By Tony Llewellyn

Performance Coaching for Complex Projects recognises a world of complex undertakings for which the common transactional mindsets and methodologies will not produce the required results. The author advocates, instead, the novel concept that the project manager or team leader should coach the team as part of their role. Managing complexity requires greater use of influence and less reliance on coercion. Learning how to recognise the clues that reveal personal preferences, character traits and motivations will allow you to communicate in a way that recognises how different team members see the world. Team coaching helps the project team work together to think through their issues and then collectively implement the solution. Tony Llewellyn has structured his book in two parts. Part I looks at the challenges of complexity and makes the case for a shift from a transactional directive mindset to a transformational coaching philosophy. Part II introduces a model of project team coaching including the processes and methodologies that have been shown to be effective in improving team performance. Complex projects are invariably messy, not least because of the human factors associated with them. Performance Coaching for Complex Projects is essential reading for anyone responsible for managing in uncertain, challenging and changing environments.

Available through Amazon here.

Review by Deborah Hein, Former ICCPM CEO

Performance Coaching for Complex Projects – Influencing behaviour and enabling change, is a must have in any project practitioners resource library, regardless of whether they are managing or someday aspire to manage complex projects.  It is equally applicable to complicated projects (in my humble opinion we don’t have simple projects anymore) where you will find outcomes will be optimised as a result.

In Chapter 1 Tony mounts a very logical and compelling case for change in the way we approach the project management challenges in complex projects, he does this very well throughout the whole chapter.  He takes the time to provide the reader with an articulate explanation regarding what complexity is and how it appears in projects.  Given he is accurately reflecting the world that I have always intuitively been aware of; it is refreshing to see that he has not tried to include anything that is so far removed from reality it is hard to believe about the world and our projects becoming more complex.  He has not tried to shock the reader into believing that complexity is something scary or difficult to understand, he very simply reinforces the view that complexity requires a different way of thinking and behaving and that it can be understood and must be managed.  I particularly agree with the assertion that a paradigm shift from a transactional to a transformational mindset is absolutely imperative and human ingenuity is part of the necessary response, all wrapped up in the concept of a ‘coaching mindset’ to get you there.

The explanatory chapter that digs deep into the philosophy of Project Coaching is very well written and easily understood.  Tony makes every effort to try to use terminology that is tangible (not ethereal) and is able to be translated into real world experience.  His short case study stories are well placed, relevant and once again focussed to connecting the reader to the application of theory.  Practitioners will be pleased that Tony has not just written an academic piece, he has provided a well-researched handbook for the practitioner to try, with good detail around the tools and methods that with practice, perseverance and support will help professional project managers move toward successfully managing complex projects.  This is a great book to help move practitioners toward becoming great delivery leaders.

Available through Amazon here.