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The Coaching Habit

Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

By Michael Bungay Stanier
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  • Contains 7 key ideas
The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier
Synopsis

The Coaching Habit (2016) breaks down the elements of coaching and explains how to coach effectively. Contrary to what you might think, coaching isn’t about giving advice but instead about guiding employees to find their way to success. These blinks show how you too can become a great coach.

Key idea 1 of 7

Effective coaching is about empowering a team and improving its long-term performance.

Most managers have attended a coaching seminar or two. Unfortunately, only 23 percent of employees report that coaching sessions have had a positive effect on work performance.

How can this be the case? How can we make coaching better?

Let’s start by looking at some common problems in the workplace that make it far too easy for team members and leaders to fall into unproductive work habits:

Your team refers all decisions, big and small, to you. They lose motivation, feel no agency, and you become the bottleneck of every project.

You’re overwhelmed at work. You run from meeting to meeting, checking emails on the go. If an employee has an urgent question, they need to find you first.

Your team is dedicated to completing work tasks, but you’re unsure which tasks are important and which make little difference.

As a leader, if you find yourself in one of these unproductive work dynamics, how do you make a change? The key is to develop a coaching habit.

Aim to coach your employees for ten minutes every day in an informal setting, rather than scheduling rigid weekly coaching sessions. Coaching should be a regular part of life in the office; you should always be in “coaching” mode.

A coaching habit helps you guide your employees toward self-sufficiency. It prevents you from being buried by work and reconnects you and your team to the work that matters most.

So focus on development, not performance. Performance is important, but you won’t empower your team if you’re constantly putting out small fires and forgetting the larger goals. Look for areas in which an employee can grow. Guide your team to becoming better and more effective at what they do as a group.

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