A strong coaching culture can help build a brighter future and a lasting legacy

By Roshan Thiran

Did you know that, by 2020, half of the global workforce is expected to be made up of Millennials? Looking ahead, they will surely be leading the way in shaping organisationa culture as they aspire to take on greater responsibility through leadership roles.

Millennials (those born from the early 1980s—late 90s) generally possess many positive traits that can truly help to drive innovation and create more authentic and meaningful collaborations as a result of their desire to make a lasting impact on the world.

They also have an insatiable thirst for learning, are fearless when challenging traditional hierarchical, and place a greater focus on getting the work done however and wherver best, rather than worrying about the number of hours put in at the office. In short, this generation has created a shift in the way we now approach the way we do business. It's now all about building relationships, developing authentic connections, and placing a premium on having purpose as a driving force.

All of this is underpinned by the idea that what you get back is inextricably tied to what you give to others.

With a greater emphasis bein placed on building relationships (internally and externally), Millennials might have the right attitude and desires when it comes to doing business — but it's a different thing altogether to be able to package those as practical skills on the ground.

Much has been written about the traits of Millennials — and much has been somewhat unfair. There are many positive and not-so-positive qualities to be found across all generations, and every generation believes the one to follow it lacks in many areas. Personally, I prefer to focus on the positives, and even where shortcomings are to be found, surely it's better to look at how they can be improved rather than to criticise through the nostalgic lens of "the good old days"?

One particular shortcoming that's occasionally pinned to Millennials is the lack of "soft skills", such as communication, negotiation, and the ability to focus on one task at a time. Particularly when it comes to leadership roles, these three qualities are key to being an effective leader.

Thankfully, among the many positive traits of Millennials is their willingness to seek feedback and ability to adapt to change. A recent research collaboration by the The International Coach Federation (ICF) and Human Capital Institute (HCI) looked at how first-time Millennial managers can benefit from coaching and also in being trained how to effectively use their own coaching skills to help their peers and team members to grow.

As Magdalena Mook — ICF Global CEO/Executive Director — suggests, "It is crucial for organisations to know how to help them grow and prepare for the challenges and opportunities of the future,"

The research collaboration discovered that, contrary to popular belief, there are more similarities across the generations than there are differences. For example, respondents across a range of age groups considered opportunities to learn and develop, as well as flexible working arrangements, as the most appealing benefits within the workplace.

It also implied a strong case for the need for organisations to build a strong coaching culture. Of the 670 research respondents, 61 per cent of the employees were highly engaged, compared to 53 per cent from organisations without strong coaching cultures. Furthermore, 46 per cent of respondents in companies with strong coaching cultures reported above-average revenue growth for 2016 in relation to industry peers, compared to 39 per cent of those from all other organisations.

It's certainly no secret that developing a strong coaching culture is one of the central pillars that supports lasting success and a stable legacy for organisations, particularly when we consider the speed of change and other factors in the business world that now requires a leadeship model built on the ability to be agile, authentic, collaborative and empowering.

As observed by the Ivy Business Journal, "Executives and HR managers know coaching is the most potent tool for inducing positive personal change, ensuring better-than-average odds of success and making the change stick for the long term."

If leaders of today want their organisations of tomorrow build upon current successes, we need to ensure a leadership pipeline that puts people at the heart of our vision for the long-term. And while it makes no sense to hand the baton to our future leaders and expect them to run over the same ground we have covered, there are surely many lessons we have learned that can be offered to the next generation. This will stand them in good stead as they push for progress and strive to make their mark on the world.

To that end, the urgent need to build, develop and nurture a strong coaching culture can't be overstated. If we leaders are serious about creating a lasting legacy, then it begins by empowering those around us who have a great potetial to take the best of what we have to offer and add that to their own unique mix of skills, capabilities and insights. As a result, they will be able to apply their talents not only to ensuring the growth and prosperity of the organisation, but to making a greater impact to our communities and wider society as a whole. This is where they can truly find meaning and fulfilment in the contributions that they make.