Coaching Conversations Merge the Leadership Gap

Women Coaching

By Greg Price, Program Director for the Master of Arts in Leadership Program

“The quality of the conversation reflects the quality of the leader!” (Thompson, 2013, p. 14). This is worth remembering as conversations tend to change people’s lives, so without a conversation, there is no change (Thompson, 2013).

What Thompson (2013) suggested in the above quote can provide motivation in the way communication enables change.  Striking up a conversation can be effective when speaking across generations, especially between baby boomer leaders and Millennials. This generational divide appears to be a communications challenge for U.S. organizations (Frear, G. 2013).  According to the US Census (2010), 40% of all U.S. employees are expected to be Millennial (Gen Y) by 2020.

Integrating Leadership Programs

Developing leadership programs can be a way for organizations to overcome this challenge and human resource departments may play a significant role in the development of these programs (Strubler & Redekop, 2010). The change process won’t be easy, however, as change is much more than simply putting a program in place and managing it through its intended process. On the upside, creating what a learning organization may be the needed requirement to bring the Gen Y generation into the leadership mix (Strubler & Redekop, 2010).

With one million Millennial entering the workforce per year, this group does not believe they come with the necessary skills to lead today’s organizations. Lykins and Pace (2013) suggested that this group believes that they require specialized leadership development programs. The bigger challenge may be found in the way today’s organizational leaders identify with the problem; they are having difficulty understanding that this problem exists, nor are they finding solutions to secure the future and develop the necessary leadership programs to support future leadership development (Lykins & Pace, 2013).

Leadership Development

Leadership development will play an important role in addressing the coming leadership gap, yet a one size fits all program does not provide the right mix of necessary components to solve the development these future leaders need or want. Coaching, along with training, may be an answer.

Fine (2013) found that coaching alone increases personal productivity over 22%, yet by incorporating training into the mix, the results are more impressive, delivering an 88% increase in productivity.

As a component to leadership, developing an organizational coaching emphasis alongside the many training programs that organizations are already so adept at delivering could be a solution to what ails industry at finding a working solution to this issue; delivering tailored solutions to individuals through coaching, coupled with training, may help create the balance needed in today’s organizations.


Age and sex composition in the United States: 2010 census brief. (2011, May). United States Census Bureau website.

Fine, A. (2013). Coaching Culture. Leadership Excellence, 30, 13-14.

Frear, G. (2013). Gen-Y questions leadership. New Zealand Management, 60, 6.

Lykins, L., & Pace, A. (2013). Mastering millennial leadership development. T+D, 67(5), 42-45.

Strubler, D. C., & Redekop, B. W. (2010). Entrepreneurial human resource leadership: A conversation with Dwight Carlson. Human Resource Management, 49(4), 793-804.

Thompson, G. (2013). Three Conversations. Leadership Excellence, 30, 14.

Published June 7, 2016



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