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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 September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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