With the onset of technology, some managers may experience role reversals when coaching and mentoring their younger subordinates. Simons (2010) addresses leveraging generational work styles to meet organizational goals.
- How can these same generational differences play a role in coaching and mentoring processes?
- Discuss the dynamics of a work environment in which generational differences can influence the communications style of the manager/coach.
- Describe the differences in the mentoring expectations of Generation X and Y.
The workforce is currently comprised of people from different generation and thus with different perspectives, attitude, and technological knowhow toward their jobs. It is therefore important for human resource managers to understand the difference in generation even when structuring their mentoring and coaching process. For instance, generation Y is greener in the workplace and it appreciates mentoring from the senior as long as one has knowledge to share. This means, a single mentee in generation Y can have different mentors. This happens even when a mentee is assigned to a single mentor and thus, they can easily initiate a conflicting relationship with their assigned mentor. This is different from generation X who did not receive a lot of mentorship while entering to the job market. They therefore prefer trying their own skills without much follow up or mentorship. They only take guidance where need be, especially while they want to upgrade to the next career level such as leadership (Cekada, 2012).
Different generations in the work place behave differently based on their life experience, how they have been raised and what they have experienced. For instance, generation Y highly prefers instant and short communication through messages, emails, chats, phone calls, and blogs among other things. They highly embrace the modern communication technology. Although generation X also has some technological aspect in them, they still believe in official communication and thus, they would prefer email form of communication. In addition, generation X hates a lot of supervision and they may only need small guidance while necessary. On the contrary, generation Y prefer team work where they can share knowledge and skills in problems solving. In this regard, managers have to understand the generation they are dealing with to handle their communication and coaching based on the generation preference and anticipation. Generation Y also like learning more by use of graphics and less of text, compared to generation X which is more comfortable with text (Cekada, 2012).
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