How To Introduce Change To Your Multigenerational Workforce.

Most people don’t enjoy change, however the transformations that result from even the smallest changes over time can provide individuals and organizations amazing competitive advantages. 

We’ve all been blessed with a great number of abilities (people and organizations). An important first step to experience rewarding change is to see coaching as an opportunity to make the most of those abilities.  Coaching helps us become better at being… us.


There is no amount of coaching that will ever turn me into a chemist, accountant or golf pro… but I am good at zeroing in on customer needs, corporate training and presentations. Throughout my career I’ve looked for coaching and training opportunities that have helped me fine-tune and polish my abilities.

Free image courtesy of

Free image courtesy of

Coaching is also a great Time Management tool. Few of us have the time or financial resources to go back to school to get another degree. But coaching provides an opportunity for us to learn and to make timely and practical on-the-ground changes… and (again), helps us become better at being… us. 

Responsibility Of The Coach

If you’re the coach you’ll need to demonstrate you’ve created a safe environment based on mutual respect, personal space, abilities and objectives. You’ll also need to demonstrate (actions speak louder than words), that you’re there to help – not judge or make assumptions. If objectives change along the way – that’s OK also… coaches and mentors have to stay as flexible as the people they are coaching and mentoring. The reality is that change is an unknown and when you start to explore it you should expect new needs, markets, opportunities to present themselves.

Whether you work in customer care or senior management, it’s always important to listen. If you don’t know what my objectives are, how can you help me? 

Responsibility Of The Person Being Coached

If you are being coached it’s important to realize that being open to coaching isn’t about changing who you are or guarding your vulnerabilities, coaching is about getting the most out of your existing talents.

Look for values you have in common – not ideas that separate you… especially if you are from different generations.  The same goes for if you are coaching… look for what you have in common.  You will have something and perhaps lots.

To learn we all have to listen and be open to learning.

Coaching Between Generations

How can learning be shared between (and among), generations? 

We’ve discussed how coaching is a two-way street – and that both people have to be open to learning and sharing. One challenge you might run into is to get older workers to see the opportunity of learning from younger workers – and visa versa.

Coaching Boomers

Boomers like to be coached, but are sometimes challenge when doing the coaching because they might feel like they are giving away their learned experience (secrets), and job security. Most Boomers like   in control – respected – invaluable. They might be a bit shy about public recognition, but will also be very pleased / proud if they win an award or are asked to meet someone more senior in the company or your industry.

Coaching Xer’s

Xers thrive in a fun, flexible work environment. Xers want to do meaningful work – and to work. Most Xer’s also want the security of having a dependable resource like a coach / mentor to loop back with for… coaching or mentoring. They will respect you for what you know – not your age or seniority. Like Millennials, Xers want work/life balance and have to know ‘what’s in it for them’.

Coaching Millennials

Millennials respect experience but want it to help them move forward and adapt to the future rather than hold them back doing ‘it’ the ‘old way’.  Most Millennials want to be part of the team – partners – equals – and  want to (quickly), incorporate what they know (new technology for example). Especially around technology Millennials might move at a speed that makes Boomers and Xers a bit uncomfortable because Boomers and Xers are more familiar to being in total control. Even more than Xers, Millennials want work/life balance and have to know ‘what’s in it for them’.


Like many situations the similarities are as important as the differences. The similarities might also provide you the foundation you’ll need to succeed (Glass half full vs. half empty). Focusing on your differences can rip you apart – focusing on similarities can bring you together.

First and foremost change evokes variability, unpredictability. People involved in a coaching environment have to stay open and flexible. 

In addition, people from all generations want to feel like they are participating in their learning process. People want to know their coach believes in them and values their opinion – even if it’s not a shared opinion. These are the key building blocks of successful relationships between individuals (partners, friends, family, co-workers)… and between generations.

Everyone wants to be respected, feel secure, that they have choice, feel valued and prefer straight-up feedback.  Nobody wants coaching to undermine their security, financial stability or previous hard work. At the same time change is inevitable. So, establishing coaching / mentoring models where each participant acknowledged they are a learner (and a teacher), can help break down fears and other barriers.

Happy communicating.

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Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

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About Bruce Mayhew
Bruce Mayhew is a Leadership Coach, Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer who builds strong client and co-worker relationships that give clients a competitive advantage. Our training and development programs include: ■Generational Differences ■Effective Business Email Writing ■Email Etiquette ■Phone Etiquette ■Behaviour Event Interviewing (BEI) ■Mindfulness ■Using Linkedin to Build Client Relationships ■Objective Setting Made Easy

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