Teach the young your business skills in a new, post-retirement career

There’s a whole new world out there for retirees that’s being overlooked. That world is full of young, often well-educated professionals who lack the workforce experience needed for good performance.

Barbara Barb Bowes Transitions
Barbara Bowes

Just in the last few weeks, I’ve met at least two people who retired from their jobs and then quickly went back to work. They returned to work not because they needed to from a financial perspective but because after settling into retirement, concluding all their travel plans and vigorously engaging in their hobbies, they still found something was still missing in their life. Then after much thought and self-analysis, these individuals recognized they missed the variety of intellectual stimulation they had been exposed to while in the workforce.

You’ll find that many individuals are returning to the workforce for this reason, although not necessarily full time; these retirees want to be able to control the what, when and where of their contribution to the workforce. At that though, most people only think about the traditional work options, such as part-time work, job sharing and short term contracts.

Valuable support for the young

However, in my view there’s a whole new world out there for retirees that’s being overlooked. And this world is full of young professionals who might be well educated but lack the experience and wisdom that years of experience bring. This lack of experience in the workforce creates opportunities for retirees through programs such as mentoring and personal coaching.

Personal coaching has a long history in the world of sports but it has only gained a respectable reputation for business organizations in the past few years. Initially it was seen as a valuable tool for helping to orient new executives, but today coaching is being accepted as a valuable support for any young professional. Coaching today involves training, educating, supporting, counselling, mentoring and/or assisting with performance improvement. And herein is the opportunity for retirees!

So, where does one start? First of all, examine all your skills and experience. Group these skills into topics such as sales, sales management, human resources, project management and/or any of the key skills utilized prior to retirement. Focus your attention on what you really like to do and what you were best at because it’s these skills that you can use to coach younger people and get paid for it.

For instance, many young people today have the education and technical skills in their field but they don’t know how to manage themselves within a larger organizational system. In particular, they don’t know how organizations work and they don’t know how to identify and assess the political influences that arise in their organization. Because of the generational gaps that exist, they may approach things from a position that’s too casual. These young people need coaching on how to present their ideas to management and/or how to overcome a career disappointment.

Once you’ve identified your skills and feel strongly about which skills you can teach others, you are ready to take action. Then, at this point, you have to decide if you want to volunteer your skills and/or if you wish to seek a fee for your service. If volunteering is your choice, then check out agencies such as Age and Opportunity and/or United Way and sign up for volunteer opportunities.

On the other hand, if you’ve decided to seek an income from business or professional coaching, then simply set yourself up as a sole proprietor and start your own consulting/coaching business. However, acquiring clients is more complex than simply putting an advertisement in the newspaper. Go back to your former employer(s), meet with senior managers and inquire what challenges they are facing with respect to their young professionals. Next, develop a plan with these managers to provide coaching and mentoring services. Be sure that you build a coaching program that meets the client’s business objectives and can be measured with respect to outcomes.

Coaching, today often referred to as executive coaching, business coaching and/or professional coaching, is a growing field that is perfect for retirees who want the stimulation and excitement of helping individuals grow and develop. However in some cases, while you may recognize you’ve got a large skillset, you aren’t confident in marketing yourself as a coach or consultant.

Train to be a coach

The solution for this anxiety is to take a course in how to be a coach. Since business coaching has grown as a profession, there are now plenty of training programs available. There are online distance education programs, weekend programs, five-day programs and six-month and one-year programs available all over the country. These programs will assist you to solidify a coaching process that is comfortable for your communication style, teach you how to market yourself and, at the same time, help you to develop a network within the coaching world itself.

Taking the route of becoming an executive, business or professional coach can be an exciting opportunity for a retiree and it is one that can continue for years to come. So, if you miss the intellectual challenge, check out this new and growing opportunity to see if it is right for you.

Barbara J. Bowes is president of Legacy Bowes Group, a leading human resource consulting firm. Barbara is also host of CJOB Bowes Knows.

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