Coaching - "One-on-One Long Term Work Related Support for an Individual"
What - A senior individual in the organization that has a broad background is assigned to "coach" junior PMs not unlike a personal trainer, academic adviser or life coach. This is not career mentoring but is core job skills building guidance that is a part time role.
Why - We all can learn from courses, on-the-job "trail and error" and watching others but these learning methods can take a long time and sometimes we learn things that do not apply or are just plain wrong. A coach can resolve these issues and significantly shorten learning time while increasing the depth of learning. The coach also learns with each encounter, advancing the overall capability.
How - Assign senior and experienced individuals to junior PMs, selecting only those individuals on both sides that are truly interested in being involved. It is important to select "coaches" that have clearly effective methods that the organization wants to propagate.
Experts - "On Call or Proactive Short Term Support to Projects on Specific Issues"
What - Experts are experienced individuals within an organization that have acknowledged expertise in one or more specific functions that can advise projects not unlike a "Help Desk" or "customer service" function. Experts perform the function in parallel with their normal job.
Why - Solid learning can happen with courses, workshops and seminars but then the project team is faced with real world challenges not directly addressed in training. The expert is there to explain how to resolve these challenges and provide other insights.
How- Key project management functions critical to a given organization's project success are identified. One or more senior experts are identified for each function and project teams are made aware of this resource. Two application methods can be used. A passive approach where project teams seek out advice in an "On-Call" format or a more proactive approach where experts are assigned to strategic or risky projects to guide key areas of a project, such as startup, planning or control areas.
Coaching and Experts