The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier

Coaching habitThe Coaching Habit was written by Michael Bungay Stanier. The book aims to help people develop coaching as a habit by teaching seven easy to ask questions to get a coaching conversation going.

The book also has tips on how to build new habits. The seven questions discussed are:

  1. The Kickstart question which is for starting a conversation.
  2. The AWE question which is for identifying options to discuss after asking the Kickstart AWE stands for “And What Else?”
  3. The Focus question which is about identifying the most important thing to focus the conversation on.
  4. The Foundation question is to find out what a person wants.
  5. The Lazy question is used to find out how you can be of help to a person.
  6. The Strategic question helps to identify issues that may be overwhelming a person.
  7. The Learning question is used to conclude a conversation.

Each question is discussed in a separate section and since this is a book about building a new habit, it starts out discussing some steps to take when building new habits. In between the sections for each question are tips on how to use questions effectively. The tips are:

  • Don’t ask more than one question at a time.
  • Don’t waste time asking the question, just ask it.
  • Don’t ask rhetorical questions, they are just advice with a question mark.
  • Stick to questions starting with “what”.
  • Get comfortable with silence.
  • Genuinely listen to the answers you get from asking questions.
  • Acknowledge the answers you get.

The ideas in this book are not new, but they’re presented in an easy-to-understand way. Even if you can’t learn all the questions using just one or two of them effectively will improve your coaching conversations.

There are three key lessons i have taken from this book which I have combined into a skill I’ve called, how to start a conversation. The three lessons are based on three of the questions which are the Kickstart, AWE and Focus questions.

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