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Why Coaching May Be What Millennials Want and Need

Coaching Millennials

Coaching and Millennials

Keith Webb, the author of The Coach Model for Christian Leadersand Coaching for Ministryhosted a fascinating discussion with Felix Ortiz. Felix Ortiz works with Agape Europe, a division of Cru, and is currently a coach trainer and pastor.

Read the article below for the full discussion, but here are some of the highlights.

  1. Millennials are the most well-equipped generation in history, but they need people who will journey with them and be a reference for them.
  2. This generation doesn’t need more information. They know where to find the information they need. What they need is people who will help them process the information and find meaning in it.
  3. Active listening, powerful questions, and provoking reflection are Coaching skills can help millennials find perspective and reflect about life which they will appreciate.

What do you see about coaching that is relevant for millennials?

This is the question Keith presented to Felix. Keith Webb briefly referred to the huge impact Millennials are making in the United States which I took the time to look up. According to a Pew Research Center more than one-in-three American labor force participants (35%) are Millennials, making them the largest generation in the U.S. labor force.[1]

You can find the written version of Keith and Felix’s discussion below, edited slightly for readability. The full video is below. The discussion that relates specifically to millennials starts at 14:20 and goes to 22:45.

Felix Ortiz responded to the question be referring to Mark Prensky. Prensky coined the term “digital natives: and is an expert with working with Millennials. Felix mentioned Prensky’s work which says that this is the most well-equipped generation in history. Because of this millennials can use people who will journey with them and be a reference for them.

Felix Ortiz: This generation has a lot of knowledge. They can google whatever they want. They can get whatever information that need. So they don’t need experts. They know where to get information when they need it. They don’t need more information. They need mentors. 

This is a window of opportunity for leaders working with millennials. Coaching skills will allow leaders to mentor younger leaders well by listening to them, asking questions, and provoking reflection. Millennials will appreciate this approach.

Keith Webb: Even in mentoring there is a danger because a lot of mentoring is mentoring you with the information that I have. But millennials don’t need that. Even coaching can slip into the passing on of information. So what is it that millennials are looking for?

Felix Ortiz: Millennials are looking or relationship. They already have a lot of information. But they don’t always know how to embrace reflection.

Keith Webb: What that makes me think of is that they have information, but what they are looking for is meaning.

Felix Ortiz: Yes, they are looking for meaning, but meaning comes through reflection. They don’t need more information. They can get more information by themselves. What we can do is help them find meaning in all the information, in all of life’s processes. Using coaching skills, not necessarily formal coaching, but learning to listen to them, learning to ask good questions to help them find perspective and reflect about life is a huge opportunity for Christian Leaders.

Keith Webb: That’s really interesting because this reflective coaching process allows them to make sense of all of this information for what it means to them and to shift their perspective to where it needs to be shifted. And this gives them more fulfilling life. It helps them to understand their calling, what their contribution is to the world, which is all meaning making—making meaning and doing all of that within a relationship with a coach.

Felix Ortiz: Yes, I am not afraid of millennials! I think millennials provide us with lots of opportunities if we know how to treat them and if we have the skills to work with them.

Keith Webb: That’s interesting how you phrased that. “I am not afraid to work with Millennials!” That’s interesting because there is a lot of millennial bashing—criticize the millennial, make fun of them. Some of it is just normal because it always seems that the next generation gets made fun of.

I think where we go wrong is that we are trying to teach the millennial. We think we have so much information, so much wisdom that we want to teach. They don’t want to be taught. But they do want to learn from us. And that’s the interesting thing. Teaching is the old thing of telling them what to do. But helping them to learn is what you (Felix) are talking about—a reflective process.

Felix Ortiz: Yes, because they don’t need us to get information. They know much better than us how to get information and where to find the information. The question is finding meaning and making that information valuable to them. And no one is helping them in this approach. I think the church should take advantage of this necessity and should approach them in the way that they want to be approached.

Keith Webb: Think about that. We talk about character formation and morality. There’s no morality to information. Information alone doesn’t necessarily have a morality attached to it. You have to ask, “What’s the meaning of that information?” And until you have that, you won’t have the morality, the character. Why should I not do something? If there is no meaning, then I should do it? But if there’s meaning then I have to decided, “Do I do it, or don’t I?”

Many generations are information heavy. They are meaning light and therefore need morality and character. And you can’t have relationship without including meaning and morality. Without them, relationship won’t last.

You can listen to the full conversation by watching the video below.

If you’re interested in learning more about how a coach approach can transform the way you lead, then consider reaching out to me about attending The Coaching Workshop for Christian Leaders. You can also order the books by Keith Webb The Coach Model for Christian Leadersand Coaching for Ministry.

If you would like to find out more about coaching or would like to schedule a personalized coaching call contact me.

[1] Fry, Richard. “Millennials Are Largest Generation in the U.S. Labor Force.” Pew Research Center, 11 Apr. 2018, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/04/11/millennials-largest-generation-us-labor-force/.

An Interview with Félix Ortiz and Keith Webb. Topics discussed in this episode: * Coaching in a European context. * Reshaping the way ministry is done in Europe. * What Millennials are seeking from a mentor or coach. * How do we find meaning in a world of overwhelming amounts of information?