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How to Coach Millennials

How to Coach Millennials

Every day more and more millennials enter the workforce. It is often said that millennials bring innovation, new perspectives and ideas for growth. As the new and largest generation of our workforce, millennials are calling for a new way of leadership. Do you know how to best leverage their potential and coach them effectively?

Millennials, born between early 1980s and 2000s, have much to contribute to the expansion and growth of your business. In this article I will share 5 key principles from my business and career coaching practice to attract, lead and motivate millennials in the workplace.

1. Provide structure and sharpen their focus

Prioritizing days and weeks in advance is part of every successful leader’s routine. However, this is something millennials don’t embrace so easily: to have everything scheduled. They enjoy being spontaneous and flexible.

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Offer them the flexibility they need, while still setting healthy boundaries and providing structure. Certain routines can be scheduled every day. Regular monthly and weekly meetings with a clear agenda and goals will help millennials to achieve long term goals and get organized.

Serve as a role model and inspire them to absorb your good working habits: how to organize your workspace, how to effectively schedule work and set realistic goals. Take some time to coach them on: how to use practical tools and methods to plan time wisely, streamline certain tasks, communicate with team members and lead workshops. This will not only sharpen their focus but also keep them on track with assigned projects.

2. Create opportunities for growth

Most millennials I’ve encountered are very self-confident and have a great “can do” attitude. That’s why millennials don’t need a manager but a great leader with coaching skills to inspire them. They don’t want simply a great title and a good check at the end of the month. They want to make a true contribution and work on something meaningful because their identity is often expressed through the work they do. Therefore assign them meaningful projects in which they can make an impact to the growth of the company and at the same time expand their current skills.

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Be warned: millennials are generally less responsive to an authoritarian leadership style. Being stern or commanding will bring no improvement in productivity of millennials and may yield undesired consequences for the company.

Millennials are eager to take a lead and show off their skills by running independent projects. They will feel limited if they are expected to work only within the specific frameworks. Independent projects empower and serve as an opportunity to fuel their passion, grow, and learn.

3. Encourage ‘quick wins’

Every new assignment can be exciting at the beginning. However if desired goals are not as timely realized as expected, millennials may lose their initial enthusiasm and feel anxious or even depressed.

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Setting ‘quick wins’’ is a countermeasure for burning-out. These are the goals that can be achieved before experiencing any sense of inefficacy. Based on my experience as a leadership coach I would recommend leaders devoting a few hours per week and month for joint reflection on current projects, progress and setting small attainable goals – ‘quick wins’ until next week and month. This simple exercise will keep millennials engaged and committed.

4. Foster an environment for learning

Millennials love flat hierarchies, honest feedback and having a transparent relationship with their authentic managers. Therefore, dedicate some time to review their progress and give constructive feedback. Stay in touch regularly, show interest and curiosity in their way of working; praise their progress; don’t be judgmental, but inspire them to aim higher. Reflect on how to coach them better and serve their thirst for knowledge.

5. Give opportunities to bolster their CVs

According to a recent study on the millennial workforce, 53% hiring managers find it challenging to retain the millennials. Your role as a leader is to support their growth, that’s why you need to learn when it’s the best time to let them go.  The ‘I want to work for the next 30 years in the same company’ trend is gone. The new wave has less long term commitment to one specific organization. Therefore, work with them to develop their skills and help them to enrich their CVs. Communicate clearly that even if they leave the organization, you will be there for them. In all my years of coaching, I’ve seen this loyalty returning.

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You and millennials: two different generations, tackling the same challenges but ending up creating a distinctive individual plan of action to deal with them. Use this difference to your advantage. This is a wake-up call for all leaders. Invest in millennials and give them the freedom they need. You will see surprising results.

Featured photo credit: Man Talking About Architecture Ideas via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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