3 Ways to Build a Coaching-Centric Approach with Millennials

Jawad Gilani

When it comes to the modern workforce, millennials are perhaps the most talked about topic across the business world. Organizations associate certain attributes like, hungry for quick recognition, entitled, disloyal, beanbags and so on. This labeling and over generalization is misleading in many ways. Rather than taking measures to adapt to this new normal, organizations fail to retain talent when they introduce them to stereotyped labels and rigid frameworks.  The reality on the other hand is that millennials have a whole new level of desire to excel and achieve growth.  This new “level of desire” is what challenges the existing cultures within the organizations to the core.

Adopting a Coaching-Centric Approach

As the traditional culture evolves, the management styles also need to adapt to the new era. It is time for adopting a coaching centric approach. Millennials do not want bosses they want coaches, who could help them grow in their leadership capacity and achieve their career aspirations. Danita Bye, leadership development expert and author of Millennials Matter asserts that 79% of millennials want a coach or a mentor, not a boss. Modern workforce management is not about command and control but participation, inclusion and collaboration to achieve goals together, this is the kind of approach millennials are looking for.

In Pakistan unfortunately coaching is still a relatively new concept and very few organizations understand the value of coaching. Developing a coaching culture is still a long shot, however to take on the modern-day business challenges, organizations need to ensure that the right coaching framework is available for their dynamic workforce to address their development needs. To serve this purpose a combination of internal and external coaches can be used by organizations to develop the right coaching frameworks; with the intent to develop enough in-house coaches to cater future coaching needs internally.

Along with coaching millennials also require someone to listen to them. They want their voice heard. Managers need to learn to listen to understand, and not just respond. Detaching from your view point to absorb other’s is the key to a sustained coachee relationship.

Coaching Style of Leadership

Managers can also use the changing scenario to their advantage and adapt a transformational leadership approach which embodies coaching. It can promote a stronger relationship and personalized attention. It is done by engaging more with employees, coaching them into formulating their development plans, and setting up a robust feedback mechanism. Managers who follow the personalized approach towards their employees will offer development-oriented attention to their employees, which seems to be one of the top priorities for millennials. Once the manager-employee bond becomes stronger, it would result in better engagement, motivation and retention.

What to expect if the managers adapt to this new paradigm?

Organization will see the negative stereotypes transform into valuable strengths. It would provide organizations to tap on the enormous potential of the Millennial workforce. In return, the “naturally eager-to-learn” millennials can enhance their skillset with proper feedback and coaching interventions. Managers who can develop a genuine relationship with their employees will reap the real benefit of loyalty and commitment from Millennials

Following are three recommendations which can help managers achieve desired results with the millennial workforce:

  • Build a relationship

Invest time in building a deep-rooted relationship with your employees. Once a certain level of trust is achieved in the relationship, people become open and are willing to share more, hence formulating an effective foundation for coaching.

  • Promote mutual trust

Adapt behaviors which promote mutual trust, which is a critical factor in relationship strength and also has a significant implication on how the feedback is taken. In a trustworthy relationship, there is transparent exchange of ideas.

  • Tailor to the needs

When a manager understands the needs, strengths and weaknesses of each individual and connects with them accordingly, results are visible. This helps managers with

better understanding of the issues, and they are able to propose a better solution.

Although this is not a blanket solution to all millennial issues, this would help them develop and grow. Millennials need an interactive relationship with their managers, the one where the interaction contributes to their growth.

Jawad Gilani is Head of Organizational Excellence at Packages Group

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