Coaching to Millennials’ Strengths, Not Weaknesses
I’ve always believed that you can get more out of an employee by focusing on their strengths, not harping on their weaknesses. This is particularly true for Millennials. Born between 1982 – 2004, Millennials have been treated ‘special’ by their parents, teachers and coaches for most of their lives. Their development has been oriented around positive self-esteem—they are the “we can accomplish anything and overcome any obstacle generation.” Their cultural icons are Harry Potter, the do-gooder wizard who defeats the fantastical evil forces of doom, and more recently, Hunger Game’s Katniss Everdeen, who perseveres through daunting environs overlorded by feckless Baby Boomers. Millennials are ready for big challenges and will rise to the occasion when you focus on their strengths.
But before you focus on their strengths, you have to know what their strengths are! One of the quickest and most accurate ways to do this is introducing them to the StrengthsFinder assessment. This online assessment tool costs less than $10 and your employees can complete the entire assessment in less than 30-minutes. The results are instantaneous and you can start coaching around strengths immediately.
Full disclosure: StrengthsFinder was developed by Gallup and while I was a manager there, I used it successfully for almost 10 years, as did hundreds of Gallup clients.
Once you’ve established your Millennial’s “top five” strengths, spend a half-hour reviewing with them to make sure you are both on the same page. From here, you can build a development strategy for their success around their strengths. This is the kind of mentoring that your Millennials want and need.