As the modern workplace evolves, its associated practices must too. 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 heaps of staff and complicated infrastructure, now it could be a teenager with a Shopify site. Meetings used to always be face-to-face. Emails used to be faxes. Instant payments used to be cheques. You get the idea.
Ambitious entrepreneurs are maximising their time; fitting in more of what matters and doing 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 smaller and more frequent questions, guidance and assistance. Rather than scheduling hour-long calls or face-to-face meetings, microcoaching might involve a five-minute chat every few days, and the exchange of voice notes or text-based questions and prompts between coach and client. The principle is that frequent doses of guidance might help keep someone on track better than an in-depth discussion every two weeks, for example.
Microcoaching is used by coaches looking to adapt their practices to a changing workplace, as well as the evolving demands of a modern entrepreneur. It’s used within larger organisations, to enable senior team members to offer support to junior ones, or to enable peer-to-peer development. It might be used within entrepreneur networks or between friendship groups. Whenever you’re spending time with someone who is helping you find solutions or holding you accountable, you might be on the receiving end of microcoaching.
Formal, structured coaching has its place, but for some clients of coaches it’s surplus to requirements and shorter, more frequent bursts of motivation, inspiration and nudging may prove more beneficial.
What makes microcoaching so effective?
Microcoaching, by its very nature, enables more frequent catch ups and a real-time method of keeping in touch. This means challenges can be assessed and dissected and a plan of action made without waiting for the next scheduled session, which may be weeks or even months in the future. This is particularly useful if the microcoaching recipient feels they may have made a mistake, could have handled a situation better, or they have a big decision they’d like to discuss.
The faster implementation of microcoaching can make the recipient more effective in their work. Whether self-employed or an employee, they are less likely to waste time pursuing practices that are ineffective or go too far down a rabbit hole before they’re caught. Feedback loops are far shorter meaning actions can be redirected accordingly. Furthermore, the microcoaching receiver can access frequent doses of motivation, keeping their levels topped up rather than allowing for boom and bust.
One of the key benefits of microcoaching is its flexible nature, especially when communication is delivered asynchronously. This means the coach and their client can exchange thoughts and questions in their own time, whenever is convenient. This removes the need to find time in two busy schedules and block out an afternoon for a call and review period. Long coaching calls can be draining for both parties and they’re not always effective. Furthermore, long coaching calls might require an initial phase of catching up, which microcoaching negates the need for.
How can entrepreneurs benefit from microcoaching?
Ambitious entrepreneurs are hungry for knowledge, including feedback and pointers of how they can improve. They can open themselves up for microcoaching by letting key individuals around them know that regular feedback is welcome.
Within a formal coaching relationship, where an entrepreneur has commissioned a coach, they might adapt the schedule so they communicate in smaller bursts and incorporate ad hoc phone calls, shorter catch ups or voice notes, saving the longer sessions for when deep dives are necessary or when there’s something significant to discuss. This adaptation may be welcomed by their coach and make the arrangement more effective.
Outside of a formal coaching relationship, for example in mastermind groups or between friendship groups consisting of entrepreneurs, each member can administer 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 offer feedback, ask some questions, or suggest a new way to frame the problem. In turn, they may hear of a business challenge I’m facing and ask if it’s okay that they probe, in order to help me reach a solution.
When microcoaching is met with an open demeanour and willingness to learn, it can be effective. When it’s unsolicited, defensiveness may ensue, and no solutions reached, hence why it’s crucial to check before offering input.
Entrepreneurs who question every aspect of their career and work will inevitably find better ways of conducting business. Modern businesses have reimagined what’s possible; applying the same to personal development could unlock the progress ambitious business owners are seeking.