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David Ringwood & Dr Robert Kabacoff

Coaching a multi-generational workforce

Theme: Coaching in context
Area: Coaching
Type: Research & how it could be applied in practice

Session on Friday, Jul 8th, 11:50
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David Ringwood is Vice-president of Client Development for the Management Research Group. David has several decades of experience working with clients in all aspects of leadership, organisational development, and executive coaching. He began his career in investment banking with JP Morgan back in the late 1980s, then moved into professional services and consulting. He has worked with organisations such as Korn/Ferry International and Mercer HR Consulting and has lived in Ireland, UK, Eastern Europe and Asia/Pacific. His academic interests are in the area of Cognitive Linguistics, specifically in relation to psychometric scale interval accuracy and the conceptual precision of scale anchors. David is a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society and is Past President of the Institute of Business Analysis & Consulting.

Dr Rob Kabacoff is Vice-president of Research at Management Research Group. Rob is a clinical psychologist and researcher and consultant in the areas of diversity and leadership, cross-cultural issues, and the development of effective leaders in a global economy. Since joining MRG in 1998, Rob has worked with organisations around the world to help identify the leadership practices most likely to bring success in a given industry, culture and context. Rob is also also the author of several books on research and new approaches to understanding data.


We have entered into a remarkable period where there are four generations working side by side in the workforce. As older workers remaining employed longer, multi-generational cohorts are increasingly working side by side. Each generation brings unique perceptions, values, and expectations to their organisations. Understanding these differences is vital because they create the potential for both synergy and conflict.

In order to understand how younger and older workers differ in their approach to leadership and the emotional drivers that motivate them, Management Research Group recently completed a study of the leadership approach of 50,000 executives and managers in 12 European countries. Participants were compared on the 22 leadership practices measures by the Leadership Effectiveness Analysis™. The personal motivations of a subset of these participants (N=9,000) were explored using the 17 emotional drivers measured by the Individual Directions Inventory™.

We describe the similarities and differences we found. Differences in expectations, desires, and beliefs, and behaviours can lead to misunderstandings, conflicted relationships, and unproductive environments. However, we can use a greater understanding of these differences to increase team performance, employee engagement, and the retention of valuable workers. Suggestions for coaching multi-generational teams are discussed in detail.

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