Coaching Millenials in the workplace

After the first year in my role managing young and talented people the biggest eye opener is the change in the expectations of the current generation (i.e. Millenials) in how work should be done, guidance by the organization and prioritizing personal development. What sparks my interest is the fact that by 2020 this generation will be the majority of the workforce and therefore I find it my responsibility to offer as much knowledge and support as I can to develop and maintain the wanted individuals in your workplace. So how can you develop, retain and motivate the people in your team? 


As a person I like to read a lot about group dynamics, psychology and personal development. I noticed the Millenials in my current team have a high drive for personal development and they expect guidance in this area (on the other hand they sometimes overestimate their qualities nor want to receive negative feedback but that’s for another post).


Source: HBR 

I gave it a lot of thought in the last 12 months and got inspired by the usuals suspect such as HBR, Covey, Gladwell, Dweck & D.T. Suzuki. After incorporating those elements and receiving internal training I decided to combine those points of view into an action plan that helps someone reflect on their self with help from other mentors and me on the sideline. In the end it’s not rocket science but I believe it mixes self- reflection, focussing on what’s important and involving others to make it stick.

So I came up with this plan… 

This method is designed to help you to understand who you are now and get to your desired self (by analyzing and improving your (professional) identity). This method is not validated, not tested and cannot guarantee change. However, that’s always the case when you want to improve yourself, it’s start with you and it ends with you.

To make this a success for yourself I would like to ask you to invest in:

  1. Doing the work (courses, training, self reflection)
  2. Gaining the experience (build your network),
  3. Being committed (towards yourself)

Step 1 – Identify your identity

Your identity makes you the unique individual depending on your age and circumstances. Your identity will change throughout your life, but you will eventually develop a clear sense of your own values, interests, beliefs, occupational goals and experiences.

This step is all about exploring yourself. The better we define our starting point, the better we will notice the impact of your change. This needs to be a balance between your strengths, areas of improvement, your values and inner beliefs.  

  1. Strengths: the ability to consistently produce a positive outcome through near-perfect performance in a specific task. 
  2. Weaknesses: The idea here is simple, in of trying to change your weaknesses, accept them. But by being aware of them we can improve them. 
  3. Core values: The ideals and customs that you choose to live by. Understanding this will lead to better decision making because you are in touch with your ‘why’ and this will guide you during your journey.  
  4. Beliefs: Core beliefs are the fundamental ideas we have about ourselves; they are the absolute truths we have developed about ourselves throughout the course of our lives.

Step 2 – Create your vision

The future- self exercise digs deep into the natural power of belief. Stephen Covey says your future self is based on the principle that your future self is created twice. First there is the mental creation and secondly the physical creation. It’s a mental but vivid representation of where you want to go. This is either driven by past experiences and circumstances or you control this by  having your ultimate vision in mind and take steps towards realizing this in real life.

Step 3 – Develop your action plan

Now that you have insights in your future self with all strengths, weaknesses and your beliefs supported by the values you appreciate the most, it is time to develop a (5 year) plan. Key here is to plan backwards in small steps that you can reiterate every time you hit one of your milestones in your plan. You can have plans in career, financial situation, education, family, pleasure or physical etc etc.

Step 4 – Play by your rules

In order to realize your vision and execute on the action plan. We create these guidelines to stay focussed on your plan whilst staying true to your deepest values and your (new) core beliefs. 

Step 5 – Go beyond your comfort zone

Growth lies when you step out of your comfort zone. Your brain is wired to run on automatic pilot and triggers all kinds of unconscious processes based on your experiences, beliefs and values. Let’s say for arguments sake this is 90%. For the remaining 10% you make conscious decisions that influence your behavior and guide your actions. However the reason why you can experience stress and can’t follow through on decisions you consciously make is because your unconscious needs to be altered by new experience, strengthened (new) beliefs and values. So what actions do you have to take to go beyond your comfort zone?

Step 6 – Build your support network

Now that we consciously decided what actions we are going to take we have to find the people (internally and externally) who have the experience, knowledge, training and/or projects you need to grow. Think of external coaches, internal mentors, get involved in a project in another department, read a book (share that knowledge) or take external training.

Step 7 – Make the decision

What you are today is the result of the decisions you have made so far. The conscious choices you make now will be the biggest challenges you come across. You’re challenging 90% of your unconscious self and the new perceived identity doesn’t come easy and will take time.  

Step 8 – Commit

Energy, enthusiasm, trusting your plan and your support network leads to your desired vision. The challenge is that you need to develop the ability to coexist with your old self and consciously work towards your desired self in a constantly changing world. The key here is that you consciously need to allocate time to work on this instead of being led by the requirements of life around you. Only when you are consciously in control we can change your unconscious self for the better. And I believe you can.

In sum.. 

One cannot write something about Millenials without sharing the video below to fully understand what Millenials actually have to go through.

I hope you can find value in this post and feel free to use this to your own benefit. Looking forward to your comments and improvements!

*All views are my own


2 thoughts on “Coaching Millenials in the workplace

  1. Perfectly writen and very interesting subject.
    It is not always easy to coach young adults but one thing for sure your team and everyone adores your management style.


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