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  • Writer's pictureWanda Wallace

Michael Bungay Stanier on Coaching

By Dr. Wanda Wallace

Coaching… Is what we wish all of our managers would do for us. Most managers reply with something about their lack of time. Time to learn how to coach, to prepare for a conversation, to keep talking and to follow-up. Ok, every manager I know is pressed for time every minute of every day.

Coaching doesn’t have to be hard or take a long time. There is a simple solution that anyone can use anytime. Michael Bungay Stanier writes about the solution in The Coaching Habit. Since it’s the one year anniversary of a very popular book, I thought I would summarize (for time stretched managers) the key points.

First, on Attitude

Our belief as human beings is that when people bring us a concern, as good managers, we want to add value and be of help – which usually comes in the form of giving advice. However, the advice isn’t appreciated, people don’t take advice well, and the manager is just training people to be co-dependent versus thinking for themselves.

The solution: Stay curious just a little longer. Be a little slower to give advice.

Second, on The Questions To Ask

To stay curious a little longer, there are seven key questions.

What is on your mind? What is the real challenge here? And what else? (Repeat as often as it is helpful.) What do you want? If you say yes to this, what are you saying no to? How can I help you? Or, what do you want from me? What did you learn from this conversation? Or, what was most valuable to you in this conversation?

Third, on Time

It’s that easy – seven questions. Make a new habit by practicing, consciously, for 21 days. People think for themselves, they feel ownership as a result, they feel cared for (and more engaged), they are happier with you as a manager and you have less work to do to fix things. Who doesn’t have time for that?

Additional Resources:

For Wanda’s interview with Michael Bungay Stanier, click here.

See Michael’s book, The Coaching Habit. To email Michael, click here.


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