Coaching will play a pivotal role in developing leaders of the future, equipping them with the skills and knowledge to adapt to rapid change.
Historian Yuval Noah Harari, bestselling author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, believes that the rise of the internet and the digital landscape means human civilization is currently undergoing the most fundamental change since the industrial revolution. And as with the industrial revolution, the workplace is one of the areas where this change will be most keenly felt.
Automation, remote work, and changing values are just a few of the issues that workplaces of the future will have to contend with. But ultimately, the great challenge facing entrepreneurs of the future will be preparing their employees (and themselves) to cope with change, which is happening at a faster rate than ever before in human history.
The role coaches must play in the future of business
Krista Skidmore, partner and co-founder of FlashPoint Leadership Consulting, writes that coaching used to be focused on the past, in that it was performance-related, and would address whether goals and standards were being met. However, over the past five years, “we have seen a shift toward coaching as a powerful, future-focused development approach”.
The indications are that coaching will play a pivotal role in developing leaders of the future, who in turn will need to be equipped with the skills and knowledge to lead the workplaces of the future. This goes beyond dealing with the new technologies that will be introduced into the workplace. The experience of work as a whole will change, and here are some of the challenges that leaders of the future will face as a result:
Preparing for the unknown
Skidmore writes that “being better able to adapt to dynamic, shifting, or complex situations is a key capability for future roles, since leaders are often dealing with the unknown and ambiguous”. Change is happening at such a rapid rate now, that there’s little point in preparing leaders for a specific kind of change, such as a new technology that has become predominant in the last five years, yet could be redundant within the next ten years. It’s more important that leaders have the skills to adapt to change in a general sense, and to plan for the unknown.
Facilitating an inclusive environment
Magdalena Mook, CEO and executive director of the International Coach Federation (ICF), writes that “mobile workforces, multiple generations with different values and ideas, and marketplace competition from around the globe are pushing organizations to embrace diversity not just in their customers, but their employees”.
As globalisation results in an increasingly smaller world, workplaces grow more diverse, crossing cultural and generational lines. Organisations need to build an inclusive culture, where everyone feels that their voice is being heard.
Coaches can help equip leaders with the necessary skill sets to achieve this. The role of the coach in this context is to create a safe environment where employees and the leadership team can have an honest conversation, so that together they can navigate the challenges facing relationships that govern future workplaces.
Promoting employee engagement
Workplaces are undergoing a generational transition as well as a technological transition. New generations entering the workplace have different priorities, and a gallup report reveals just how profound those differences are. They value the importance of growth and development over salary and promotion. Most importantly, younger generations do not want bosses, they want coaches; leaders who value them as people as well as employees.
Yet, as Marcel Lucien Goldschmid, president of Forum Management Montreux, writes in his Linkedin article Why Traditional Management is Failing: 5 Key Factors; many organisations have failed to adapt to this transition. They still favor the command-and-control, top-down management styles of old, favouring rigid hierarchies and killing innovation in the process.
In a world where select skills will become more valuable, leading to increasingly fierce competition for talent among organisations, employee retention will become a high priority, and businesses that fail to evolve will lose out. The role of coaches will be invaluable in helping organisations build a culture that promotes employee engagement, gradually abandoning rigid hierarchical structures in favour of environments that encourage growth and innovation.
Fortune favours the bold
Above all else, coaches will need to help employers and employees alike deal with the challenges that arise from rapid change. Technological advancement, job insecurity, and fiercer competition all result in uncertainty, stress and ultimately, a reduced willingness to take risks. Yet the willingness to take risks will be critical in the workplaces of the future. It all comes down to mentality at the end, and coaches understand this better than anyone.
If you’re excited by the potential of coaching, and the role it can play in shaping the workplaces of the future, then you can learn more about it by studying coaching at SACAP. There are a range of coaching courses on offer, including part-time and full-time as well as online options. For more information, enquire now.