A book from Michael Stanier

The Coaching Habit
Coaching is an essential skill for leaders. But for most busy, overworked managers, coaching employees is done badly, or not at all. They're just too busy, and it's too hard to change.But what if managers could coach their people in 10 minutes or less?In Michael Bungay Stanier's�The Coac…
Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

The seven questions

  1. What's on your mind
  2. And what else?
  3. What's the real challenge here for you?
  4. What do you want?
  5. How can I help?
  6. If you say yes to this, what will you say no to?
  7. What was most useful for you?
The most important thing than asking those seven questions is to listen to the answers.
The Advice Monster: Give advice rather than asking questions; asking is the coach's hidden tool. Don't overuse the advice monster.

What's on your mind? (The Kickstart Question )

And what else? (The AWE Question)

The first answer is not always the right or the only answer.

What's the real challenge here for you? (The Focus Question)

Always try to leave the drama triangle (Victor, Prospector, Rescuer)
4 is the maximum options the brain can deal with effectively to get to a decision

What do you want? (The Foundation Question)

Each "want" question had an underlying "need." And needs are grouped under nine categories.

  1. Freedom
  2. Understanding
  3. Identity
  4. Creation
  5. Recreation
  6. Affection
  7. Participants
  8. Protection
  9. Substance
Identifying the needs behind each want question gives the power to know the human underlying for the question.

How can I help? (The Lazy Question)

You will get different requests, some of them within your control and some are not. Some you would agree to, and some are not. as a coach, you have to remember that you have more than one possible answer than "YES."

  • No, I can't do that
  • No, I can't do that, but what about ...
  • Let me think about it.
  • I have to say no to this.
Say yes/no to the task, not the person.

If you say yes to this, what will you say no to? (The Strategic Question)

The other five questions on the strategy.

  1. What is your winning aspiration & purpose?
  2. Where will you play?
  3. How will you win?
  4. What capabilities must be in place?
  5. What are management systems required?

Jumping between those questions back and forth gives us more power to make strategic decisions.

In strategy... Write What will you do and will you not do
The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.
Strategy is about the winning choices

What was most useful for you? (The Learning Question)

Interrupt the "process of forgetting"  that happens once you finish the conversion by asking this question.
People learn when they reflect and react to things.
Generating the answer is the best way to extend learning.


  • Ask, "What have you learned since our last meeting"?
  • Share what was useful for you as a coach too. This exchange is beneficial.

Coaching for Performance vs. Coaching for Development.

This is similar to dealing with the Fire (Performance) or dealing with the person who starts the fire (Development).


  • Add "for you." at the end of any question to keep focus.
  • Add "what else" at the end.
  • Write the learning and the situation.
  • Use "what" insisted of "why."
Asking questions is the thing to do as a coach. But sometimes, answering the same question is the solution to do.
Today I learned
the engagement model TERA (Tribe, Expectation, Rank, Autonomy)

The Tricky Questions (To get answers instead of advice)

How can I? How do I?

(Perfect Answer) That is a great question; I have some ideas. What comes to your mind... What else can you add?.... And what else? And then start adding your ideas or solutions to the mix.

To say "no" better ... Say yes slowly ... This means that you ask more questions before you say yes.
The plan is useless, but planning is robust.
You can use those questions while writing messages and emails as well.


Michael Bungay Stanier (MBS) » Thrilling, Important, Daunting
Introducing the works of Michael Bungay Stanier (MBS). Here you’ll find the confidence, capacity, community, & ambition to be a force for positive change.

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The Coaching Habit