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The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever Paperback – February 29, 2016
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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 twofer. 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
''It takes courage to ask a question rather than offer up advice, provide an answer or unleash a solution. In this practical and inspiring book, Michael shares seven transformative questions that can make a difference in how we lead and support.''
- Brené Brown, author of Rising Strong and Daring Greatly
''This book is full of practical, useful and interesting questions, ideas and tools that will guide any leader trying to be better.''
- Dave Ulrich, co-author of The Why of Work and The Leadership Code
''Michael's intelligence, wit, articulateness and dedication to the craft of coaching shine forth in this brilliant how-to manual for anyone called to assist others. Even after four decades of my own experience in this arena, The Coaching Habit has provided me with great takeaways.''
- David Allen, author of Getting Things Done
''A sharp, habit-forming leadership manual.''
''Bungay Stanier writes with verve, effectively incorporating humor, surprise, and parables.''
''The book tailors its organization and length to time-pressed readers, who can finish it easily in a couple of hours or in 15-minute increments.''
''The Coaching Habit is a succinct and practical handbook for getting the best from others and yourself.''
- Nir Eyal, author of Hooked
''Concise and compelling''
- Bob Sutton, author of Scaling Up Excellence
''Amid a sea of coaching books that drone on with the same old, overused conceptual frameworks, there is a gem of hope. The Coaching Habit is a treasure trove of practical wisdom that takes a timeless pursuit--to turn every manager into a coach--and breaks it down into a simple set of everyday habits. If you are ready to take your leadership to the next level, you need this book.''
- Jessica Amortegui, Senior Director Learning & Development, Logitech
''There are many coaching books out there that end up on the bookshelf half read. Michael Bungay Stanier's The Coaching Habit engages you from start to finish. A simple read that is bold and direct, relatable and real, this book will change the way you communicate with colleagues at work and family at home. If you want to read one book on coaching that will resonate with you quickly and that is not overwhelming, choose this one.''
- Johanne McNally Myers, VP Human Resources, Tim Hortons
''Among a plethora of books, studies and op-ed pieces about the importance of coaching and how to execute this most critical of development interventions well, it's easy to understand why students and practitioners of the craft feel confused or overwhelmed by the array of approaches, frameworks and systems extolled as ''the right way.'' Michael Bungay Stanier has expertly cut through this confusion with his new book in a manner that is simple to understand, realistic in its intention and ultimately effective to apply. I believe this book will establish itself as a powerful and useful toolset for the professional coach, the student learner and the people manager alike.''
- Stuart Crabb, Director Learning & Development, Facebook
''This is not just a book; this is the voice in your head, the person that sits on your shoulder--guiding you to greatness. Being a great coach is more than skill; it's a mindset, a way of being. Michael has a remarkable way of delivering that message through artful storytelling, practical examples and proven techniques. A must-have book for the coach who truly wants to make a difference.''
--Sinéad Condon, Head of Global Performance Enablement, CA Technologies
''Where others can overcomplicate the purpose and practice of coaching, Michael Bungay Stanier provides a practical and unintimidating approach to this essential habit of great leaders. He succinctly articulates the research behind the art of respectful inquiry and its role in fostering an authentic partnership among colleagues who are committed to doing meaningful work together. The Coaching Habit is a thoroughly enjoyable read that immediately inspired me to adopt new habits.''
- Dana Woods, CEO, American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
'The magic of leadership occurs in daily conversations. With The Coaching Habit, Michael Bungay Stanier gives managers an extremely simple yet powerful tool (just seven questions!) to help them coach their teams to greatness, each and every day.''
- Andrew Collier, Head of Leadership Development, Nestlé
''Fantastic . . . and Where was this book when I needed it?'' are the first thoughts popping into my head after reading this book. I ve read countless books on leadership and coaching over my career but few brought it all together like Michael Bungay Stanier's. I love the concepts of keeping it simple and practice, practice, practice, which are key to building your coaching habit. Michael makes what some leaders see as complex a simple process, whether you are an experienced or new people leader. Definitely a must-read book.''
- Monique Bateman, SVP, TD Bank Group
''The Coaching Habit is the essence of practical coaching for busy managers. No filler, no abstract theory, no tedious stories. Just everyday, practical tools so that you can coach in ten minutes or less.''
- Melissa Daimler, Head of Learning & Organizational Development, Twitter
''Bungay Stanier has it right. We are creatures of habit, and from our habits we create ourselves, our lives and the world around us. The Coaching Habit is a manual for applying the power of habit to the power of coaching to accomplish more with and through others. Do not read this book. Practice it. Apply it. Keep it on your desk and build your coaching habit.''
-Michele Milan, CEO Executive Programs, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
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 managers and leaders coach in 10 min or less.
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.
As a leader, coach and trainer, I've seen lots of ways in which great content offers little to help active, busy, over-subscribed people. With this book, Michael offers people not just an approach to concise behavior change that is helpful for many among us (esp. those who default to giving advice) - but a roadmap for running an entire discovery-to-action session.
But don't just listen to me. As a Program Leader - what's compelling for me is watching/ experiencing the a-ha! moments of participants who've put the content of this book to work. With this book - and the content it offers - I see a lot of these moments. This is an approach and work I believe in. I encourage you to not just read it - but put it to work. Life may be different for you as well.