Micro-coaching is not enough

Coaching has gone mainstream and is no longer limited to the upper echelon of the organization. Given the lack of time in organizations (organizations are partially to blame for this as they continue to have meetings that should be an e-mail and also meetings are run very ineffectively and inefficiently), thus less than one percent of an employee’s time can be devoted to “development.”


It has been proposed that development should happen in the course of one’s work; however, in the span of the five minutes each day that an employee has for development, asking someone a single question that helps them reframe a situation, or realize that they have more options for action can be powerful and has its place. But in order for employees to receive the full benefits of coaching, one can’t skip the steps in the coaching arc. Depending on the coaching framework (GROW, FUEL, etc.), this usually involves exploring and clarifying what the issue is and what the client has done, then the client comes up with options for action, along with benefits and drawbacks for each, followed by deciding on next steps. This process can take as little as 12 minutes for very simple issues, however for complex issues this can take as long as an hour and a half, or even several coaching sessions.


What I call “micro-coaching” offers some value, but it is no replacement for full-fledged coaching. With micro-coaching, organizations can never realize the full benefits of coaching (around 6-20 return on investment).  Just like with many things, what you get out of it is what you put into it.