As the modern workplace evolves, so must the practices associated with it. An office used to mean a fixed location, now it’s anywhere with an internet connection or something to write with. In the past, a multi-million dollar business required massive staffing and complicated infrastructure, now it can be a teen with a Shopify site. Meetings used to be face-to-face. Emails used to be faxes. Instant payments used to be checks. You get the idea.
Ambitious entrepreneurs maximize their time; Doing more of what is important and doing less of what is not important. More is being automated, delegated and eliminated than ever before. It is logical that coaching is negotiable.
What is micro coaching?
Microcoaching is an alternative to traditional coaching, consisting of smaller and more frequent questions, guidance and help. Instead of scheduling hour-long conversations or face-to-face meetings, microcoaching can involve a five-minute conversation every few days and the exchange of voice notes or text-based questions and cues between coach and client. The principle is that frequent doses of counseling can keep a person on track better than, say, an in-depth conversation every two weeks.
Microcoaching is used by coaches who want to adapt their working method to a changing workplace and to the changing requirements of a modern entrepreneur. It is used within larger organizations, to enable senior team members to provide support to juniors, or to facilitate peer-to-peer development. It can be used within entrepreneurial networks or between friendship groups. When you spend time with someone who helps you find solutions or holds you accountable, you may be on the receiving end of microcoaching.
Formal, structured coaching has its place, but for some clients of coaches it is redundant and shorter, more frequent bursts of motivation, inspiration and nudging may be more beneficial.
What makes microcoaching so effective?
Microcoaching naturally allows for more frequent catching up and a real-time method of keeping in touch. This means that challenges can be assessed and dissected and an action plan can be created without waiting for the next scheduled session, which can be weeks or even months in the future. This is especially helpful if the microcoaching recipient feels they made a mistake, could have handled a situation better, or has an important decision they’d like to discuss.
The faster implementation of microcoaching can make the recipient more effective in his work. Whether they are self-employed or employed, they are less likely to waste time pursuing practices that are ineffective or go too far down a rabbit hole before getting caught. Feedback loops are much shorter, meaning actions can be rerouted accordingly. In addition, the microcoaching recipient has access to frequent doses of motivation, keeping their levels up rather than allowing boom and bust.
One of the main advantages 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 on their own time, when it suits them. This eliminates the need to find time in two busy schedules and set aside an afternoon for a call and review period. Long coaching conversations can be exhausting for both parties and are not always effective. In addition, long coaching conversations may require an initial catch-up phase, which is not necessary due to microcoaching.
How can entrepreneurs benefit from microcoaching?
Ambitious 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 appointed a coach, they can adjust the schedule so that they communicate in smaller bursts and record ad hoc phone calls, shorter catch-up calls or voice notes, saving the longer sessions for when deep dives are needed or when something important to discuss. This adjustment can be welcomed by their coach and make the arrangement more effective.
Outside of a formal coaching relationship, for example in mastermind groups or between entrepreneurial friendship groups, each member can give and receive micro-coaching within the boundaries of those involved. For example, if a friend is explaining a business problem, I can ask him or her if I can provide feedback, ask some questions, or suggest a new way to formulate 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 received with an open mind and willingness to learn, it can be effective. If it is unsolicited, it can act defensively and no solutions can be reached, which is why it is crucial to check before offering input.
Entrepreneurs who question every aspect of their career and work will inevitably find better ways to do business. Modern companies have reinvented what is possible; Applying the same to personal development could open up the advancements ambitious entrepreneurs seek.