Working with Different Generations
Reaching and working with people from various generations needs to be intentional. Here are some strategies you can work through with your coaching clients.

Written By Gary Reinecke

ICF Master Certified Coach, Resource Designer, Mission Strategist : InFocus
How do you coach leaders to reach, engage, and train people in their 20s-50s?  Specifically, look at the chart below.  What generations do your clients struggle to engage the most from the list below?  

  • The Silent Generation: Born 1928-1945 (78-95 years old)
  • Baby Boomers: Born 1946-1964 (59-77 years old)
  • Gen X: Born 1965-1981 (43-58 years old)
  • Millennials: Born 1982-1997 (27-42 years old)

Tech for the Generations

One development that all people on most of the planet have been influenced by is the advent of technology.  You could argue, it is the singular most influential advancement that has had the greatest disruption since the Industrial Revolution.  This disruption has had tremendous positive benefits to how we do ministry, and work in general…

  • The speed at which we can do basic tasks has accelerated
  • Given power to the individual
  • Created the exchange of ideas as never seen before
  • Innovation of ideas has reached new levels
  • Allowed people to connect around the world in creative ways
  • Disciples are being made in ways never imagined before
  • Leaders are being developed using video technology and various related modalities:

With this disruption comes challenges on the ways we reach the younger generations especially.  Specifically those that are now growing up with technology and others who have a faint memory of how things were BI – Before the Internet.  Which challenges do your clients resonate with from below? 

The Impact

Here are some challenges from the impact of technology for reaching, engaging, and training Gen Z to Millennials:

  1. Makes more content available at earlier stages of development
  2. Ideas and ideologies are more accessible, making these generations more susceptible
  3. Entertainment can over-shadow substance
  4. Short sound-bites shape the way information is being processed
  5. Isolationism is negatively impacting social development

There are so many new ideas that are coming out to leverage technology in innovative ways. But what can be done personally in the relational realm of a leader, congregation, ministry or organization?

Personal Connections are Key

No single innovation will make a greater impact than helping your clients become great coaches and cultivate a coaching culture in their team, church, ministry or business.  Here are seven questions to help your client embrace a coach-approach and, to create a culture of coaching.

  1. What is your experience when you have been listened to carefully?
  2. How did that change the way you engaged?
  3. What can you take from that experience and pass-on to others?
  4. What are some tangible steps you can take in your development as a good listener?
  5. What can you do to sharpen your questions?
  6. Who can you introduce to this way of engaging with people?
  7. What do you envision for your team, ministry, or organization as you navigate the path to engage the next generation(s)?

Resources

A simple way to summarize what to do is: “Listen a little bit more – talk less!”  Following are resources to help you understand the distinctives of the various generations mentioned above!

generational leadership Also consider these training materials:

 

 

 

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Photo by Alexander Suhorucov

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