The Coaching Habit | Michael Bungay Stanier

Summary of: The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever
By: Michael Bungay Stanier


Do you find yourself caught in unproductive work dynamics, overwhelmed by decisions and never-ending tasks? In the summary of ‘The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever’ by Michael Bungay Stanier, you’ll discover how adopting a coaching habit can transform these situations and guide your employees towards self-sufficiency. This insightful book focuses on the essentials of fostering a coaching mindset and the importance of asking powerful questions, offering you the tools to reconnect you and your team to what matters most.

A Coaching Habit for Effective Leaders

Most managers attend coaching seminars, but only 23% of employees report a positive performance change. To remedy this, leaders need to develop a coaching habit of giving informal feedback daily rather than scheduling rigid coaching sessions weekly. This will help team members become self-sufficient and more effective at achieving group goals. A focus on employee development instead of performance goals will empower the team to do their best work.

Effective Coaching Strategies

Effective coaching involves active listening and empowering employees to come to their own conclusions. The Kickstart question, “What’s on your mind?” helps to get the conversation started, and the AWE question, “And what else?” encourages the employee to share more. The Focus question, “What’s the real challenge here for you?” helps to narrow down the problem and determine which challenge to tackle first. These three questions lay the foundation for effective coaching. Additionally, four more questions can help take your coaching skills to the next level. Coaching is about empowering your employees, so it’s essential to listen more than you speak and avoid jumping in with advice or solutions.

The Foundation Question and the Lazy Question

As a coach, identifying your employee’s wants and needs in any given situation is paramount. The Foundation question “What do you want?” should be your go-to question. According to scientists, people are driven by nine major wants and needs, and this question gets to the heart of the matter. It helps in figuring out an employee’s motivation, whether it’s affection, creation, recreation, freedom, identity, understanding, participation, protection, or subsistence. You’ll be better placed to understand whether they want to go home early, participate in a project, or express an idea.

The Lazy question “How can I help you?” is another tool to help you identify an employee’s wants and needs. It sets up a positive coaching moment by checking if the employee has something to offer or just wants to let off steam. Additionally, it clarifies the issue by pushing the employee to get to the point while also earning their respect. Showing employees that you want to know what they want will set you apart from managers who don’t care.

Strategic Decision Making

The key to effective decision-making lies in thinking strategically. Before accepting or rejecting any opportunity that comes your way, use the Strategic Question to identify what you’ll have to give up. This will help you focus your energy on the right projects. Never rush into making a decision; take the time to gather as much information as possible. Ask yourself what the new opportunity demands of you, what’s the reason for it, what the deadline is, and how much time it’ll take. Another crucial part of coaching is making space for employees to learn. Use the Learning question at the end of every coaching session to encourage reflection, thereby helping employees build new skills and habits.

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