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Managing your P.A. better


I've had an enquiry from a manager who as part of his PAs performance review, wondered if there are any training courses etc... which would help him use the PAs role more efficiently, so that both parties benefit. Does anyone know of any thing out there?
Susan Wright

13 Responses

  1. can I suggest that training is not the answer?
    This strikes me as an opportunity to have a discussion between the two of them that centres on answering this question.
    A generic training event is likely to be too wide or indistinct in it’s scope to be of great value.
    Perhaps a series of questions to address might be appropriate.

    Hope this helps
    (as well as saving the manager spending lots of time away from the office on a training course, delegating to his PA!)

    Rus Slater

  2. Training
    There are companies- We have used them- who will provide one to one training at reasonable rates

    Let me know if you decide to go down that road and I will dig some out

    One other alternative would be to send the manager on a PA COURSE so that the other side of the table can be more appreciated.

    Warm regards


  3. Coaching may help
    I would like to suggest the appropriateness of a 1-2-1- coaching session with the manager, drawing out of him how else he could benefit from his PA’s skills, and possibly a coaching session with both of them around how they communicate, what their expecatations and understandings of each other’s roles are etc. I think a training day will be far too generic, while a coaching intervention would address their unique position and needs. Please feel free to email me further if you would like me to expand.

    Best wishes
    Teresa Garfield

  4. More effective use of a PA

    I agree with much of what Teresa said. Training doesn’t appear to be the answer here. Coaching for either/both parties would seem to a better option. It seems that an affective conversation between the two parties, perhaps facilitated by a coach, would move their relationship forward considerably.

    Hope this helps,


  5. developing an effective PA
    I would agree with the other comments that in this situation coaching would be the more appropriate approach. There are numerous tips and techniques avaialble. The first step is for the manager to understand clearly their activities which makes them effective to achieve results. Then the task of what should be done by the PA. “manage yourself before you manage others”. Skills required include communication, planning, prioritising, empowerment etc.
    If you are interested I can send you an outline of a programme which addresses all these requirements and is delivered on a 1-2-1 basis.

    I hope this helps.

    [email protected]

    Kind regards,
    Clive Mason

  6. Managing expectations
    I have recently read an article (and of course can’t think where!) where the author described a process which the team (manager and PA) could go through. It involved looking at what each party wanted from the relationship – in the case of the PA it was more information, so that they could prioritise and help the manager manage THEIR workload, and more responsibility. On the part of the Manager, it was to have the PA take more responsibility.

    I think when both parties have a clear idea of what the other wants from the working relationship, then you can move forward.

    Again, as mentioned below, this would seem to indicate more coaching support rather than a training course. However, there may be particular skills that could be adressed through generic training – such as assertiveness, communication skills, feedback skills etc.

    I hope that helps


  7. Learning activity for PAs and Managers
    We work with a company who has provided this type of training/coaching to PAs and Managers. The trainer works with both the PA and Manager. We haven’t run this in a while and I wasn’t here when we did, but I heard it was very well received. The company is called Yellow Hat and their contact info is:
    [email protected]

  8. Developing PA’s
    Given the specialist purpose of the role, one of the better successes I have had when developing PA’s is to find them a mentor who is operating at a senior PA level, even if they do not work for the same organisation as the PA.

  9. Developiong PAs
    I actually worked with an FD and her PA on just this sort of situation using a coaching approach with both parties. I got them both to air their expectations and resentments and how they could achieve the former and resolve the latter. It was hugely successful. I then went on to work with the whole finance team coaching them on working together as a team rather than a group of individuals.

  10. Developing PAs
    I would like to put the case for training in this instance. The initial query doesn’t say there is particular bad feeling between the two, just that the manager wants to use the PA time more effectively. The PA might benefit from attending a course along with those performing a similar role, to get some moral support and some ideas. Possibly a ‘Managing Your Manager’ type course might be suitable so that s/he can learn to ‘manage upwards’. I get the feeling that the manager may be open to this type of support.

  11. Developing PAs
    I tend to agree with you all that training is not the answer here. A coaching session with the both of them would be beneficial together with a mentoring programme for the PA; we know how beneficial mentoring programmes have been for managers so perhaps companies might consider introducing a mentoring scheme for PAs.

  12. PA’s role is unique
    The PA’s role is unique and although the basic principles are the same, it has to be tailor made to the needs of individual they support.
    I have delivered a training course specifically targeted at Secondary School Headteachers’ PAs whose roles are multi-faceted. I have also written a handbook ‘Supporting the Headteacher’ which has been published by SfE and you may wish to visit there website to get a sneak preview.

  13. Training/coaching for PAs
    Why not go down a training and coaching route? I run a one day course for PAs at both WMLGA (Tel: 0121 678 1025 and Birmingham Commercial Training (Tel: 0121 616 0700, covering communication, time management, meeting/minutes, organising travel and events, personal image, presentation skills, CPD, etc.

    I also do business coaching to facilitate the transferral of these skills into the workplace and address any specific issues as they arise.

    For more info, please contact me at [email protected]


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