Episode#32 – The Coaching Habit

The Coaching Habit

by Michael Bungay Stanier


The book in one sentence

Enforce thinking, self-reflection and self-development through asking the right questions.


My personal opinion

Coaching is a valuable skill in many situations today. For me personally, I leverage these techniques in private and business related conversations.

From my point of view, establishing a coaching habit is extremely helpful if you are working in sales. You will become the trusted advisor of your clients not only by providing relevant knowledge, but by asking the right questions to lead them through their challenges. That is the reason why I bought this book. I believe that in sales nothing is more important than asking the right questions at the right time.

Therefore, Michael Bungay Stanier developed some powerful questions you can use in every coaching situation. I strongly recommend to read his book in detail if you see the value in these questions. He describes some great situations from his coaching experience.

  • The Kickstart Question: “What’s on your mind?”
  • The AWE Question: “And what else?”
  • The Focus Question: “What’s the real challenge here for you?”
  • The Foundation Question: “What do you want?”
  • The Lazy Question: “How can I help?”
  • The Learning Question: “What was most useful for you?”

At the end, the reason why you are establishing a strong coaching habit comes down to this: “[…] think less about what your habit can do for you, and more about how this new habit will help a person or people you care about.” – nothing to add here…


To whom I would recommend this book

As stated above, I think there are two areas where a coaching habit will provide tremendous value.

1) Leading teams and helping members of your team to develop themselves: my personal experience is that nothing will change your view, your believes or your mindset more than discovering a new perspective yourself. The right question will help you to step back and see a situation in a different light. Initially, this approach will take more time for the coach and the coachee than just saying how to do something or why something is right or wrong. But in the long run, the learning of a coachee will be much more solid.

2) Working in sales: similar to my experience above. Lead your clients through the right questions to the right solution to address their challenge.

Or as the author of the Coaching Habit, Michael Bungay Stanier, wrote at the end of his book: “People don’t really learn when you tell them something. They don’t even really learn when they do something. They start learning, start creating new neural pathways, only when they have a chance to recall and reflect on what just happened.”


What I learned from this book

  • Learning and adopting new habits is all about repetition.
  • “Give less advice and show more curiosity.” – something which is so true for sales, too!
  • Ask your questions straight to the point without making long introductions.
  • Do not assume the answer if you do not clearly understand the challenge.
  • “Stop offering up advice with a question mark attached. That doesn’t count as asking a question.” – had to laugh reading this.
  • “Focus on the real problem, not the first problem.”
  • “Go on failing. Go on. Only next time, try to fail better.” – Samuel Beckett
  • “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.” – Michael Porter
  • “Say Yes to the person, but say No to the task.”


Want to read this book?

Check it out on Amazon.com – The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier



Thanks to the publisher for printing such a great book!

Box of Crayons Press