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Running head: COACHING EFFECTIVENESS ACROSS GENERATIONS

Research Paper Assessment Name: Bill Benoist Date: July 13, 2012 Student ID: 266049 Email: wbenoist@hotmail.com

Complete your 2000 word research paper and insert it in the space below. Then email this document as an attachment to assessment@icoachacademy.com

CAREER COACHING EFFECTIVENESS FOR GENERATION Y William Benoist ICA

Abstract

A career coach who recognizes and understands generational diversity is better equipped to provide effective coaching. Individuals born within a specific range of years are classified into the following groups: Generation Y, Generation X, Baby Boomers, and the Silent Generation. Research has demonstrated each group shares a unique culture of values, attitudes, and beliefs. This paper explores the cultural attributes of Generation Y and summarizes the impact this subculture may have on the coaching process. Using research data collected through case studies, coaching attributes valued by Generation Y is analyzed. Findings presented illustrate how a career coach who understands these generational differences may positively affect the outcome of the coaching session.

Introduction

According to the latest data from the United States Census Bureau, 65% of the estimated 236 million individuals over the age of 16 are members of the American workforce (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). Besides a rich mix of culture, religion, race, ethnicity, and gender, the workforce has become segmented into four distinct generational subcultures: The Silent Generation, the Baby Boomer Generation, Generation X, and Generation Y. Each of these groups shares certain values, beliefs, and characteristics that were influenced by the era the individual was raised in. Understanding that motivational influences may be different for each generational subculture is an important consideration for the career coach. This may be especially important when the coach represents one generational subculture and the client represents another. Coaches must be attentive to not become judgmental based upon his or her cultural upbringing. One way the coach develops this skill is through empathetic listening. In Emotional Intelligence, empathetic listening is defined as hearing the feelings behind what is said (Goleman, 1995). This paper defines the characteristics of Generation Y, now the largest subculture currently employed in the U.S. Workforce, and examines literature presented by authoritarian sources in the field. Statistics will demonstrate commonly documented motivational influences of this subculture that may assist the career coach in uncovering hidden beliefs and understanding the foundational roots of core values.

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Generation Y Generation Y was the last defined subculture having entered the workforce. Members of this group were born after January 1, 1981. In 2008, Generation Y made up the largest slice of the United States labor force with 78 million workers (Sprague, 2008). Of all four generational subcultures, Generation Y is the most educated and technologically sophisticated group currently working (Crampton & Hodge, 2007). Generation Y has also been referred to as the Millennial Generation, Generation Next and Gamer Generation; however, one reference that best described Generation Y was an article in HRMagazine referring to this subculture as The Tethered Generation (Tyler, 2007). Whereas Generation X introduced the digital age to society, Generation Y grew up not knowing any different. Generation Y was digitally tethered to their parents. Many of the earliest born Generation Y carried pagers to school, while later born Generation Y carried cell phones as early as elementary school. This group grew up educated with e-mail, texting, blogging, and other forms of collaboration. Unlike the latchkey child of the 70s, children of the 80s and 90s had much busier schedules consisting of music lessons, sports, and scheduled play-dates (Baldonado & Spangenburg, 2009). Significant events occurring during the era of Generation Y include the Oklahoma City bombing, the popularity of the Internet, the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal, the Columbine High School Massacre, September 11 attack, and several high profiled company failures. While these external influences helped to create a subculture morally and civic-minded, the family-centric model helped mode Generation Y into an optimistic and upbeat subculture respectful of authority, socially conscious, with high self-esteem (Sprague, 2008).
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If Generation X was coined the Me Generation, Generation Y could be referred as the Why Me Generation. Actively involved parents influenced this generation to ask questions rather than settle for the status quo. Although they have respect for authority, this generation is completely comfortable walking into the CEOs office and telling him or her they do not believe something is being done correctly (Durkin, 2009). Other generational subcultures may perceive Generation Ys behavior as an unjustified sense of entitlement, or lack of work ethic, but this group is only following the guidance of their upbringing. They witnessed the failures of WorldCom, Tyco, Enron, and other corporations, and wondered why others failed to question what was happening. Generation Y has no reason to think equal opportunity is anything special because for this group equality, just like technology, has always existed (Goldgehn, 2004). Civil rights, the womens movement, and other struggles are history lessons for Generation Y. Whereas the Baby Boomer saw the injustice and unfairness of Jim Crow Laws, and fought for equality for the Negro, marriage between blacks and whites during 1970s and 1980s remained uncommon. In 2004, however; one out of every 35 Generation Y members had parents of mixed race, and over 30% were of Hispanic heritage (Goldgehn, 2004). Just as previous generational subcultures changed the cultural of the American workforce, business can expect the same from Generation Y. As a tethered generation for whom instant response through e-mail and text messaging is the norm, this group looks for instant feedback. Generation Y will eventually redefine how business communicates and shares messages (Timmermann, 2007). No longer will the yearly

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review suffice, Generation Y will look for and require monthly, if not more frequent oneto-one review sessions. The Carleton University study (Mayeda, 2004) listed Salary as the most important job attribute for Generation Y. Considering this generational subculture is the best educated of the four groups, the expectations for a high salary is no more surprising than expectations for instant feedback, and expectations for technology. Listed below are the top five work-related job functions Generation Y seeks: 1. Good Salary 2. Advancement Opportunities 3. Interesting Work 4. Work-Life Balance 5. Good Benefits Interestingly, although advancement opportunities did not make the top ten lists for Baby Boomers or the Silent Generation, and came in as number nine for Generation X, Generation Y saw this job attribute as extremely important for them. Another notable finding was Interesting Work was also not in the top five for either the Baby Boomer Generation or the Silent Generation, but was listed as the most important characteristic for Generation X. For Generation Y, Interesting Work was listed as the third most important job attribute. Only Generation X and Generation Y shared two of the three top job attributes which may be a direct link to the tethering environment Generation Y grew up with.

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Career Coaching Application As previously pointed out, one of the key fundamental responsibilities for any coach is to ensure he or she does not bring predetermined judgments to the table when working with clients. Although certain motivational behaviors may be documented for a specific generational group, this does not mean every client who is a member of the specific group will share these same attributes. Rather, the intent of this research paper is to make awareness of these studies. Of equal importance however, is to make awareness of motivational influences based upon the coachs generational subculture. According to a recent study published, the majority of professional coaches are members of the Baby Boomer generation. (Liljenstrand & Nebeker, 2008). This is not surprising when one considers the recent popularity of the profession. Although coaching has been around for years, it has only been within the past couple of decades that performance coaching lost its negative connotation. Historically, when one was targeted for performance coaching, it usually meant he or she was facing the critical consequences of losing their job. Performance coaching was often considered as a last attempt to turning around the employee. During the Baby Boomer era, the coaching profession was marketed in a completely new perspective. No longer was performance coaching targeted towards the marginal employee; businesses began seeing the value of focused coaching on their superstar employees as well. Over time, the benefits of performance coaching within industry evolved to life coaching outside of business. In 2006, Baby Boomers between the ages of 42 and 60 years totaled an estimated 78 million and comprised 26.1% of the total U.S. population (U.S. Census Bureau, n.d.).
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Not only did Baby Boomers represent a significant share of the coaching population, the majority of clients were also of the same generational subculture (Liljenstrand & Nebeker, 2008). Based upon previous studies made, the Baby Boomer generation shared their own unique values based upon their subculture. Whereas Generation Y faced no significant turmoil in their upbringing, the Baby Boomer Generation grew up during a very volatile period in history. Influencing this subculture was the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, the Cold War and several high profile assassinations. In many ways, Baby Boomers shaped the American culture. This was the group who led the Civil Rights movement, womens equality, and the rights for the handicap. Rather than accepting a war, many protested against Americans involvement in Vietnam. Rather than continuing with the status quo, this was the group who recognized the injustice and unfairness of segregation. This was the group who practiced duck and cover drills during school in case of an atomic attack. Although Boomers could be found at all levels of an organization, because of their numbers and experience in the workforce, a large percentage of Boomers held the highest executive management positions. A statistical snapshot in 2006 of Chief Executive Officers from S&P 500 companies found 69% were over the age of 50 (Leading CEOs: A Statistical Snapshot of S&P 500 Leaders, 2006). As a result, Boomers managing employees from all four subcultures are not uncommon. The same Carleton University study, cited previously in discussion of Generation Y (Mayeda, 2004) listed the following five job characteristics deemed most important to the Baby Boomer generation: 1. Work-life balance
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2. Good Benefits 3. Work that is compatible to ones moral values 4. Fulfilling work 5. Work makes use of abilities Again, it would be presumptuous to believe every Baby Boomer coach or Generational Y client shares the same values as documented, but the understanding that underlying beliefs based upon era of influence may be present within each subculture cannot be dismissed. For example, a Baby Boomer coach may place a high value on work-life balance in their own life. The coach may associate with others within his or her age range that also place significant value on work-life balance. If this value is based upon the era of upbringing, the roots may go much deeper than if the value is based upon other influential factors. The value may even become an individuals core morality. Enter the Generational Y client who doesnt share the same value of work-life balance and the coaching process could easily become the coachs agenda rather than the clients agenda. The expectations of the coaching process may also be different based upon the generational subculture. As a tethered generation for whom instant response through email and text messaging is the norm, Generation Y often looks for instant feedback. For this generation, technology has always existed (Goldgehn, 2004). Like the Silent Generation, most Boomers had little exposure to technology when first entering the workforce and learned to adjust to the introduction of the first personal computers. Although this group has learned to tolerate the digital age, most continue to prefer a personal style of communication (Dols, Landrum, & Wieck, 2010). Planned
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rather than impromptu one-to-one meetings, phone calls, text messages and e-mails, have historically worked best for this subculture. Conclusion Effective coaching requires the coach to be non-judgmental. When coaching clients from a different generational culture, the coach must remain cognizant their core values may have foundations based upon the era of their upbringing. Although these values work for the coach, they may be in direct conflict with the values which are currently working for the client. Wanting to give well-meaning advice is an a common characteristic for those who perceive others carrying misaligned values, but as pointed out by the International Coach Academy (Creating Awareness, 2002) advice often results to emphasize and underline a problem: To make others feel guilty. As ICA points out, when others feel guilty, their energy goes into repelling those feelings of guilt rather than moving forward in the coaching process.

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References Baldonado, A. M., & Spangenburg, J. (2009, September 2009). Leadership and the Future: Gen Y Workers and Two-Factor Theory. The Journal of American Academy of Business, Cambridge, 15(), 99-103. Crampton, S. M., & Hodge, J. W. (2007, Dec 2007). Generations in the Workplace: Understanding Age Diversity. The Business Review, Cambridge, 9(1), 16-22. Creating Awareness [Learning Level 1 Module]. (2002). International Coach Academy: International Coach Academy. Dols, J., Landrum, P., & Wieck, L. (2010). Leading and Managing an Intergenerational Workforce. Creative Nursing, 16(2), 68-74. Durkin, D. (2009, May 22, 2009). Integrating the Multigenerational Workforce. New Hampshire Business Review, 31(11), 31. Goldgehn, L. A. (2004, April 8, 2004). Generation Who, What, Y? What You Need to Know About Generation Y. International Journal of Educational Advancement, 5(1), 24-34. Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional Intelligence (Tenth Ed.). New York, New York: Bantan Dell. Leading CEOs: A Statistical Snapshot of S&P 500 Leaders. (2006). Retrieved from http://content.spencerstuart.com/sswebsite/pdf/lib/2005_CEO_Study_JS.pdf Liljenstrand, A. M., & Nebeker, D. M. (2008). COACHING SERVICES: A LOOK ATCOACHES, CLIENTS, AND PRACTICES. American Psychological Association and the Society of Consulting Psychology, 60(1), 55-77.
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Mayeda, A. (2004, 2004, June 6). Show us the money: World of work has a new generation with new priorities. The Province, p. A60. Sprague, C. (2008, February 13, 2008). The Silent Generation Meets Generation Y: How to Manage a Four Generation Workforce with Panache (White Paper). Retrieved from Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges Tyler, K. (2007, May 2007). The Tethered Generation. HRMagazine, 52(5), 40-46. U.S. Census Bureau. (2010). Employment Status. Retrieved from http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/STTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=01000US&qr_name=ACS_2009_5YR_G00_S2301&-ds_name=ACS_2009_5YR_G00_ U.S. Census Bureau. (n.d.). http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/age/general-age.html#bb

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