Coaching/Mentoring

What do Michael Phelps, Venus Williams, Tiger Woods, and Lance Armstrong have in common (aside from being the among the very top athletes in their sports)?  Good coaches.  Could any of these athletes perform at the same level in their sport without a coach?  They obviously don't think so.

There was a time when engineers and managers completed a 30-40 year career at the same company.  As their careers matured, the coaching and mentoring of less senior project managers and chief systems engineers was a normal part of the job.  But, this paradigm has largely disappeared.  Today’s project managers and chief systems engineers rarely can draw upon a large internal company base of seasoned mentors for advice and counseling on those tough problems, much less have a mentor assigned to them.

Attwater Consulting can fill that gap.  We offer coaching and mentoring services for Project Managers, Project Management Teams, Chief or Lead Systems Engineers, and Systems Engineering Teams.  Our coaches have forty years of successful experience in these roles, throughout the complete project life cycle, in arenas including defense, energy, space, and commercial industries.  This breadth of this experience provides Attwater Coaches insights for your Project Managers and Chief Systems Engineers that, if available, internal company coaches or mentors from the old paradigm might not have.   

Here are a few examples of how an Attwater Consulting Coach or Mentor can help your project manager, chief systems engineer, or management or systems engineering team.

  • Planning Guidance – At many companies and in many industries, all those project management plans, PMP's, SEMP's, CMP's, RMP's, etc., that are required by company policies or the contract are often viewed as millstones around a manager's neck; they get written with pain, put on a shelf, and never used.  What a waste of resources!  Not to mention that the project is subsequently run open loop.  Attwater coaches can guide your Project Manager or Chief Systems Engineer in developing plans that will be actually be useful.  (Attwater coaches and mentors will never write any plans for the project; for any plan to be useful, they need to be authored by the folks who are responsible for the work they cover.)  Attwater coaches will guide your managers and chief systems engineers in writing plans that will organize the project, establish project processes in compliance with company policies and beyond, establish project communication infrastructures, provide metrics for the health of the project, and provide measures against which the project and project team can be evaluated.  These plans will actually be used by the project team in conduct of their work.  Good planning sets up the project manager and/or chief systems engineer for project and career success - the authors of the plan set up the measures by which they and the project will be evaluated - this is a secret in planning that is often overlooked by project managers and chief systems engineers and is a great secret to accelerating careers.  Another secret in planning that Attwater coaches will share openly is that any plan longer than 50 pages will never be used by the project.  It is not unusual for Attwater coached teams to carry around and use daily the plans developed by the managers on the project.  That is useful and effective planning.
  • Working with Existing Company’s Policies and Procedures – Sometimes a new project manager or chief systems engineer is overwhelmed by existing company policies and procedures.  They perceive these policies as restrictive, and wonder why they are imposed on them.  Attwater Coaches know that existing company policies and procedures are there because they have worked.  Attwater Coaches will help your Project Managers and Chief Systems Engineers understand how and why existing company policies and procedures have worked so they can assure that they fully comply, and use them to their best advantage. 
  • Augmenting Existing Company’s Policies and Procedures to Complete the Project's Policies and Procedures – Every project is unique.  Existing company policies and procedures, while always necessary to success in your industry, are rarely sufficient to truly address all of the challenges faced by every single project.  Attwater Coaches will help your project managers and chief systems engineers complement existing company policies and procedures for their unique project with proven methods and techniques to assure success.  These additional potential policies and procedures may be borrowed from a wide range of industries and businesses, adapted to be effective within your existing business or development culture, and work hand in hand with existing company policies.  It is rare for an Attwater coached project manager or chief system engineer to not introduce process improvements at their companies based on this exposure. 
  • Removing the Roadblocks so Project Personnel can Succeed – In many companies, project managers and chief systems engineers are promoted out of the engineering ranks where they excel.  They excelled in those ranks because they truly enjoyed the work.  What makes a great engineer does not always make a great project manager or chief systems engineer.  Some project managers and chief systems engineers don't excel as they have in the engineering ranks because they really would prefer to be doing the engineering, rather than the management.  Project or technical leadership is a different job, and a large part of that job boils down to recognizing and removing the roadblocks that interfere with the project personnel on the project doing their jobs.  We have all heard of the micro-managing project manager, and how that reduces team effectiveness.  Attwater coaches and mentors can help project managers and chief systems engineers better understand what their jobs and responsibilities actually are, learn to trust and count on their project personnel, how to enjoy removing the roadblocks so project personnel can succeed, and achieve project success.  Most Attwater coached or mentored project managers or chief systems engineers fast track their careers.
  • Decision Coaching – Decisions can make or break a project.  Attwater coaches specialize in applied decision analysis, the decision analysis methods adopted in the last decade by many of the worlds largest and most successful companies.  Attwater coaches can as impartial mentors guide project decision makers through decision processes that will assure good project decisions that despite the outcome won't be second guessed by company management or the customer (nota bene:  a good decision will not necessarily produce a good outcome, nor will a good outcome be an indication of a good decision - a good decision has clarity of action that will be subject to a minimum of ex post facto second guessing).  Decision coaching by Attwater coaches also dramatically shortens the time it takes to make good comfortable decisions; analysis paralysis often leads on many projects to the best decision alternatives being lost by decision making delays.

Attwater Consulting Coaches and Mentors boost the performance, and thus the confidence and effectiveness, of your Project Managers, Project Management Teams, Chief or Lead Systems Engineers, and Systems Engineering Teams.   Contact Us for more information on how an Attwater Coach can help fine tune your Projects into assured successes.  We selectively accept assignments all over the world; language used is English.