Mentoring millennials and microfeedback

I’m about to embark on some research for my MSc – the impact of mentoring on one’s meaning (at work or more broadly). With the billions of £/$ spent on coaching each year, mentoring is an underexploited resource. And, unlike using external coaches, mentoring builds skills for the organisational mentor and their mentee. In research undertaken by BT, 78% of employees prefer to learn from their peers and yet very little money or effort is put into this.


In a Harvard Business Review article (May 2010), the criticality of mentoring and coaching to millennials is highlighted. The five top characteristics millenials are looking for in a boss are:

  1. help navigating my career
  2. will give me straight feedback
  3. will mentor and coach me
  4. will sponsor me for formal development
  5. is comfortable with flexibility

Obviously formal development still has its’ place but coaching, mentoring and giving feedback are what’s most critical to them.

Microfeedback –  feedback of 140 characters or less – is a great way to provide focused instantaneous feedback. All too often we bombard people with too much feedback which is too wordy and lost in translation. 140 characters forces individuals to think about one clear message.

Wasn’t it Churchill who wrote “apologies for the two page letter, I didn’t have time to write a one page letter.”