I’ve learned that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something different. When it comes to franchise coaching, different generations tend to have different strengths, communication styles and ways of receiving messages. In this blog, I will go through coaching tips from the youngest, in the iGen generation through the Millennials, Xennials and Gen X, through to the Boomers.
The iGen generation is the youngest of franchise owners, and you will typically find them in family businesses, or in franchise systems that cater to young people (summer painting for example). This generation, who saw the millennials graduate to few jobs are more cautious and crave stability. They see work as constantly evolving. They are also highly collaborative, and see technology as a tool. As a result, these folks like to have a more direct relationship with their coach. I have worked with iGen franchisees where we would text each other and I became a kind of “on call” coach rather than scheduling lengthy meetings. Being available in short bursts at all hours helps this generation, who prefer to think for themselves over an authority figures, get what they need to succeed.
Known as the “Me” generation, the millennials were raised to believe they were “special”, but were welcomed into a world which had few “good” jobs along with high housing and educational costs. Millennials have an aspiration for freedom and flexibility and see work as a means to an end. To motivate Millennials, it is best to connect with the meaning behind what you are saying. More than the other generations, the Millennials are seeking purpose, and connecting that to the coaching goals is key. “Shining the spotlight” and celebrating the successes of Millennials in terms of awards and announcements can go a long way based on my experience. Having a leaderboard can also motivate Millennials.
The Xennials are a “micro-generation” who are a bridge between the cynicism of Generation X and the optimism of the Millennials. The category was invented because people born in this group relate neither to the Millennials nor Generation X and wanted to have a clearer identity. Xennials are a pleasure to work with since they are entrepreneurial, highly resourceful and care about purpose. When you work with them, you want to communicate the “why” behind everything. If you are patient and understanding with that, you will see extraordinary results.
The most resourceful generation and also the most cynical, Generation X grew up and went to school with limited internet, but quickly adjusted. This generation sees their career as a difficult challenge and crave work-life balance and flexibility. When coaching someone from Generation X, you want to level with them and be “real”. When coaching a Generation X franchisee, one phrase I have used is, “we are both on the same team, because we both want the brand to do well. That’s just the way it is.” Being down-to-earth like this helps Gen Xers feel comfortable and at ease. They tend to be loyal to a profession, not a brand, so that is good to remember.
Being the wealthiest generation that history has ever seen, the boomers bought 2/3 of new cars sold in the US in 2011 and earn more than double the income of their parents. Boomers are loyal, hardworking and enjoy mentoring. They prefer training in-person rather than online, and they prefer more formal, scheduled meetings, which can be lengthy. Sales contests with enticing prizes such as luxury holidays can be motivating for boomers, who are used to corporate environments. When coaching Boomers, it is good to take a professional approach, even quoting experts when needed.