It’s been a while. I have not had the mental space to write clear thoughts for a long time. However, today is the day. I received the fun (and motivating) notification that this blog has had over 100,000 all-time views(!), and I finished a book that I liked a lot and want to share with you. When I share my learning with others, it sticks better with me, so thank you for helping me out by reading this post. The added plus is that I think you will learn things that are also helpful for you.
The book I finished is called “The Coaching Habit,” written by a coaching guru, born in Australia, now living in Canada, named Michael Bungay Stanier (MBS). He writes with humor and wit; the book is easy-to-apply practical and deeply wise.
The book’s premise is “say less – ask more” to tame your “advise monster.” Make it a habit to ask more questions.
Without this habit, we make people overly dependent on us, pick up work others would do, place ourselves “one up” on others, and give advice that isn’t truly helpful. I cringe when I think those things might be my effect at work. Even less do I want that to be true of me at home.
It takes COURAGE to ask a question
rather than offer up advice, provide an answer
or unleash a solution.
~ Brene Brown
Over the years, I’ve read other books on coaching, but this one is less of a “How to…” book and more of a “Why do I…” book. Stanier uses plain English to dig into our mindsets, neuroscience, and resistance to change. He understands the drivers, the triggers, and the heart behind what we do and guides us towards what we want to do instead.
This is not an “instant answer” book. It will not fix our tendency to think too highly of ourselves and our advice, but it can help.
When we ask questions, we value people
and we empower them to find the best solutions to real problems.
Stanier’s seven key questions are:
- What’s on your mind? (allow the other person to set the agenda)
- And what else? (often the first problem or solution is not the “real” one or the best one)
- What’s the real challenge here for you? (help focus)
- What do you want? (getting to the root of the issue)
- How can I help? (don’t offer help – let them tell you what they want)
- If you are saying YES to this, to what are you saying NO? (so very powerful)
- What was most useful to you? (when they reflect, they remember)
I highly recommend the book, The Coaching Habit (also available in Spanish). Even more than that, I hope you will continue to grow your question-asking skills along with me and fight back the advice monsters that are running amuck in our world today.
Curiosity is powerful.
Now to practice.
What is your takeaway from this post? What was most useful to you?
**More from Michael Bungay Stanier: Box of Crayons and MBS.works websites