I am trying to figure out how to implement O3’s in my organization and am having trouble figuring who to schedule them with.  I wanted to see if anyone is in a similar situation and has found an effective solution.

Our organization:
We are a project management firm.  The organization (total staff of about 120) has divided staff in three, roughly equally sized, teams.  Our staff is organized into three broad levels: partners (my manager), managers (my level), and professional staff.  The professional staff are divided further into three groups, based on their experience, and described as Senior, Intermediate, and Junior staff.  My team has five partners, any of which I could work for (typically I work for four of them during a year), three managers, four Senior staff, and ten Intermediate or Junior staff.

Our projects:
On a given project there will be one partner, one manager, and a mix of professional staff.  The number of professional staff varies from project to project, and is usually between two and six staff members, at varying levels, depending on the complexity of the project.  In some projects, the lower staff levels will report to the higher staff levels who then report to the manager, while in other projects, sometimes of the same size, all staff levels will report to the manager.

Our projects generally take about four to eight weeks from start to finish, and involve the staff members at varying points through that project.  The staff spend one to three consecutive weeks on a project usually near the beginning of the project. For this section of a project the staff will sometimes be off-site.  Staff are expected to multi-task different projects during the wrap-up phase.  Usually a manager will work with a particular staff member one to three times a year on various projects.  A manager will usually be responsible for more than one project simultaneously.

Current coaching program:
Our firm has assigned each staff member a coach.  This coach is involved in reviewing the performance of a staff member and is expected to meet with them on a regular basis to discuss their performance and career goals.  The firm expects these meetings to be at least quarterly, so they are not regular meetings.

I currently have five “coachees” assigned to me.  This is more than most managers, and has usually been at the request of the staff member asking to have me as their coach.

Some of the people I coach are not in my team, meaning I will almost never have them as my DR.  Some of the people I coach are at the “Junior” staff level, meaning they would usually be a skip level to me.  Others are Senior staff, meaning they may be my DR on certain projects.

My problem:
I am trying to determine who I should be having O3’s with.  Some options I have considered were: having them with my coachees.  The disadvantage I see with this is that I am not responsible for their projects in any way (unless they are working with me) and that I will never work with some of them at all.

Another option is to have O3’s with all of the Seniors in my team (about four or five people).  This may work, except that I will only work with each of these people for short periods of time, if at all during a year, and while they are having O3’s with me, I worry that may usurp the role of the coach they have been assigned.

Another option was to have them with the DR’s I will be working with on each project.  This presents the problem that those people will be at varying levels and will only be for short periods during the year, which I feel will not give rise to difficulties in building relationships with the direct.  However, I feel that it is justifiable to have these meetings and also would be most beneficial.

I haven’t yet spoken to peer managers about these so don’t know if there would be interest in them being involved.

Has anyone implemented O3’s in an organization structured like this?  Has it been successful and does anyone have any recommendations on how this should be implemented.

Thanks in advance,