We’ve all heard the one about the critical bottom line impact of our employees – “What if we train them and they leave? What if we don’t, & they stay?” There’s another one that is even worse, and I hear this complaint from young employees and professionals all over the country. “My boss doesn’t have time for me.” What??? And here is the really bad news. There is research that backs up the disparity between the value that Millennials place on mentorship and leadership programs vs. GenX and Boomers. Oops – sorry to surprise you, but it’s the GenX and Boomer generations who don’t place a lot of merit on it. Millennials are clamoring for it.
Let’s be clear. We have a retirement crisis on our hands. There are not enough Xers to replace the Boomers, and that means that our younger generations, by default, will be leading at much earlier ages than their predecessors. You can dislike it. You can think they’re not ready. It doesn’t matter. Check out this stat – 20% of the workforce is going to be GenZ in 2020, & if the Millennials are already the majority, that’s at least 71% of the workforce – and they’ll all be 40 and under. If the very people who have the institutional knowledge are not as interested in passing it along as the people who are coming into key leadership positions, we’ve got a problem that is rapidly compounding and not much time to do a course correction.
So – not only are leadership development programs essential for every company to be engaging in, so is coaching, because it will help to provide a fast track to the experiential learning that our employees need. Research also shows that if training and leadership programs are not followed up with ongoing practice, they are far less impactful. By the way, I’m not suggesting that coaching is not valuable for senior leaders, C-Suite, company owners, etc. It most assuredly is, but in this case, if you want a profitable company going forward, you need a plan of action immediately to address the talent development of your team.
One more point of clarity – coaching is NOT mentoring, and those words are NOT interchangeable. Mentoring is an official and formal relationship, usually within the same company, but not always, that includes knowledge transfer, access to meetings and opportunities that would not otherwise be granted without the Mentor’s presence, introduction to key future networks, sponsorship of participation in professional development, and ongoing and regular meetings for development.
Coaching is a method of professional development that involves staying in a point of inquiry from the coach’s perspective, assisting in developmental plans, providing accountability, developing skill sets, and creating a safe space for the leadership development, crises, and experiential learning to percolate. It results in the coachee becoming more self-sufficient, becoming more competent and skillful, enhancing self-awareness and therefore becoming a more effective leader, learning to recognize impacts on teams, developing their own skills as a coach with their employees, and finally, creating a coaching culture in the workplace.
If you want profit, it takes people. Your people are ready for your investment – in them.
P.S. I was 30 when I became an international CEO. Was I as ready then as I was after 20+ years of CEO leadership? No. Was I a good CEO? My leaders and staff said yes – and your young leaders will be good too! Coach them. Let ‘em fly, & watch the profits soar!