As leaders we often take on a variety of roles. There are days we are vision casters, cheerleaders, referees, bosses, managers, moms and dads; the list really could go on for awhile. However, one of the greatest roles a leader can take on is that of a coach. A great coach does so much more than teach. A great coach helps those they lead discover something great that is already within them.
I am a frequent reader (and you should be one too) of the leadership blog by Joseph Lalonde. Several weeks ago Joseph interviewed Michael Bungay Stanier the author of The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever. Joseph was kind enough to provide me with a copy of Stanier’s book. All of the following quotes belong to Michael Bungay Stanier.
“The essence of coaching lies in helping others and unlocking their potential.”
Stanier’s book is written for managers but the subject matter could very easily be used by most any leader, coach and even parents.
As the title explains, Stainer’s book is about the coach speaking less and helping the person they are coaching to open up and speak more. It is amazing when we are looking for answers we often discover them as we, talk it out. Sometimes we just need someone to help guide our self conversation. This is where the coach comes in.
“Coaching should be a daily, informal act, not an occasional, formal ‘It’s Coaching Time!’ event.”
The meat of the book is focused on seven questions the coach can ask to lead the other person to discovery. Each question builds on the previous one. The coach asks the question then shuts up. If the other person grows quiet, the coach will ask, “And what else?” Once the coach feels their mentee is done, the coach will move onto the next question.
A few of the questions include: The Kickstart Question, The AWE Question and The Learning Question. Each chapter ends with probing questions and a place for notes on how the reader can incorporate each question into their new coaching habit.
It seems like every time you turn around someone claims to have the ultimate book on Life Coaching, Executive Coaching, Career Coaching etc. I am sure many of them of are good books. Stanier’s book is not just another book. It is more than theory; it is highly practical. If the coach puts in the effort, he or she should be able to create their on coaching habit using the seven questions. Stanier’s writing is clear and concise making it easy to understand.
“These questions have the potential to transform your weekly check-in-one-to-ones, your team meetings, your sales meetings… those non-meeting moments when you just bump into someone….”
Michael created a company called, “Box of Crayons.” The company’s goal is to “… give busy managers practical tools so they can coach in 10 minutes of less.” – The Coaching Habit provides one of those tools.
This is a book I highly recommend for any leader. It is one I will keep handy and will most likely be giving a few copies away in the future.
Note: As I mentioned earlier I did receive a free copy of the book from Joseph Lalonde; however, he nor the author asked me to write a review. This review is my own honest thoughts and opinions.