Updated: Jan 5
Eric is the Director of a large construction project for a bridge. He manages a project manager whose role is to manage his team and the relationships with the client. Let’s call him John.
Even though Eric spent quite a lot of time meeting with John about the project, he didn’t deliver. As a result, Eric used his days, nights, and weekends to catch up on the work John didn’t accomplish and became more and more frustrated.
When they both met, John ensured, “yes, I will do it, yes I will be on time,” but that did not happen.
Eric brought his case in front of a peer group in a group coaching setting. His peers were the “coaches” while he was the “client.”
While exposing his case to the group, he realized that the client constantly added new requests that were all priorities and that John was incapable of setting boundaries with the client. No wonder he felt overwhelmed!
After exposing his case, Eric’s request for support to his peer coaches was the following: how can I communicate to John so that he understands that he needs to deliver his work at a faster pace by delegating and managing his team?
Peer coaches helped Eric to better grasp John’s style. John needs to understand the process of every action item, and before making a decision he needs to take quite a lot of time to analyze the question at stake. His propensity for perfection prevents him from delegating to his team, as none of them will be able to deliver work as well as he.
Thanks to his peer coaches, Eric also realized that he needs to closely monitor John’s activity by providing guidance and encouraging him to feel more accountable for his tasks. Eric decided to have a weekly meeting to support him in setting priorities and establishing a realistic action plan: what to say “yes” to and what to say “no” to the client.
Finally, Eric understood that it was his role to manage the client to support John’s plan and avoid as many last-minute unrealistic requests as possible.
At the end of the session, 40 minutes later, Eric had an action plan and felt much less stressed since he had a solution and would finally be able to enjoy the evenings and weekends with his family.
How could such a change happen in a short session with peer coaches? That’s the power of Group Coaching!
First of all, the peer coaches gave honest and straightforward feedback to Eric. They told him “you should spend more time managing John and help him to manage the client instead of taking all the work on your shoulders. This way, you invest the time at first, but it’s a good investment in John’s learning curve”. As Eric said, John wants to succeed and has the capabilities to do so. Once the work will be consolidated, Eric will have more free time for his personal life.
Second, Eric could benefit from his peers’ different points of view to find multiple solutions well beyond his expectations. For example, he realized that he needed to reformulate what John was saying to be sure they were aligned with the work to be delivered and the priorities. He also acknowledged that he needed to better filter the client’s requests to avoid too much stress on John and his team.
Finally, he learned that when something was going wrong in the project he needed to share the responsibility with John instead of taking everything on himself.
At the end of the sessions, the peer coaches were grateful to Eric for bringing up this case. They said that similar situations were happening to them as well and that now they had many ideas to make sure they did not fall into the same trap.