extremely valuable offering the delegate a chance to talk through their challenges and how they are implementing good practice when running their projects.
Pelicam’s Phil Lee is qualified as a coach to level 7 of the Institute of Leadership and Management. He has previously held Board level roles with leading Building Societies and the Co-operative Bank, prior to that he worked in retail and with Ernst & Young. His roles have included Finance, Operations, IT and Change.