Applying the Management through Professional Coaching (MPC) Methodology - Project Leadership

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The Role of Managers Who Apply the MPC Methodology: Team Coaching

In the Management through Professional Coaching (MPC) approach, managers use their charisma and determination to lead their projects, while simultaneously monitoring the work done by every member of their team, as well as by the team as a whole.

By Liliane Held-Khawam, author of the book "Management through Professional Coaching: Learning to Cope With Complexity in a Globalized Economy"

This type of managerial supervision - called "coaching" - introduces into our management approaches a new lifestyle and a way of relating to others that definitively replaces possible relations of domination with the notion of "journeying together". This does not exclude – and indeed requires – the respect of hierarchical relations and of the underlying power. Moreover, managers can work with their staff members towards the achievement of common goals while keeping hold of the project's leadership.

Managers should thus try to adapt their coaching practice to the situations they are confronted to and the people they are in charge of. It is thus essential that they can rely on a reliable support structure, so that they do not lose sight of the goals set with their people. The structure offered by the project management approach represents a reference framework that allows controlling the process’ evolution in an objective way, so as not to get lost into excessively intense emotional and personal relations. Moreover, it aims to contribute to the information and training of the project team and of its members.

A two-level coaching process

Our definition of coaching may be summed up as "offering support to a team and its members so as to allow them to complete their professional project while fostering each individual's personal fulfillment and life balance".

I. Individual coaching process

It clarifies their roles (and learning goals) in relation to their team and colleagues. Moreover, it aims to specify ever more clearly the place and trajectory of individuals within the group’s project.

All this is stands in clear opposition to the notion of fabricating champions who shine on the short run, yet who get exhausted just as quickly. Also, expressions such as "Champion", "Record", "Media-coverage", "Pushing back the limits", etc. are pretty inadequate – and even dangerous – when applied to professional and organizational life. Indeed, competition within the company can be the source of a deterioration of the social climate, which represents one of the company’s core assets. Thus, we do not seek to maximize performance, but rather to reach the level of success at which both the staff members and the employer gain from their work relationship. This will allow enhancing employee retention and perpetuating the staff member-environment relation in a context of overall development of staff members and managers.

II. Team coaching process

Its aim is to build up and strengthen ever more internal cohesion around a mission statement that is shared by all. Afterwards, managers conduct or delegate the repartition of roles among the team, in order to materialize the common mission statement. The coaching of the project team aims to:

  • Build up a strong group identity in which individual identity is preserved
  • Position the group within the organization and the economic market
  • Ensure the cohesion of all group members around a common project and their leader
  • Foster solidarity and exchanges within the group
  • Promote the project manager’s vision, strategy and intentions
  • Establish the project manager’s leadership through the materialization of the project
  • Acknowledge the place of each team member within the project team

In the end, a highly-efficient interaction between the coaching of single individuals and the coaching of the group as a whole will be achieved. Managers will thus lead their people knowing who they are (both as individuals and as part of the group), without losing sight of the team’s end goals. Moreover, managers set up bearings with their team members. The bearings that can most easily be implemented are those that help individuals understand their role within the organization, thus allowing for the development of strong roots at the workplace.

This assignment to each team member of their role has to include both a quantitative (technical and measurable) and a qualitative dimension (personal and behavioral reality, qualifications…). For each individual, this implies a positioning in their workplace, within their group, as well as in their professional lives in general. They are known and recognized, and can thus express themselves with perfect freedom.

Pushing back one's limits in a harmonious way

Managers shall encourage their coachees to surpass themselves, yet this has to take place in a harmonious way and implies an ever deeper knowledge of one’s real capacities. The qualitative dimension of the person’s "being" will then have priority over the quantitative dimension of the amount of work done. Moreover, activism and agitation will be acknowledged as a perversion of one’s sense of action.

Managers will thus have to make a distinction between encouraging their staff members to express their competencies and personality in the workplace, and pushing them to achieve performance in an obsessive manner, so that they may become "champions". In short, managers use coaching to try and encourage their team members to develop their competencies and express them in an ever more complete way, thanks to the trust they have in their environment.

This liberation of available competencies will lead to the achievement of enhanced results – both in qualitative and quantitative terms – in an atmosphere of serenity and security. Only managers can achieve such results, as their proximity to their team provides them with an extraordinary advantage over remote decision-makers.

Bolstering interactions between managers and their staff members

One of the goals of a coaching process is to foster the exchange of views between managers and their staff members, so as to bolster the notion of proximity. This is made possible by the setting-up of individual or team coaching programs that include regular meetings ("milestones").

Bolstering the team members' self-esteem

Self-esteem allows strengthening the employees' personal basis, which in turn will favor a sense of security and of professional deep-rootedness. Managers who are active in business coaching turn this axis into one of their top priorities, as the staff members’ self-esteem has the power to liberate their charisma and leadership. This, in turn, will help establish serenity in discussions, as well as satisfaction and motivation at work.

Self-esteem, indeed, is critical to the development of human (i.e. non-technical or "behavioral") skills and necessary to a fulfilled professional life. We encourage managers who wish to bolster their staff members’ self-esteem to:

  • Get to know their people’s strengths and weaknesses and aspirations through dialogue...and avoid judging them!
  • Set clear, well-structured and realistic goals.
  • Provide the means that will make the goals realistic, including in terms of training and coaching programs.
  • Grant autonomy by delegating both power and means.
  • Congratulate for the successes obtained and the achievement of personal development goals. Analyze failure and frustrations. De-dramatize and relativize them.

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