Book review: The Coaching Habit

Have you ever read a book and thought “that’s simple but genius”? No? Than you should read The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier. If your answer is “yes”, it’s also highly recommended. Why am i so convinced by this book? The easy answer: the subtitle is “Say less, Ask more & Change the Way You Lead Forever” and it was really like this for me. The book itself is really entertaining to read. Short and concise chapters make it simple to read in a few hours and find the things later fast. There are several genius concepts in it, which make remembering them unbelievable easy. Best example is the advice monster. Whenever somebody comes to you and asks a question, most of us are used to give an advice. Often there isn’t even a question necessary to wake up this cute fellow which hinders real growth. Whenever the advice monster starts to take over control, your counterpart is not longer trying to find a solution herself. By this they will not develop further and get used to have their problems solved by someone else. You see where this is going: you break their learning experience and even make others stop thinking. And we don’t need to talk about the bad things caused this, right?

The book is divided into short chapters which either are highlighting a question or some extra knowledge about habits, breaking them and introducing new ones. Let’s have a short look on three of the seven concise, world changing questions!

Question #1: What’s on your mind?

Somehow before getting lost in small talk or chitchat you need to kickstart the conversation about the things which drive your counterpart crazy. Therefore this short and easy one is designed to get to the point straight ahead. I feel like every word more on this one would be boring and i am uncomfortable writing so much about it 🙂 so go for it!

Question #2: And what else?

Often the first thing isn’t the only one. And even better: it’s not the true, most important, most hurting point. The elephant is still unadressed! Therefore a second, third or thousandth time asking what there could be is moving the spotlight until everything is said. That’s the justification for this question: finding the things which matter and give them a chance to be solved!

Question #3: What’s the real challenge here for you?

When everything is out of the mouth and on the table, we need to find the most struggling thing. The one which drives the other crazy! Nobody can tell you better which thing it is, than the one who came up with all his problems. Again a good point to realize, that you shouldn’t solve problem number two, three or anything else than number one. And on top you should not solve the problem by advising! Lift your peer to find her own solution. Than everyone learned somthing, feels better and is empowered!

Overall there are seven of those smart questions, which all have their genius reason. They all help you to step up on your leading and your sparring partner to get out at least a bit smarter.

Did you already read the book? Would you read it after this blog post? How do you coach your colleagues? What worked well for you? Leave a comment and let the world know what you think!

As always thanks for reading and have much success in coaching!

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