Book summary: The Coaching Habit

Coaching has grown in popularity dramatically in recent years. And there's a reason for that: it works. If it's done properly, that is.

73 % of managers claimed to receive coaching training in a 2006 BlessingWhite research. Only 23% of them, on the other hand, believed that the coaching had a positive influence on their performance or work satisfaction. Why didn't it work this time?

It's because of three reasons, most likely. The coaching was most likely extremely theoretical, uninteresting, or difficult. And even if it was interesting, chances are you didn't take the time to put the advice into practice. Finally, getting counsel might be challenging.

It doesn't have to be that way, though! Coaching is straightforward and will assist you in realizing your full potential. Furthermore, it will allow you to work less and have a greater effect.

For the next 12 minutes, join us as we discuss the most important takeaways from Michael Bungay Stanier's outstanding book The Coaching Habit.

The Seven Essential Questions

A female asking questions as there are question marks on top of her.

We'll go through seven questions that can help you break free from the terrible cycle of overly reliant colleagues, excessive workloads, and a detachment from the job that counts.

We'll also go over some "Question Masterclass lessons," which are tips for getting the most out of the Seven Essential Questions.

The behavior shift we want to see is simple: we ask individuals more questions instead of telling them what to do. But first, let's go through how to become a habit.

  • Make a promise to yourself: Be clear about the benefits of altering anything. According to research, thinking about how the new behavior will benefit individuals you care about is beneficial.
  • Determine the source of the problem: if you don't know what causes the old behavior, you'll never be able to modify it.
  • Define your new habit as anything that takes less than sixty seconds to do.
  • Deep practice: practice little portions of the larger activity, do it frequently, and keep track of your progress.
  • Plan to get back on track: Everyone makes mistakes, but don't let them discourage you. Make your habit a dependable routine.

Question Masterclass Part 1: Ask One Question at a Time

There's no time to answer any of them when questions come flying from all directions. Only ask one question at a time. Then wait for the response while being quiet.

Question 1: The Kickstart Question

It might be difficult to start a discussion.

"What's on your mind?" is an almost fail-safe method to create a talk that will rapidly evolve into a real conversation.

It's open, and it allows individuals to get to the core of the issue that matters to them the most. It establishes trust and dispels agendas, trivial conversations, and preconceived notions.

Coaching may be divided into two categories: performance coaching and development coaching.

Coaching for performance is concerned with identifying and resolving a specific issue.

Coaching for development is about shifting the emphasis away from the problem and toward the person coping with it. This is far more strong and unusual.

The 3P approach focuses attention and turns it (when necessary) to coaching for growth. Projects, people, and patterns are all part of the 3P model. "What's on your mind?" comes after the initial question.

Try to figure out which of the three Ps it belongs to. This will almost certainly lead to a more in-depth and fruitful discussion.

Question Masterclass Part 2: Cut the Intro and Ask the Question

A student asking his mentor some questions as implied having a question mark sign speech bubble.

If you already have a question in mind, get right to the point and ask it.

Question 2: The AWE Question

"And what else?" is the finest coaching question in the world.

It may appear basic, yet it possesses magical abilities. "And what else?" you might wonder. You'll have more alternatives, and they'll usually be better options.

Better choices lead to better judgments, and better decisions lead to greater achievement. It's easy as a coach to provide advice rather than ask questions. This is known as the Advice Monster. Your intentions are good, but they aren't necessarily the best.

"And what else?"

The cycle is broken by effectively taming the Advice Monster. It also buys you time in a circumstance when you're not sure what's going on and need a few moments to figure things out.

Maintain your sincerity. Don't ask this question unless you're genuinely interested. Don't be alarmed if someone says, "There's nothing else." This is the kind of answer you're looking for. It signifies you've done an excellent job.

Question Masterclass Part 3: Should You Ask Rhetorical Questions?

Stop giving advice that includes a question mark. Don't ask something like, "Have you considered...?" or "How about...?"

Present your concept as an idea, not as a fictitious query.

Question 3: The Focus Question

A male marketing manager pointing arrow at the focus target, similar to focusing on the question.

When individuals talk about an issue, they usually set out isn't always the actual problem. They might be describing a symptom, a secondary issue, the lingering effects of a prior trial, or even a half-baked remedy to an unspoken problem.

Keep in mind that you are not responsible for the issues of others. You'll need a strategy for resisting the urge to step in and solve things.

"Can you tell me what the true challenge is here for you?" will assist you in slowing down the rush to action so that you can focus on the real issue at hand. This inquiry will help you get to the bottom of the problem and determine what needs to be done.

Concentrate on the genuine issue, not the first one.

Question Masterclass Part 4: Stick to Questions Starting with "What"

"Why?" questions should be avoided. They irritate people and don't always assist you in managing them better. You don't need the backstory if you're not attempting to correct issues.

Question 4: The Foundation Question

"What do you want?" is a crucial question to start with. Because it's a tough question to answer, it frequently results in silence.

We often have no idea what we really desire. Even if we do, asking for it is frequently difficult. It's tough for both parties to understand what the other wants, which may be irritating. Understanding the distinction between desires and needs is one method to help.

It's simple to tell the difference. "Want" refers to something you'd like to have, whereas "need" refers to something you absolutely must-have. In practice, though, it's difficult to avoid upgrading everything to the "need" category.

Marshall Rosenberg is the founder of Nonviolent Communication, a method of communication that helps individuals communicate more effectively.

In his concept, "wants" are surface demands, but "needs" are deeper, universal needs that push for the "desire," such as independence or identity. Recognizing the need will help you effectively satisfy the want.

Four key factors determine how the brain interprets a situation (spell out TERA).

  • The letter T stands for the tribe. Do you agree with me or disagree with me?
  • The letter E stands for expectation. Do you know what will happen in the future?
  • The letter R stands for rank. Do you think you're more or less significant than I am?
  • The letter A stands for autonomy. Do I have a say, or do I not?

You should always strive to raise your TERA quotient as much as possible. "What do you want?" may help you achieve this goal.

Question Masterclass Part 5: Get Comfortable with Silence

A coach quietly thinking and searching for the answer to the problem. Silence is known to be a sign of success.

It may be difficult to keep quiet, but it is frequently a sign of success. Allow the coaching person time to think and search for an answer. It might be tempting to fill the space with chatter, but don't do it.

Question 5: The Lazy Question

We know you desire to assist others. You want to be useful and offer value. However, there is a distinction between imagining yourself to be helpful and actually being helpful.

People like playing "rescuer," in which they continuously step in to solve issues, provide advice, and take over tasks - but they aren't always contributing value. You limit the opportunity for people you work with to flourish. That's when the cliched query "How can I assist?" comes in.

"How can I help?" — When asking this question, be cautious. Use soothing tones so that folks can see you're sincere. Using the words "out of curiosity" to soften this inquiry and any queries is a good way to go.

Don't worry if you get a negative response to your query ("I need you to complete this horrible duty"). You always have the option of declining.

"I can't do that... but I could do [insert your counter-offer]," for example, is a decent middle ground response.

Question Masterclass Part 6: Actually Listen to the Answer

The basic practice of asking one of the Seven Fundamental Questions is a fantastic learning tool and a wonderful mind-opening exercise. Always keep your thoughts open and active.

Question 6: The Strategic Question

There is a distinction between the job you enjoy doing — the work that excites and motivates you – and other work.

We're usually preoccupied with other tasks. And, even though it is most likely contributing to the wonderful job (important and exciting work), we still don't enjoy doing it.

"If you're saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?" we ask strategically.

This is a trickier question than it appears. Too frequently, individuals agree to something half-heartedly, or there is a misunderstanding about what was agreed to.

The no of omission and the no of the commission are the two forms of "no" responses. The first category includes the alternatives immediately ruled out when you say "yes."

The second type is what you must say for the "yes" to occur. This is how you make the time, space, and energy to actually do the "yes" that matters to you.

It's difficult to say no. The key to saying no is to practice saying yes more slowly. We get into difficulty when we make commitments too quickly. Saying yes more slowly allows you to ask more questions before deciding.

Switching the attention from the person to work is another method to make it easier to say no. "I have to say no to this," rather than "I have to say no to you," is a lot simpler to say.

Remember that saying no to things allows you to say yes to the things that genuinely matter to you.

"If you're saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?" is a crucial question to ask.

Question Masterclass Part 7: Acknowledge the Answers You Get

A coaching representative paying attention to the answer of others through calling.

This isn't about criticizing people; it's all about boosting their confidence and letting them know that you paid attention and heard what they had to say.

Question 7: The Learning Question

You want individuals to learn to become more competent, self-sufficient, and effective as managers or leaders. Helping others learn, on the other hand, is challenging.

People learn when they have the opportunity to recollect and think about what has just transpired, not when you tell them something.

As a manager and leader, it's your role to assist individuals in finding such learning opportunities. "What was most beneficial for you?" is a good way to start.

We all know that a lot of what we learn is lost the moment we go on to something else. We also know how to make learning more successful, and that is through making one's own connections to new concepts.

This is why the question "What was most valuable for you?" is so important. It improves your chances of memorizing the teachings. The goal is to get the person to think about their experience. Get them to arrive at their own conclusions about what they've learned.

You can ask various questions that will all result in the identical retrieval procedure to embed the learning.

  • "What did you discover?"
  • "What was the most important takeaway?"
  • "What should be captured?"

There are more possibilities, but "What was the most beneficial for you?" is the most useful.

It's the greatest since it assumes the chat was beneficial. Moreover, it asks individuals to choose the most useful aspect, personalizes it, provides feedback, and reminds them how valuable you are to them.

Question Masterclass Part 8: Use Every Channel to Ask a Question

A coach writing a long email to his prospects as anything written is just as effective as spoken.

Suppose you're not comfortable writing longer replies in person. In that case, using email might be a good option for communicating with your prospects. These questions may also be used via email.

Questions are just as effective written as they are spoken.

Now, Get Out There!

Interactions between managers and those they supervise frequently include too much weight or confidence. They often stray from the path too rapidly or labor too hard to return to it. At the end of the day, both parties are exhausted.

This will all change as a result of these Seven Essential Questions. You'll work less and have a bigger impact. Simply said, a little less guidance and a little more curiosity is the most impactful behavior adjustment you can make.

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