1 Landau, Joel. Health-care dilemma: 10,000 boomers retiring each day. CNBC. October 3, 2017. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/03/health-care-dilemma-10000-boomers-
retiring-each-day.html. Accessed January 17, 2018.
2 Building a Coaching Culture with Millennial Leaders is the fourth research report released by the International Coach Federation (ICF) and Human Capital Institute (HCI) on
how organizations use coaching to help employees at all levels grow their skills, enhance their value and reach their professional goals. The benchmarking study was published
in 2014, and subsequent studies have explored the relationship between organizational coaching cultures and employee engagement, managers and leaders, and millennial
leaders. Further information about this research suite is available at https://coachfederation.org/research/building-a-coaching-culture/.
3 ICF collects these case studies as part of the International Prism Award program, which annually recognizes businesses and organizations with coaching initiatives that fulfill
rigorous professional standards, address key strategic goals, shape organizational culture, and yield discernible and measurable positive impacts. Case studies of award-winning organizations are published online at https://coachfederation.org/prism-award/.
4 Carolyn Baird. Myths, exaggerations and uncomfortable truths. IBM Institute for Business Value. January 2015. https://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/gbs/
thoughtleadership/millennialworkplace/. Accessed June 2017.
Giving First-time Managers
the Tools to Succeed
Baby boomers are leaving the workforce in droves, with Pew Research and the Social Security Administration
estimating that 10,000 men and women are retiring every day.1
The departure of baby boomers from management
and leadership roles means big changes for businesses and
organizations as a growing number of employees—including
many millennials—become first-time managers. 2
To better understand the needs and preferences of this
growing population of millennial leaders, the International
Coach Federation and Human Capital Institute partnered last
year to survey 670 individuals working in organizations across a
range of roles—including HR, learning development and talent
management—on what their organizations are doing to develop
first-time people managers.
Notably, this research debunked many pervasive myths
about the differences between millennials and their Gen X
and boomer predecessors. Survey responses showed that the
top-three work preferences are the same across most age groups:
development opportunities, career advancement and flexibility
at work. The top workplace values, endorsed by all age groups at
a proportion of 67 percent or more, are recognition for quality
work, manager support and opportunities to share feedback with
Respondents also indicated that coaching skills are essential
for first-time people managers. They rated coaching and
developing others ( 44 percent), engaging and inspiring others
( 41 percent) and having emotional intelligence ( 35 percent) as
the most valuable competencies for first-time people managers.
A strong business case can be made for investing in a
coaching culture where employees have access to professional
coach practitioners and to managers and leaders trained in
using coaching skills. Organizations with strong coaching
cultures indicate recent revenues above those of their
industry peer group ( 46 percent compared to 39 percent of
other responding organizations) and report higher employee
engagement (61 percent and 53 percent, respectively). Among
respondents who had received coaching, a strong majority (80
percent) reported positive impacts in areas including work
performance, communication skills, productivity, well-being
and business-management strategies.
However, only 36 percent of respondents reported that their
organizations offer coach-specific training to new managers.
When this training is available, it’s typically offered by
learning and development departments, HR departments and
internal coach practitioners, and it isn’t usually accredited by a
professional coaching organization.
There are some concrete steps organizations can make to
build strong coaching cultures that support the development of
first-time leaders and people managers of all ages:
1. Have a plan to secure buy-in from senior leaders and,
ultimately, all employees. Because coaching is a client-driven
process, it won’t succeed if it’s imposed upon your organization’s
people. Get buy-in by sharing case studies of award-winning
organizational coaching initiatives3, data on positive coaching
impacts and firsthand testimonials from employees who have
already received coaching and/or training in coaching skills.
2. Invest in a combination of external coach practitioners,
internal coach practitioners and managers and leaders using
coaching skills. Organizations with strong coaching cultures
leverage all three modalities when and where appropriate. For
example, many C-suite executives prefer working with external
coach practitioners, while internal coach practitioners can
deliver valuable support to new managers and leaders. Managers
and leaders trained to use coaching skills can add value to their
teams and colleagues across the organization.
3. Make training and professional development
nonnegotiable. Regardless of the modality, successful coaching
requires experience and training. It takes managers and leaders
between three and six months to become comfortable using
coaching skills. 4 To ensure a strong foundation for these skills,
organizations should invest in credible coach-specific training
oriented around core coaching competencies. Organizations
with strong coaching cultures also offer internal coaches and
managers/leaders opportunities for continuing professional
development, such as supervision, mentor coaching,
communities of practices, support in pursuing professional
coaching credentials and advanced training.
As the number of millennials assuming first-time people-manager roles grows, organizations need to ensure they are
ready to excel. Partnering with a professional coach practitioner
and receiving training to use coaching skills are both critical
investments in the ongoing development of managers and