Coaching Skills for PMO Professionals

PMO PrinciplesCoaching has often been identified as a key skill for PMO professionals. It’s long been mentioned in job advertisements as “coaching and mentoring skills” and more recently with the PMO supporting Agile delivery approaches, the term ‘coaching’ is heard more frequently.

What does that actually mean? Coaching is surrounded in misconceptions and in this session, we’re debunking some myths whilst we focus on developing our ability to be a valued partner to the business and to the people our PMO supports.

We wanted to understand what types of coaching approaches and techniques we could potentially use in our everyday work – rather than focusing on whether we could become actually coaches.

The session was led by Bekka Prideaux who, not only is an executive & leadership coach, she’s experienced in project management and more importantly, gets PMO (take a look at her profile below)

Bekka took us through the fundamentals starting with;

  • What is coaching & why that is relevant to a PMO professional.
  • The spectrum of coaching – what’s included, what each is.
  • Understanding where on the spectrum you need to be depending on where you are in your career, how mature your organisations PMO is and the skills/awareness/experience of the person you are working with when it comes to PMO.
  • Understanding and access to a variety of coaching skills and tools which can be used by the PMO.

The Presentation

It was a great  interactive session so here in the video we’re focused on capturing Bekka’s presentation parts.

Take a look below [26 minutes] then take a look at some of the insights from the interactive bits.

[Download the presentation used in the video]


The PMO Principles

We loved how Bekka related the benefits of coaching skills to the PMO Principles  – if you’re not familiar with the PMO Principles you can download the highlights here – or take a look at the Mini-Masterclass session on PMO Principles.


The Interactive Bits

In the interactive session we focused on the Structure of the Problem technique.

We loved this one – it prompted a lot of involvement and discussion – and in our group we focused on a real-world problem of poor estimating and planning happening in one organisation.

Here’s the overview of the technique:


Using the technique we identified where we are now first (on the left hand side) and then started to think about what’s in the way (the bricks in the middle). We figured the bricks could be identified independently first if this was a group exercise – then through discussion and consensus to create the brick wall as a group.

What we liked about this exercise was the fact you can find a way through the problem not by eliminating all the bricks but just by picking off a few to find a path through.

We also liked that the bricks are owned by ‘someone’. There are only four potential owners of the bricks:

  1. Me
  2. Named individual in the team
  3. Other named individual
  4. No one! (environmental)


As you can imagine – an interactive session at a PMO Flashmob doesn’t give you enough time to really get into it but we got the idea. The conversation certainly carried on afterwards – it’s a technique that works well when working with individuals and teams – and that’s something the PMO can certainly use in their work.


There were a stack of other techniques to look at and that got us thinking – I wonder if we could do a full day session on something like this. Using coaching approaches and different techniques, models and framework enable us to combine structure and behavioural skills in order to work with teams and stakeholders.

I think that’s a very powerful skill that any PMO professional would be happy to develop. Watch this space as we develop this idea!


PMO Coaching Skills

There’s lots of coaching approaches the PMO could utilise in their work



Bekka Prideaux CoachMore About Bekka Prideaux

  • Executive and Leadership Coach
  • Organisational Effectiveness Expert
  • Project Manager who has worked with some fantastic PMO’s
  • Developed the Project Management Capability at Cadbury Schweppes. Introduced robust Project Management to the Science and Technology Function increasing project delivery & innovation rates.
  • Developed Leaders and Managers Coaching Capability and ran the Global Coaching Programme for Cadbury Schweppes
  • You can connect to Bekka on Linkedin here



About Lindsay Scott

Lindsay is the founder of PMO Flashmob and a Director at PMO Learning - the sister company to PMO Flashmob and the best training company for PMO people in the world! She's also the creator of London's first dedicated PMO Conference; Director of Arras People and PMO enthusiast. Loves dogs and gin.

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