Coaching to Improve Project Performance

30 Nov 2009

By: David Hart


The benefits of executive coaching are well known – with returns on investment of over 700% being reported in some surveys.  Many successful organisations now have coaching programmes for their executives and senior managers, but what about everyone else?

The ability of organisations to deliver effective projects, programmes and change relies on performance at the team level – but few organisations invest in coaching for their project or programme managers.

Our experience of working with organisations recently has demonstrated that using coaching approaches in working with project managers and teams can deliver a step-change in effectiveness.  Coaching can increase confidence, remove barriers to improving personal performance and enable managers and teams to reach their full potential. 

Investing in training to develop project management knowledge and skills doesn’t always result in the performance improvements hoped for, but coaching can help managers contextualise their knowledge and apply it more effectively.  Reading a paper recently from the European Coaching Institute, I came across a quote from a study that said “after training alone, the average increase in productivity was 22.4 percent; when training was augmented by coaching, the average increase in productivity was 88.0 percent”.  Whilst we haven’t sought to test these figures, the message they give certainly accords with our experience of the value of coaching in releasing the knowledge and abilities of managers.

In the current economic environment particularly, coaching offers the potential for organisations to develop the capability of their teams, leveraging the maximum benefit from the investment already made in staff, at minimum cost.