I am about to start coaching some managers who are in their twenties and much younger than me. What specifically do I need to pay attention to?
Working with people from different generations presents interesting challenges for managers and coaches alike. It is probably no surprise that when you were born and how you have experienced society, technology and culture, plays an important role in shaping personal beliefs, expectations and attitudes to work.
We can now read widely about the different generational groups in the workplace, variously called Veterans, Baby Boomers, Generations X, Y and Z (sometimes called Millennials). It is helpful to appreciate something about how the world was when they were growing up, their formative influences and preoccupations, in order for us as coaches to understand and respect differences in working practices and attitudes. For example, older generations may have a live to work philosophy, typically middle generations have a work to live attitude and Generation Yers are unwilling to blindly conform to traditional standards or time honoured institutions, believing that work is part of the puzzle used to change the world.
When coaching Generation Yers, who are in their twenties and thirties, familiarise yourself with their world. They are typically highly travelled, competitive, self confident and very interconnected and will question how and why things are done. A whole person approach is recommended, as this is also a very formative time of life and they may be soul searching about decisions made and commitments, and grappling with developing secure relationships in and out of work. Finally encourage and support them to use their creativity and understanding of diversity, and explore how their strong sense of social responsibility, people, planet and profits might be enhanced through their work.