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November 1, 2019
Vol. 77
No. 3

Relevant Read / The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More and Change the Way You Lead Forever

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Professional Learning
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A Word of Advice on Coaching

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier (Box of Crayons Press, 2016)
We all love giving advice (solicited or not) and offering our opinions. When we see others struggling with a problem, we want to immediately jump in with a solution. This "Pavlovian" reaction has been conditioned in most managers and leaders, says Michael Bungay Stanier in his best-selling book The Coaching Habit. But unlike advice giving, effective coaching requires "a little more asking people questions and a little less telling people what to do."
Building a coaching habit calls on leaders to engage in conversations more mindfully—and with curiosity. Drawing from his work training nearly 10,000 managers to hone their coaching skills, Stanier identifies seven questions to ask sequentially that should be part of any leader's "management repertoire."
  1. What's on your mind?
  2. What else?
  3. What's the real challenge here for you?
  4. What do you want?
  5. How can I help?
  6. If you're saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?
  7. What was most useful to you?
Educators might find these questions useful for coaching sessions, one-on-one and team meetings, or everyday conversations with staff and colleagues.
This quick read includes practical tips derived from Stanier's workshops, short videos, and observations from top motivational experts, such as Daniel Pink. If you want to build your coaching muscles or simply be a better listener, pick up Stanier's Coaching Habit.

Sarah McKibben is the editor in chief of Educational Leadership magazine.

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