- Paperback: 242 pages
- Publisher: Box of Crayons; 1 edition (January 1, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0978440749
- ISBN-13: 978-0978440749
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 272 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1.396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Coaching Habit Paperback – 1 January 2006
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Michael Bungay Stanier distills the essentials of coaching to seven core questions. And if you master his simple yet profound technique, you'll get a two-fer. You'll provide more effective support to your employees and co-workers. And you may find that you become the ultimate coach for yourself. -Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell Is Human and Drive
About the Author
Michael Bungay Stanier is a leading coaching expert, renowned keynote speaker and the founder and senior partner of Box of Crayons, a company that helps organizations all over the world do less good work, and more great work. When he's not leading workshops that help time-crunched managers coach in 10 minutes or less, Michael shares his thought leadership (and his playful sense of humor) with others through his many writings and publications. His published books include Do More Great Work, which has sold nearly 100,000 copies, and End Malaria, a collection of essays from leading thinkers around the globe raising funds for Malaria No More (and hitting #2 on Amazon.com). He has also been featured or published in Fast Company, The Financial Times, The Globe and Mail, and has appeared on CTV's Breakfast Television. Before Box of Crayons, Michael spent time inventing products and services as part of an innovation agency, and worked as a management consultant specializing in large-scale change, writing the global vision for GlaxoSmithKline, among other things. A Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, Michael was named the first Canadian Coach of the Year in 2006.
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MEMO TO EVERY PERSON I’VE PRETENDED TO COACH OR MENTOR: I’m so, so sorry! Honest!
Here’s why. This month I was a learner in a seminar with CEOs and board chairs. The highly energetic, wise and witty facilitator was Michael Bungay Stanier, the author of the hot-off-the-press book, “The Coaching Habit.”
At a coffee break, halfway through the three-hour, how-to-coach practicum, I told Stanier that—already—the seminar was on my Top-10 list of best workshops ever attended (and I’ve attended my fair share). Here’s why I gave it a 10:
Three memorable points on coaching:
--BE LAZY: Stop working so hard.
--BE CURIOUS: Stop giving so much advice.
--BE OFTEN: Stop waiting to coach.
And how’s this for role reversal? I’m usually reading snippets from books to my wife. She picked this up first and is still reading—and reminding me—on what effective coaching looks like, especially the “stop giving so much advice” poke-in-the-ribs. Ouch.
Stanier notes that “Harland Howard said every great country song has three chords and the truth. This book gives you seven questions and the tools to make them an everyday way to work less hard and have more impact.” The seven essential questions:
--The Kickstart Question
--The AWE Question
--The Focus Question
--The Foundation Question
--The Lazy Question
--The Strategic Question
--The Learning Question
Stanier says the best coaching question in the world is the AWE question: “And What Else?”
In a four-minute drill with another board chair, I was instructed to ask four questions displayed on the seminar room screen. Stanier says “the first answer someone gives you is almost never the only answer, and it’s rarely the best answer,” so the AWE question is the perfect follow-up.
--Q1: What’s the real challenge here for you?
--Q2: And what else?
--Q3: And what else?
--Q4: So what’s the real challenge here for you?
In just four minutes—it was almost magical. I stuck to the bargain (whew—very hard) and just asked questions of my board chair partner. He responded to each question—and increasingly, in response to “And what else?” he dug deeper and deeper and—BINGO!—answered his own question and solved his own challenge.
Where was this book when I was pretending to coach team members, clients, my son, my grandkids, and many, many others? Yikes!
I’ve underlined gems on almost every page:
--Although coaching is listed as one of the six essential leadership styles in Daniel Goleman’s article, “Leadership That Gets Results” (a Harvard Business Review classic), “it was the least-used leadership style.”
--“You can build a coaching habit” and “You can coach someone in ten minutes or less. And in today’s busy world, you have to be able to coach in ten minutes or less.”
--“Coaching should be a daily, informal act, not an occasional, formal ‘It’s Coaching Time!’ event.”
Stanier’s humor sneaks up on you! As you embark on what he calls the “coaching habit,” he suggests you start somewhere easy:
“If you’re going to manage someone differently, pick someone who might be up for it and is willing to cut you some slack. Or pick someone with whom it’s all going so badly that you’ve got nothing left to lose.”
ANOTHER AHA! The author says there’s a huge difference between coaching for performance—and coaching for development. “Call them forward to learn, improve and grow, rather than to just get something sorted out.”
A gargantuan fan of questions—versus answers—he quotes Nancy Willard: “Answers are closed rooms; and questions are open doors that invite us in.”
“CUT THE INTRO AND ASK THE QUESTION” is another shot over the bow. He notes, “No James Bond movie starts off slowly. Pow! Within 10 seconds you’re into the action, the adrenaline has jacked and the heart is beating faster”—so “cut the preliminary flim-flam” in your coaching process. In 72-point font on page 52, Stanier shouts: “If you know what question to ask,
get to the point and ask it.”
TAME THE ADVICE MONSTER! “We’ve all got a deeply ingrained habit of slipping into the advice-giver/expert/answer-it/solve-it/fix-it mode.” (One study revealed that doctors interrupt patients with advice within 18 seconds. Ditto, perhaps, the rest of us.)
Slow down and take a breath, says Stanier. “Even though we don’t really know what the issue is, we’re quite sure we’ve got the answer they need.”
VP OF BOTTLENECKING. If your employee name badge should read “VP of Bottlenecking,” you must read this book. These seven essential coaching questions will help you coach others, and as Stanier perceptively writes, “Focus on the real problem, not the first problem.”
There are dozens and dozens of more gems in this fresh, easy-to-read format (plus almost 50 full-page quotations—all PowerPoint-worthy). I just ordered eight books for colleagues who are coaching boards and CEOs this year.
The most powerful message found in this book is that we must move away from being "problem solvers", and concentrate our efforts on
becoming "people developers". By doing so we challenge our people to become the best they can be, and in the process we become much better leaders.
I am trying to learn how to manage small teams (4-5 people) and got a lot more out of "First, break all the rules : what the world's greatest managers do differently" / Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman because the advice is based on a rigorous analysis of thousands of interviews with managers.
I am a professor, not a business executive, so take this review with that in mind.
"Talk less and ask more
Your advice is not as good
As you think it is"
This really takes what, for many is a complex and intimidating process and simplifies it. I got the book on Saturday, and had it read before I went to bed. It's not short...it's just that good.
Too many managers have been "trained" by imitating what their manager did and they replicate behaviors that really do not improve the development of their teams. But it gives them the sense of being in charge or control. Or the example I like to use is, "do you want to be a firefighter or a rainmaker?" Would you prefer to employ fire prevention, or always be putting out the fires after they have started?
I'd recommend this to managers and to leaders looking for ideas on how to explain this coaching thing.
First off when you pick up this book, it just feels light and beautiful.
The way it's presented is just plain amazing and simple. The words and writing isn't clutter or "filled" up. You get actionable steps to put into practice for yourself and clients. Not many coaching books or books in general really get to the point. He doesn't talk about meaningless things that bore you.
Michael knows exactly what he's talking about and demonstrates it beautifully with the way he describes the process of the coaching questions to use. Whether you're new or a vet to coaching, hell even if you don't coach, this book is more than just a book.
Imagine a $3,000 3 day workshop packed into a home course that you can take anywhere. This is it!