It seems that societal norms—specifically the belief that younger people are somehow less qualified—can be internalized in the Millennial coach, and, if left unconscious,can negatively affect the chances of establishing and maintaining a successful coaching partnership with an older client. However, when Millennials—or coaches of any age—develop awareness of this internal landscape, they move toward taking responsibility for themselves and personally journey deeper into confidence as a coach.
For example, a Millennial coach might assume an older client has things figured out and that he, as the younger person, has nothing to offer. He might also assume the older client is thinking the same things. As you can imagine, this disempowering combination of thoughts would likely undermine his ability to see himself and the client as resourceful and whole. His inner uncertainty would distract from the coaching conversation.
However, in debunking these negative assumptions and working to change his internal landscape, the Millennial coach can overcome barriers.
The Millennial in the example above could wholeheartedly pursue excellence and enjoyment in the coaching opportunities he is given. He could choose to stop fretting about his “rank”and stop guessing what others are thinking, instead, leveraging his age as an asset. With these shifts, a process of integration and mindful-retraining is taking place; the Millennial coach is more comfortable bringing the gifts of his own presence to coaching and all his work in the world, and he has taken responsibility for the only factor he can influence: himself. Clients will notice the difference! Although the Millennial may still be aware of his age, it is no longer getting in the way.
Effective coaching elevates a powerful, authentic connection—a special kind of conversation and flow between coach and client—that makes age irrelevant. When coaches, Millennials or older, are at their best, they are fully present and able to effortlessly navigate the dynamics that arise. When moments come up in conversation where differences matter, these coaches are able to name and hold the dynamics authentically, and, in doing so, to reinforce the transformative power of coaching.
The path to mastery seems to reside beyond a willingness to shape our internal landscape. Regardless of age, we decide how far we’ll go.
This article was originally published on ICF CoachingWorld.