Who’s the boss? What employers need to know about millennials and coaching

At Templar, we’ve seen how coaching benefits organisations and their people when we work with key individuals to align personal goals with that of the organisation.

Coaching acts as a sounding board, offering guidance and stretches employees to think in new ways, delivering insights and a broad business awareness. For many who work with us, having someone truly on their side is key to unlocking previously unknown potential, and, with that, greater business and personal fulfillment.

There are many myths about millennials, but one thing is certain: their impact on the workforce.

The Human Capital Institute (HCI) and the International Coach Federation (ICF) have conducted research into the demands of millennials, defined as those born between 1983 and 1996.

The HCI and ICF found that millennials make up the largest portion of the US workforce and are expected to dominate the global labour market by 2020.

The research showed that millennials don’t want bosses. They want coaches who can help them achieve their career goals. That will require a shift in mindset from employers, who have generally reserved coaching for executives.

The researchers distinguish between three kinds of coaching: internal, external, and managers/leaders who use coaching.

“While 54% of millennials desire additional technical training, 60% want training from their employer in leadership skills. Most likely because they are figuring out their career paths and refining their skill sets, they also have a preference for more frequent feedback from their manager compared to other age groups,” the researchers said.

“The preferred management style is moving from command and control to a new style based on inclusion, involvement, and participation. Most organizations understand the value of coaching increasing employee engagement and sustaining high organizational performance.

“The combination of external and internal coaches, along with training managers and leaders to provide coaching skills, appears to be key to developing a strong coaching culture and addressing the development needs of emerging leaders.”

Most employees who are exposed to strong coaching cultures are highly engaged, according to the study. But coaching is not only about keeping people happy. It actually pays dividends. The HCI and ICF discovered that 46% of respondents with strong coaching cultures outperformed their competitors in 2016.

“Access to coaching is a developmental opportunity for many executives and high-potential employees,” the report concludes.

“As the workforce ages and millennials assume first-time people manager roles and eventually executive leadership positions, organizations need to ensure they are fully competent and ready to excel.”

But first it’s important to understand who exactly your employee is. It’s also essential that you clear up some misconceptions, especially about millennials.

“Myths that millennials require greater workplace recognition and guidance, and that they show less loyalty to the organizations to which they belong, have been largely debunked,” the HCI/ICF report says.

“Instead, evidence shows that millennials as a whole crave opportunities to explore career growth and develop their leadership skills — a desire that is best understood by career stage and age rather than being from a particular generation,” it says.

Research by PwC has found that CEOs struggle to attract and retain millennials. That could be because bosses don’t understand what this section of the labour force wants. It appears that they want training and development, more than cash incentives or flexible working hours, according to the PwC report.

“35% said they were attracted to employers who offer excellent training and development programmes for this reason and saw it as the top benefit they wanted from an employer. The most valued opportunity was the chance to work with strong coaches and mentors,” PwC says in its report Millennials at work – Reshaping the workplace.

“Millennials relish the opportunity to engage, interact and learn from senior management. Mentoring programmes can be particularly effective and also help to relieve tensions between generations.”

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