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Coaching: Buy 4 weeks, get one free

Get ahead with my coaching plan


If you have been thinking about how to boost your project management career in 2015, then this might help. I’m offering new coaching sign ups a week free when you buy 4 weeks.

I offer an online, e-coaching service. I’m your online coach and you’ll get all your project-related questions answered on a daily basis. Let me tell you more…

How it works

E-coaching is an easy way for you to get access to support and career resources whenever you need it. You don’t have to be tied to a particular time for a phone call and you don’t have to wait until the next session to get some advice. It’s also affordable and manageable, so if you thought you’d never be able to engage the services of a coach, think again!

The initial engagement is only for a month. You email me your questions and I’ll send you back my answers. There’s no nonsense, just honest, practical solutions. You put those ideas into practice and by the end of the month you’ll be managing your projects better. And you’ll get a week free if you order before the end of January 2015.

The basic rules are one question/problem per day, Monday to Thursday. We both get to take Friday, Saturday and Sunday off to recharge and make some action plans for the coming week. If you’ve got a few things to ask, store them up and email each day.

The emails then form your record of what we’ve discussed.

Who should do it?

If you are working in project management or would like to work in projects and need some help sorting out some of the daily problems you face, putting together a career plan for your next job, improving project communications, getting to grips with virtual teams or practically any other project-related problem, then you should do it!

We can cover pretty much anything you want but you’ll need to be self-disciplined to manage the emails and action the responses during the month. If you stick at it, you’ll get a lot of advice and resources and you’ll be supercharging your projects and career!

Ready to sign up?

One month’s e-coaching costs £299 or $499. Plus if you order before the end of the month you’ll automatically get your extra week free. You can start whenever you like. It’s totally bespoke to you so if you are interested, get in touch with the contact form and I’ll send you the terms. If you’re happy to go ahead you make the payment via PayPal and we’ll get started!

I hope to be working with you soon!


How to provide constructive criticism

How to give constructive criticism

This is a guest post by Sarah Clare.

As a manager, there is sure to come a time when you have to address poor performance or substandard work. We all make mistakes, and we can all find ways to improve our work. When you are a project manager, it is your responsibility to make sure that you help your team to learn from those mistakes and to find ways to improve the quality of their work.

However, delivering constructive criticism can be difficult. You may not know how to distinguish it from plain criticism, or you may not know how to deliver it in a way that your team members do not receive negatively. Learning how to give criticism to inspire positive change is a skill that must be learned.

Here are a few tips for how you can better provide constructive criticism to your team:

Deliver it in person

E-mail might be the best way to communicate with busy professionals, but it’s not always the best way to communicate sensitive information. There is no tone in e-mail, and something that you intend to say with empathy and understanding may be read flat or even with malicious intent. It is important to have these conversations in person so that your tone of voice and body language can help to soften the message and to inspire a sense of team work to accomplish a mutual goal.

Focus on discrete, actionable changes

Criticism can very easily turn into a personal attack or a rambling rant that encompasses everything that you’re unhappy about with the employee. It is important to be very deliberate by thinking about what you intend to say before you approach the employee and to have a goal in mind for improvement. You can then focus on small, actionable changes that the employee can make to solve the problem, rather than providing vague feedback asking for improvement with no ideas about how to make it happen.

Focus on one or two actions at a time so that you do not overwhelm the employee. Once those are made, if additional changes are still needed, you can revisit the conversation to evaluate progress and to suggest continued improvement.

Be liberal with praise

Criticism is always hard to hear, no matter how well you deliver it. You can make it a little easier to bear by being liberal with your praise as well. Don’t wait until you have something negative to say to offer praise. Make it a habit to praise your team members when you see them doing something great or when they deliver good work. When you have to provide constructive criticism, you can build on that praise by highlighting recent accomplishments or aspects of the project that have been handled particularly well.

Encourage problem solving

You can engage the employee in figuring out how to solve the problem together in order to promote learning and real improvement. If you tell the employee what you would like to see change, it may not always be effective. You may only train the employee to do what you are asking in order to avoid repercussions – but the employee may not understand why the change is necessary or valuable and, therefore, won’t change the underlying behavior that caused the problem in the first place.

Image of computer

Don’t use email to give criticism

Instead, encourage problem solving together. Instead of providing a solution, talk with the employee about the problem and ask for feedback about what can be done to improve the situation. The process will encourage learning that will facilitate long-term change.

Provide a model

If you lecture an employee about being tardy but then don’t roll into the office until 10am every day, you aren’t going to be very effective in inspiring change. It is important to provide a positive role model for the kind of behavior that you want to see.

In addition to providing your own role model, you can support employees in making positive changes by providing mentorship opportunities, support, or ongoing training.

It’s never easy to hear criticism, and it can be even harder to try to give it in a constructive way. Developing thoughtful strategies for delivering criticism can help ensure that your message is heard so that you and your team can work together to create positive change. These strategies can help you accomplish those goals.

How do you handle giving constructive criticism to your team? Share your tips for success in the comments!

About the Author: Sarah Clare is a writer and oversees the site projectmanagementsoftware.com, where she has recently been researching time tracking software. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys cooking and scrapbooking.


Win a copy of Leading and Coaching Teams to Success

Leading and Coaching Teams To SuccessTime for another giveaway.

This time, it’s a copy of Leading and Coaching Teams to Success: The Secret Life of Teams by Phil Hayes. It’s about what happens to teams behind closed doors, and you can read my review of it here. As I say in the review, the book talks about how teams gossip, go off the rails and implode. There’s something cathartic about reading about teams in a worse state than that of your own.

I interviewed Phil earlier this year and he convinced me that team coaching helps groups move from being great performers to excellent performers, so it’s not all about remedial action.

Want your chance to get the book? Click here to contact me with the phrase “My team has a secret life” and I’ll put your name in the hat.

The giveaway closes on Friday 17 August 2012. This copy of the book is an advance reader’s copy so it has a slightly different cover to the copies you’ll find in the shops.

Normal terms and conditions apply: read them here if you are new to my giveaways.

If you don’t want to take your chances with the giveaway, and want your own copy now, you can buy it on Amazon.co.uk or on Amazon.com.


Earlier this year I reviewed The Project Management Coaching Workbook by Susanne Madsen (Management Concepts, 2011). You can read that review here and an interview with Susanne about the power of questions here.

I’m delighted to have a copy to give away. This is a unique and practical book aimed at project managers who want to perfect their craft and those in the role of coach to project managers. There are plenty of checklists and exercises to assess yourself and improve your skills. Alternatively, if you work with others in a coaching role, you can use this workbook to form the basis of your coaching interventions.

The book covers 6 self-coaching steps:

  1. Create your vision
  2. Benchmark current skills
  3. Get feedback
  4. Create an action plan
  5. Review guiding practices
  6. Review progress

Sound good? Click here to contact me with the phrase “I want to unleash my potential” and I’ll put your name in the hat.

The giveaway closes on Sunday 24 June 2012.

Normal terms and conditions apply: read them here if you are new to my giveaways.

If you don’t want to take your chances with the giveaway, and want your own copy now, you can buy it on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.


Win a Project Management Fast Track Training Course!

Win a project management training course. There's one simple question to answer and you could be one of four lucky winners! If you don't have much (or any) formal project management training and are just getting started then this is the perfect giveaway for you.

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UK PM: Challenges and Celebrations

Find out how project management in the UK has changed and why the 2012 Olympics was a turning point for the profession. What do British project managers have to be proud of and how do we address the challenges of fragmented professional representation?

7 Tips for Attending Conferences

These 7 tips will help you prepare for attending your next conference to get the best out of your investment. The more preparation you put into any event before you go, the more you will benefit from attending, whether that’s a small social gathering at work or a huge industry congress.