The Coaching Habit

The Coaching Habit

A very quick read, The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier was helpful in learning how to mentor others through the use of questions rather than directions.  The goal is to work less hard while having more of an impact.  Good leaders and managers must be able to coach through mentoring.  I have started using the questions with my coworkers.  I have also been using the questions in personal relationships, including with my partner.  All my conversations have improved in quantity and quality through saying less and asking more.

A high-level overview of the seven questions:

What’s on your mind?

It allows people to tell you what really matters to them without telling or guiding them.

And what else?

You will get more and better options with very little effort, deepen understanding, and promote participation.

What’s the real challenge here for you?

It allows you to figure out what challenge matters most to the person you are speaking to, rather than going on your own assumptions and offering misguided advice.

What do you want?

When asked nicely, it gives the other person a chance to tell you exactly what they want, avoiding any incorrect assumptions.

How can I help?

It forces the other person to make a direct and clear request, and it gives you a chance to figure out how you can actually help.

If you’re saying Yes to this, what are you saying No to?

It forces people to think about the opportunity cost, either of time or resources.

What was the most useful for you?

It frames your conversation or talk as “useful” and gives them a moment to think through which aspect was the most useful for them.  It will generally make them focus on the main takeaways.

In Summary…

I definitely recommend reading The Coaching Habit for more about habit building, learning how to ask the questions, detailed reasons why the questions work, and ideas for building framework to improve your own coaching abilities.  Michael Stanier provides useful insight for all aspects of coaching at any level.

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