by Shanita Brown
Coaching unlocks people’s potential to maximize their performance. Coaches are change experts who help individuals take responsibility and control of their lives. When people take responsibility for their lives, it builds self-awareness, which empowers individuals to uncover their true values and motivates them to align their actions with their core values so they can produce the results they desire. When individuals are motivated through coaching, they are more engaged, empowered to grow as individuals, foster relationships, and are more productive. Coaching is highly effective at transforming people because you are always working at the point where individuals are most teachable, the place where they want to change.
Coaching the Next Generation
Gen Z’ers value being able to make a difference, and they want to know that they are making a difference. Coaching is a leadership development tool that is effective, and that is in alignment with the general characteristics of Gen Z. Psalm 145:4 states one generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. Christian coaches facilitate this through conversation; this conversation creates an awareness that provides listening, support, and a call to action. This exposes a generation to have a personal experience with God through his mighty acts.
Gen Z is the current generation entering the workforce and is being shaped to be future leaders. Are they equipped to do so? Experts say that Millennials and Gen Z make up 50 percent of the workforce, with 24 percent being Gen Z. Gen Z’ers were born between 1997-2012. They are also the first generation born in an interconnected world, making them collaborative, communicative, and thrive for authentic and genuine relationships. These are common characteristics of leaders. For these characteristics to continue to be fostered in the next generation of leaders, a coaching initiative within organizations is encouraged. I encourage all leaders to be coached and to coach.
Having a coaching initiative puts leaders in a position to focus on the enduring success of the organization. It helps current leaders put into action a succession plan that is sustainable and promotes the ongoing success of an organization. A coaching capability can create value beyond an individual’s performance, skills, and development as an employee.
When individuals are coached effectively, they become better people and not just better employees to benefit the organization. Coaching is future-oriented and is about focusing forward. The coach approach of listening and asking questions is more effective at fostering change than advice-giving.
The Difference Coaching Can Make
A coaching initiative, when done correctly, can be transformational. Neuroscience suggests that coaching is better than any other growth driver. This is because coaching is focused on believing in an individual and partnering with them to help them discover and maximize the best version of themselves. According to a study, neuroimaging studies showed that coaching activates areas of people’s brains associated with openness to new ideas, change, and learning due to being inspired and cared for. The job of a coach is to prioritize motivation over information because it makes an enormous difference. People can have all the information in the world, but it means nothing if they are not motivated to put that information into action.
When I was fifteen years old, I became a licensed minister. This was my first leadership role outside of home. I remember feeling excited and embarrassed at the same time. Excited because I was in a position to influence my peers positively and embarrassed because I was the “saved” girl nobody wanted to have fun with because they thought I was “too holy.” I also remember talking to my mentors about my feelings of embarrassment and them giving me their advice and opinions, pretty much the same typical advice they gave to all other teens.
The thing was, I wasn’t like all other teens. I was a licensed teenage minister trying to navigate in an unfamiliar position while still being a teen and understanding myself as a person. None of my mentors took the time to develop me from where I was. They advised on a “one-size-fits-all” approach which left me feeling insecure, uncertain, uninspired, and overwhelmed. It wasn’t until I was out of college when I was introduced to the kind of leader I needed to be according to my personality. If my mentors understood the importance of coaching, which draws answers out of a person, I believe I would have been better equipped as a leader in other leadership areas.
How Can You Make A Difference?
Organizations with a coaching initiative in place understand the importance of changing the future by shaping the future. Gen Z is a generation who is willing to learn and grow into a future version of themselves. One characteristic they have is the desire to have authentic and genuine relationships, and coaching provides that. Tony Stoltzfus, a leadership coach, says that coaching consists of two parts, relationship, and experience. Both are needed for coaching to be transformational. Everyone has a natural learning capability that is often disrupted by instruction. Organizational leaders can develop integral, authentic, and productive leaders by giving them what they already want, collaboration, communication, and authentic and real relationships.
When working with the next generation, we shouldn’t think about the present; we have to think about the future. The future is the next generation of leaders who need to be developed as leaders now. Coaching can do this.
How can you as a coach join and partner with the next generation in your organization in equipping them to be effective leaders?