Why Microcoaching is Leader Development’s New BFF

Microcoaching has emerged as an ideal solution for building and boosting your organization’s leadership capability at scale. For decades, organization’s have relied on executive coaching to develop leaders at the top of the org chart – and have realized great results. Now by employing the use of scalable and affordable microcoaching, even frontline managers can realize the full benefits of coaching. Microcoaching can help managers, build new skills, apply these skills, and lead with greater confidence. Microcoaching combined with other modalities, such as online learning, can help close the “learning-doing gap.”

What is Microcoaching?

Microcoaching consists of short coaching engagements of several weeks with coaching sessions of less than an hour. In the sessions, managers can discuss real-world scenarios and receive guidance and insights from a trusted coach. Typically delivered over one to two months, microcoaching is interactive and personalized to the needs of each manager. Live coaching sessions are conducted over videoconference and can be paired with existing development programs and online learning platforms. When combined with other modalities, microcoaching helps close the “learning-doing gap” or “knowing-doing gap” — when learners don’t apply what they know in the workplace. This gap often occurs because newly trained leaders don’t have a prompt. With microcoaching, the coach prompts leaders to apply new skills.

The Benefits of Microcoaching for Frontline Managers

Microcoaching delivers many of the same benefits as traditional coaching, including helping managers improve their leadership efficacy and confidence. It also delivers some unique benefits that make it a feasible solution for organizations seeking to build leadership capability across all management levels. One study found that microcoaching helped employees reach their work goals and become more resilient when facing work challenges.

Other key benefits include:

Scales to all company leadership levels

Many organizations include coaching in their leadership development program. However, it’s a benefit typically reserved for executive leaders. In most cases, extending traditional coaching to all management levels would be financially unfeasible, unproductive, or just too unwieldy. Microcoaching is fully scalable, making it possible to provide coaching to each manager within your organization at a more affordable rate.

Integrates with other leadership development programs

Microcoaching isn’t an either/or solution. Instead, it complements existing learning and development programs. This is a unique combination many organizations seek. In a recent IMPACT Group survey, 51% of organizations told us they wanted to implement an affordable, scalable program that combined online learning with leadership coaching. All of this is possible with microcoaching, as live video coaching sessions can integrate seamlessly with online learning platforms and in-house leadership development programs.

Accommodates the busy manager’s schedule

Busy frontline managers may struggle to set aside time for longer-term coaching arrangements. But the shorter time commitment of 30-minute microcoaching sessions and self-paced online learning is often easier to schedule and less distracting to a manager’s busy workday. IMPACT Group’s scalable coaching solution delivers eight-week learning experiences that include meetings with a live coach, online learning content, and customized activities to reinforce each coaching session. Combined, these activities typically take no more than 60-90 minutes per week.

Helps managers lead remote teams effectively

The rapid shift to remote and hybrid work has left most frontline managers with little time to build competency in managing employees from afar. As a result, they are prone to make mistakes when managing remote teams, including not forming meaningful connections with employees, communicating poorly, and micromanaging. A microcoaching program focused on managing remote staff can deliver personalized guidance to help managers avoid these mistakes and become more effective leaders of remote and hybrid teams.

Accelerates employee learning

Because microcoaching is delivered in short, easy-to-consume “chunks,” it enables employees to learn new leadership techniques and immediately apply them at work. Microcoaching and other shorter-duration experiences can also support overall employee skill development. Deloitte research found that microlearning solutions are essential for promoting continuous learning and reskilling throughout the workforce.

Prompts Leaders to Put New Skills into Practice

As mentioned above, microcoaching helps bridge the “learning-doing” gap because coaches prompt leaders to work on new behaviors and skills in the workplace.  Organizations don’t realize a benefit from any learning modality unless the learner puts the skills to work.  Individualized, microcoaching sessions allow the coach to hold the leader accountable to apply what she’s learned. In a 2023 study conducted by IMPACT Group of HR leaders, 84% agreed that online learners are more likely to put new skills to use if they also work with a coach who encourages behavior change.

Tips for Introducing Microcoaching into Your Leadership Development Program

Since microcoaching integrates well with other forms of coaching and training, it is an easy add to any learning and development program. Here are some possible ways to utilize it in your organization:

  • Frontline and middle managers can use microcoaching sessions to develop an action plan, then follow up on the action plan with online leadership classes and on-the-job reinforcement.
  • Managers can utilize microcoaching in conjunction with participation in a formal mentorship program, peer feedback, and real-time coaching from their manager.
  • Microcoaching can be combined with a gamification element that rewards managers with badges or certificates after completing each coaching session.

Affordable, Scalable Leadership Coaching

Microcoaching offers frontline and middle managers coaching benefits that were once only available to senior executives. It’s an affordable, flexible solution that empowers managers to build confidence and take more accountability for effective leadership.

If you’re ready for a fresh approach to leadership development for frontline leaders, jumpstart coaching at your organization with a modest investment in microcoaching. (Learn more here.)

Studies have shown that most managers receive formal training in leadership 10 years after they begin to manage others. IMPACT Group’s Link Learn Coach offering combines microcoaching with curated online learning content. It’s packaged and priced so you can offer it to first-time managers at scale.

Need scalable coaching solutions tailored to your needs? Let IMPACT Group help you afford to extend the benefits of coaching to every level of your organization. Contact us to learn more.