How do you work with someone who has been in the workforce for thirty years (50+ years of age) as opposed to three years (30-40’s years of age)?  Take into consideration the following scenario.

First time church planter (in their 30’s) – high on vision & low on experience.  I coached a new church planter who primarily asked “how to” questions to process his philosophy of ministry, challenges he encountered and self-discovered action steps.  I challenged his thinking by asking pointed questions to help him realize that he has the resources inside himself to take the next steps in his church planting journey.  The new church planter is in many ways, unaware of what he/she does not know.

Contrast him with a seasoned leader – high on vision & high on experience.  The seasoned leader (50+ years of age) asked “what” and “when” questions.  He has a rich experience base to draw from and his confidence runs deep.  The seasoned leader is in many ways more aware of what he/she does not know.

Following are reflection questions for you as the coach to consider during the when coaching across generational lines:

  • What questions are they asking?
  • What kind of help are they seeking from you?
  • What is the best way for you to support them as a coach?

There exists real differences that are important to recognize when coaching across generational and experiential lines – see the Generational Differences resources for more insight into these subtleties.

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