Our community of leaders recently finished discussing The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever, by Michael Bungay-Stanier. It is an absolute gem of a book!
Here are a few of our favorite ideas from the book:
“An almost fail-safe way to start a chat that quickly turns into a real conversation is the question, “What’s on your mind?”
“The first answer someone gives you is almost never the only answer, and it’s rarely the best answer.” “Even though we don’t really know what the issue is, we’re quite sure we’ve got the answer they need.”
“Your advice is not as good as you think it is.” Instead of rushing in with suggestions and advice, instead, ask the A.W.E. question: “And what else?” at least three times.
“When people start talking to you about the challenge at hand, what’s essential to remember is that what they’re laying out for you is rarely the actual problem. And when you start jumping in to fix things, things go off the rails in three ways: you work on the wrong problem; you do the work your team should be doing; and the work doesn’t get done.”
“Focus on the real problem, not the first problem.”
“Instead of moving into advice-giving, solution-providing mode, ask the Focus Question: ‘What’s the real challenge here for you?’”
“The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” –George Bernard Shaw
“One of the most compelling things you can do after asking a question is to genuinely listen to the answer. Stay curious, my friend.” If there’s silence, “bite your tongue, and don’t fill the silence.” Let them answer your question!
“A Yes is nothing without the No that gives it boundaries and form.” So, ask the Strategic Question: “If you are saying Yes to this, what are you saying No to?”
“People start learning, start creating new neural pathways, only when they have a chance to recall and reflect on what just happened.”
So, ask the Learning Question: “What was most useful for you about this conversation?” “The Learning Question immediately frames what just happened as something that was useful and creates a moment in which to figure out what it was.” “Now you’re helping people create new neural pathways.”
So, what is most useful about this summary? Which idea resonates the most with you?
“The real secret sauce here is building a habit of curiosity. The change of behavior that’s going to serve you most powerfully is simply this: a little less advice, a little more curiosity.”
If you liked this book, good news, the author has a follow up we think you will love!