Principle vs Process: The Gen Z Dilemma

by Ben Barton / November 24, 2020

Coaching and training have been around for as long as there have been skills to coach and train. The ability to effectively pass on skills and experience and to improve and expand existing skills has been central to humans advancing beyond pointed sticks and cave paintings to self-landing rockets and augmented reality.

We also know that the world moves and changes faster now than it ever has, and the same goes for generational shifts. The shift from Baby Boomer to Millennial to Generation Z has been more dramatic with every step, and many industries are struggling to keep up.

In order to stay relevant, let alone successful, in the next ten or fifteen years, it’s essential that we are able to coach and train current and future generations effectively – and that process hinges on agility.


Principle Over Process

Any business leader or manager would agree that following best practice is a good thing. The struggle comes in being able to identify when those practices and processes are no longer actually best, and having the agility to pivot to a more effective process.

There is a tendency among people in general, but particularly among coaches, to stick to what worked for them and force it to work for other people. Trust the process, and everything else will follow.

I want to establish a different mentality; principle over process.

There are foundational principles to coaching that will always be relevant – things like building rapport, being agnostic to the result, remaining flexible; all core components of effective coaching.

But the way you implement those things – the process – can and should change from session to session, and even as granular as from coachee to coachee.


What About Generation Z?

Let’s bring this back to Generation Z. It’s common knowledge by this point that attention spans have shrunk (and continue to shrink) and the on-demand mentality sits at the core of the everyday life of Generation Z.

The processes we’ve followed for coaching millennials are becoming less and less relevant as Gen Z begins to infiltrate the workforce. It is imperative that we adapt and tailor our process to serve the people we’re coaching.

That doesn’t mean abandoning the principles that underpin coaching, but rather ensuring we are providing that coaching in a way that is relevant; agility without compromise. 

At Mentor Group, we follow the GROW coaching model – Goal, Reality, Options, Will. 

Whilst this dictates the way we approach a coaching session, every coach is encouraged to adapt and modify each segment to best suit and serve the people they’re coaching. An effective session could take 5 minutes or 3 hours depending on the needs of the coachees.

That’s the heart of principle over process: holding fast to the central tenets of coaching whilst remaining open-handed with the practicalities. 

It’s that mentality that drives our Coaching as a Service solution – on-demand coaching tailored to you and your people, delivered in a format that is relevant in the modern world. 

You can learn more about Coaching as a Service by getting in touch with our team of market-leading coaching experts – it might just be the key to unlocking the potential in your people.

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Ben Barton

Ben Barton

Using words to inform, persuade and entertain. From Travel Safety to the NFL, I write about anything and everything. Except for golf.