As the modern workplace evolves, so must its associated practices. An office used to mean a fixed location, now it’s anywhere with an internet connection or something to write with. A multi-million dollar business used to require tons of employees and complicated infrastructure, now it can be a teenager with a Shopify website. Meetings used to always be face to face. Emails used to be faxes. Instant payments used to be checks. You get the idea.
Ambitious entrepreneurs maximize their time; to fit in more of what matters and do less of what doesn’t. More is automated, delegated and eliminated than ever before. It makes sense that coaching is up for discussion.
What is microcoaching?
Microcoaching is an alternative to traditional coaching, consisting of fewer and more frequent questions, guidance and assistance. Instead of scheduling hour-long conversations or face-to-face meetings, microcoaching can involve a five-minute chat every few days, and the exchange of voice notes or text-based questions and requests between coach and client. The principle is that frequent doses of guidance can help keep someone on track better than an in-depth discussion every two weeks, for example.
Microcoaching is used by trainers who want to adapt their practice to a changing workplace, as well as the evolving requirements of a modern entrepreneur. It is used in larger organizations, to enable senior team members to offer support to juniors, or to enable peer-to-peer development. It can be used in entrepreneurial networks or between friendship groups. When you spend time with someone who helps you find solutions or holds you accountable, you can be on the receiving end of microcoaching.
Formal, structured coaching has its place, but for some clients of coaches it is surplus to requirements and shorter, more frequent bursts of motivation, inspiration and nudging can prove to be more beneficial.
What makes microcoaching so effective?
Micro-coaching, by its very nature, allows for more frequent catch-up and a real-time method of staying in touch. This means that challenges can be assessed and dissected and an action plan created without waiting for the next scheduled session, which could be weeks or months in the future. This is especially helpful if the microcoaching recipient feels they may have made a mistake, could have handled a situation better, or they have a big decision they want to discuss.
The faster implementation of microcoaching can make the recipient more efficient in their work. Whether self-employed or employed, they are less likely to waste time following practices that are ineffective or go too far down a rabbit hole before they get caught. Feedback loops are far shorter, meaning actions can be redirected accordingly. Furthermore, the microcoaching recipient can access frequent doses of motivation, keeping levels high instead of allowing booms and busts.
One of the key benefits of microcoaching is its flexible nature, especially when communication is delivered asynchronously. This means that the coach and their client can exchange thoughts and questions in their own time, when it suits. This removes the need to find time in two busy schedules and block off an afternoon for a conversation and review period. Long coaching conversations can be tiring for both parties, and they are not always effective. Furthermore, long coaching conversations may require an initial phase of catch-up, which microcoaching negates the need for.
How can entrepreneurs benefit from microcoaching?
Aspiring entrepreneurs are hungry for knowledge, including feedback and tips on how to improve. They can open up to micro-coaching by letting key people around them know that regular feedback is welcome.
Within a formal coaching relationship, where an entrepreneur has commissioned a coach, they can adapt the schedule so that they communicate in smaller series and incorporate ad hoc phone calls, shorter catch ups or voice notes, saving the longer sessions for when deep dives are needed or when is something important to discuss. This adaptation may be welcomed by your trainer and make the scheme more effective.
Outside of a formal coaching relationship, for example in mastermind groups or between friendship groups consisting of entrepreneurs, each member can manage and receive microcoaching according to the boundaries of those involved. If a friend is explaining a business problem, for example, I might ask them if I can provide feedback, ask some questions, or suggest a new way of framing the problem. In turn, they may hear about a business challenge I’m facing and ask if it’s okay for them to investigate, to help me find a solution.
When microcoaching is met with an open attitude and willingness to learn, it can be effective. When unprompted, defensiveness can occur and no solutions are reached, so it’s important to check before giving input.
Entrepreneurs who question every aspect of their career and work will inevitably find better ways of doing business. Modern businesses have reimagined what is possible; Applying the same to personal development can unlock the progress ambitious business owners seek.