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Rick Riddle

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Five coaching suggestions for engaging millennials


Millennials are a breed apart. They’ve grown up with a different set of values, different technologies and different expectations from all of those who came before. The result? They expect different things. This means that in order to motivate them during coaching, you’ve got to do things a little differently. Not drastically differently, mind you. They’re not from mars. But differently enough.

Today we’re going to cover some of the best coaching tips I’ve come across to make sure that millennials are engaged and interested in what you’ve got to teach them. And that’s important, as millennials put a lot of value in good coaching (and growth) so getting that right will keep them around.

Create a collaborative atmosphere

Where previous generations were brought up far more competitively, the schooling and parents of millennials have largely been focused on getting them to work together and to collaborate. When millennials come to coaching sessions, they expect the same from the coaching team.

One good way to bring this forward is to make sure you encourage them often and frequently. Yes, that might seem soft to you. After all, people are adults and they’re supposed to be able to self-motivate. That might be true, but that doesn’t mean you can’t offer up the occasional bit of encouragement. After all, it isn’t all that much work to find good traits in people to compliment.

Just remember, it’s important that you compliment effort and not ability. The reason for this is that the former creates a growth mindset (i.e. the thought that if you try hard you’ll get better) while the latter motivates a static mindset (i.e. You’re either good at stuff or you’re not). Now, obviously, you’d rather have the latter in your workshop. In fact, you’d rather have the latter at all times. So praise effort, not talent.

Ask them what they want  

Millennials are in general quite outspoken. They’ve been raised to be that way. That has its disadvantages, but it has one huge advantage. And that is that you can ask them what they want and they’ll probably have a pretty good idea.

What’s more, this will give them a sense of empowerment, as well as giving them the feeling that their opinions matter. Both of these qualities are important to millennials (well, most people, but especially millennials). As a result, it will boost engagement, which has a huge number of benefits.

It will hopefully also help you cut through all the crap and get straight to enhancing that skill set that they must feel that they need to enhance. And that will save you money. That’s quite a few benefits, right? And all it took was a simple question!

Keep them in the loop

Most millennials feel that they have a right to know and that if they’re going to work for you, they should at least have a basic idea of what’s going on. Fair enough, right? So let them know what’s going on. Why do you feel that people need to learn the skill set that is being coached? Where do you think the company is failing to deliver at its best? How would you like to go about fixing this problem?

Don’t just tell them what you’re going to do, but try to explain why you’re going to do it as well.

The idea here is relatively straightforward. Don’t just tell them what you’re going to do, but try to explain why you’re going to do it as well. They’ll feel more engaged with what is going on (and will be able to fit what they’re doing into the greater scheme of things), while you might get some useful feedback from them. 

Of course, that does not mean that you want to tell them every worry and concern you have. It is still your job to protect them from stress and bad news. Be selective in what you tell them so that they can get on with their job without stressing out about the future of the company.

Clarify boundaries

One of the biggest things that have changed over the last thirty years or so is that our world has become ever more malleable. Generations past had a pretty good idea of what they were doing; most of them had one job for most of their lives.

Millennials don’t have those boundaries anymore. That’s because the ground is constantly shifting, as new technologies change where they can work, what kinds of jobs they can do and how they engage with the world around them.

The result? Millennials don’t always know where the boundaries are and what is and isn’t acceptable, so go out of your way to make sure that they know the can and can’t. Also, tell them what is part of their job description and what isn’t.

Be consistent

Hypocrisy is the newest deadly sin. That makes sense. After all, as everything else has become more subjective, we have to cling to something and hypocrisy is an obvious place to start, since it’s all about matching up your words with your actions.

For that reason, aim for consistency. Treat people the same way and by the same standards. Don’t break your own rules. If you can do that, then you’ll be sure to win their respect. If you don’t, then don’t be surprised if a lot more people end up knowing about what you’ve done than just the people working for you. For it doesn’t take much to spread the news across their social networks.

Final thoughts

A lot of the things I just outlined make sense for more people than just millennials. That’s not really too surprising. As I said before, they’re still people. They’ve just been raised in a different time, that’s all.

So yes, you could and should embrace these strategies whatever people you work with. Just make absolutely sure that you do so if you’re working with millennials. Otherwise, you’ll find that your neglect has come back to bite you as people end up disengaged and looking for new jobs.

One Response

  1. A millennial train is a
    A millennial train is a person who enables in growing talents which include human relations, communication, time management and goal making plans, boost overall performance with the aid of supporting you better execute assembly facilitation, organization discussions, brainstorming, battle resolution and work communications.
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