Coaching is the teaching style of supporting a person or team to achieve specific goals of the individuals or teams. Coaching is a partnership that helps the individual in creating a supportive environment in which the individual has the confidence to explore new ideas, challenge their thought processes and set personal goals. A coach should assist, challenge and encourage rather than direct, advise or teach.
Coaching is helpful if an individual recognizes that they need to develop personally, either to more effectively reach personal or work goals or to better deal with current work issues. Importantly, coaching can help individuals develop their skills in leadership, self-management, increase resilience and self-awareness. Coaching can help to see the bigger picture more clearly and consider issues that they may have ignored or failed to identify as important, and learn how to work more effectively with others. However, coaching is not directive based and does not offer or provide any direct solutions.
A facilitator helps a group of people (i.e. a project team, operations team, support team) to achieve the result they want to achieve together. Facilitation in project management is all about ensuring that people who have something to contribute (stakeholders) are given the opportunity to make that contribution. The delicate job is getting to a conclusion, when several competing options are on the table, without alienating any of the participants.
As a facilitator, our role is to encourage all ideas and resolve conflicts between contributors to achieve the session’s goal. Suggestions need to be encouraged, while criticism should remain objective. Every idea, even the ones that seem ridiculous, should get a hearing – something that is totally crazy might trigger an ingenious idea from someone else around the table.
Facilitating styles range from directive to indirectly suggestive. You need a facilitator:
- When the project needs the full participation of stakeholders:
This can be especially important when a diverse group of stakeholders impacted by the project. The essence of facilitation is to bring out all different beliefs and diverse opinions and to help participants decide what they want to do and how they want to do it.
- When working to address complex problems:
The most accurate understanding of priorities in an organization often comes from considering the perspectives of as many members as possible through facilitated sessions.
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