top of page

Family Offices & Family Businesses. Coaching Through The Top 3 Intergenerational Challenges

Updated: Sep 16, 2022

As humans, we have always been working through changes in our surroundings to survive and evolve. Family Coaching is a fast-growing area with evidence-based papers looking at the effectiveness of goal-focused coaching for families as is shown here. Here are some questions you can ask yourself and your family members to encourage communication between the current and next generations. Although some of the questions below are family specific, many can also be used for close employees and other close family connections.

Changes In The External Environment

From digitalization to the metaverse to environmental concerns, how family offices or businesses may need to be operated to survive and thrive is changing enormously. There are huge differences in the way the current generation views the world and how the next generation may be seeing these changes occurring.

The metaverse and how we are going to do business in the future and changes in our working environment mean that we may need to reframe how we view digital transformational changes. Environmental and CSR changes and requirements are also affecting how we think and react.

Questions to ask each other as a family to help you move forward where there may be conflict OR where you might want to learn more about each other are as follows:

  • What are the long-term effects and short-term effects of making the changes and adaptions?

  • What happens if you do not make the changes?

  • What happens when you do?

  • What is stopping you from making the change?

  • Is your ego/ fear getting in the way of you moving forward?

  • How are you communicating your fears/ your resistance to the changes needed?

  • Are you listening to each other during conversations about change?

Differences In Personal Values

Many of us have different values. Intergenerational values may change depending on the external factors above. Also personal, and situational differences. Children, spouses, illness and other external influencing factors might affect what we value and what our values are.

Listen carefully to each other. Allow time to talk and then think about how you can both move forward and understand each other better.

Questions to understand each other from a value perspective

  • What do you value the most in life/ in your family/ in your business?

  • How does this shape your personal values?

  • Why are they important to you?

  • If this is different to each other, how can you understand what is important to each other and communicate this effectively?

Differences In Ultimate Personal And Professional Goals

Understanding this can also be important for harmony within family businesses, family and in fact any business. An ultimate goal might be personal, professional or they may be interlinked. Where there is misalignment of ultimate goals is where communication breakdown may occur.

Questions you can ask each other to create effective communication:

  • What is your ultimate goal?

  • What are your family members' or next-generation successor goal?

  • Where there is not alignment, how can you understand each other’s priorities?

  • What is the "why" behind the ultimate goal?

  • How can you respect the need to move towards each family member’s goals when they may not be aligned?

  • How does this affect your business and how can you ensure effective legacy planning for the next generation of leadership?

Asking all of the above questions within your family, or family business, listening carefully and waiting before you speak or make a judgement, can save a family relationship, or family business. As well as ensure the survival of businesses with minimum disruption and maximum harmony.

Caroline Langston is the Co-Founder of Successful Consultants Ltd, an Executive, Personal and Career Development Coaching company in Hong Kong and New York. Caroline is dedicated to coaching people for performance success, wellness and happiness in their careers and lives. She is degree qualified with a Certificate in Professional Coaching Mastery. She is also a Professional Certified Coach (International Coaching Federation), has a Certificate in Team Coaching from the EMCC and further certifications in Neuro Linguistic Programming at Master Practitioner and Coach level.


bottom of page