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Submitted by mkonitzny on


Hi guys,

I am sorry but first I have to thank you with all my heart for the best podcast ever! I have listened to almost 100 episodes in a little over four months because I am addicted to it. However, the sad thing about it is that with all the knowledge I at one point began to see that there is hardly a good MANAGER out there ...

Here is my question:

I am a project manager and I am working on a big project with a couple of internal colleagues and some externals / contractors / freelancer. Leaving aside the economics for a minute, is it ok to coach them (if they ask for it and if it would help the tasks being done quicker)?

Thanks for your feedback and keep on rocking with the podcast.


twinsen's picture
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I'm in the same boat.  It really depends on their tenure.  Obviously, if they're only there for 3, 6, 9 months, by the time you roll out the trinity and it gets to the point where you start doing the coaching, it will be a moot point because said person is looking for the next job. 

The other thing I had to be careful about is HR as coaching for whatever reason(s) in my organization had a connotation you were a full time employee and therefore could get you into all sorts of nasty things when people are terminated.  For example, my company made it clear that they will not pay for any paid training seminars besides reference books for general office use - but I can send them on any "free" seminars I find so I work within the boundaries.  My argument was even if we view the contracted staff as just a service or tool, if this is a person you're not going to torpedo at the end of the contract, it's worth investing to make the tool/service better - possibly for other roles you'd have to go through the hiring process for anyway. 

I have some contractors who happen to be on contract for years and I make it clear to them that since they sign year long contracts with us, I need them to learn skills and topics that will make them more effective at their job.  Some of them will hum and haw and say, oh but I'm not a full time employee but I insist on them with the mantra that it's all about being more effective for work.  Since some (or in my case all) of it will be done during work hours, they could learn something for their next post and I'm totally okay with that as long as the coaching goals are work oriented.  And if I have a database admin and a report writer sitting side by side and one of them is full time and one is contract, it helps me give the full time person time off.  It helps the contract person get a job in report writing later on so I see it as win win.



gpsmith's picture

I'd echo one of the points above, if they are a contractor and you treat them like an employee, under your local employment laws, this might class them as having more rights than a contractor. I've seen corporates forbid this sort of activity for those who are not directly on the payroll.