The Coaching Habit Summary

BookSummaryClub Blog The Coaching Habit Summary

The lowdown: The Coaching Habit gives you the tools to effectively coach your colleagues, employees and others.

Only 23% of employees say that coaching sessions have had a positive impact on their performance.

That number is disappointingly low, but when you consider some of the poorly trained coaches out there, it isn’t surprising.

Let’s be honest here, any idiot can put a shingle on their wall and call themselves a coach.

That is why there are so many shithouse ones.

The Coaching Habit aims give workplace leaders the tools needed to coach others and create a workplace that fosters self-improvement.

The book breaks down all the elements of coaching and explains how to coach the right way.

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever
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The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Michael Bungay Stanier (Author) – Daniel Maté (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 06/20/2016 (Publication Date) – Post Hypnotic Press inc. (Publisher)

The three main lessons from The Coaching Habit are:

  1. Make sure you’re focused on empowering, not improvement
  2. There are only three questions you need to initiate and maintain a useful coaching conversation
  3. Knowing how to ask is as important as knowing what to ask
The Coaching Habit Summary

Lesson One: Make sure you’re focused on empowering, not improvement

When coaching a team (or a client), you should not be looking to apply band-aid solutions and chase short-term goals.

If you’re constantly looking to put out spot-fires, you won’t be improving your colleagues in the long term.

Instead, look to empower colleagues and clients by spotting areas they can improve and working long-term to get there.

The best way to do this, is not to have weekly or monthly coaching meetings. Instead, try and have shorter informal chats every day. This can be around the coffee machine or just around the office.

Lesson Two: There are only three questions you need to initiate and maintain a useful coaching conversation

Okay, so now we know when to ask (all the time, and casually)… we need to know what to ask.

Knowing what questions to ask is a rare skill in coaching, which is a main reason that so many coaching sessions are unsuccessful.

It is hard to ask questions and not give answers, especially when you’re starting out. However, these three skills will have you ready to start and maintain a conversation.

What’s on your mind?

‘What’s on your mind?’ is mentioned in the book as the ‘kickstarter’ question. The question is asked to make sure that a coaching conversation doesn’t turn into a twenty-minute yarn about your weekend.

And what else? (AWE)

AWE is used to keep a conversation moving and making sure you don’t stay on a topic for too long.

Furthermore, it gets the coach talking less, and the person getting coached talking more.

However, AWE can also be used on the rare occasion that you as a coach want to make a comment. Although, keep in mind that the point of coaching is to empower others to come to their own conclusions, so shut your mouth for most of the conversation.

What’s the real challenge here for you?

Referred to as the ‘focus question’, asking what the real challenge is will pinpoint the issue at hand.

The focus question will cut through the crap and the useless complaining and put you on track to progress.

Make the kickstarter, AWE and focus the biggest weapons in your coaching arsenal.

Lesson Three: Knowing how to ask is as important as knowing what to ask

As someone who is prone to making the odd sudden and rash comment (shock horror), I know it can be hard to bite your tongue… especially when you have an answer.

But you’re not there to give advice.

Be a parent at home or a preacher on Sundays… you’re here to be a coach.

Also, don’t try to hide advice by asking rhetorical questions. Asking “have you considered….?”, or “What about…..?” is not actually asking anything at all; you’re giving advice and sneaking it in as a question.

However, the real struggle with coaching comes when you try to find a balance… if you ask too many questions you’ll turn the coaching session into an interrogation and your colleague may completely close off.

So, here are some tips on how to ask questions correctly:

  • Ask ‘what’ questions and not ‘why’. Why questions but the receiver on the defensive
  • Listen to the other person, don’t wait for your turn to speak
  • Use silence as an advantage… by waiting after a question, your employee with have time to think of an answer
  • Show you understand by being an active listener

My Personal Takeaway

I have tried coaching a few times and I am prone to blurting out advice. It is a habit that I am trying to break.

The Coaching Habit sets out good skills to help me do that.

Did this summary excite you?

Book summaries are great, but I also really believe that you will not fully understand the book or the author without trying the real thing. Learn more about this subject by listening to the full book for free via Audible.

Put it into action

To fully become an effective coach, you should look to get yourself an accountability buddy.

Find another business owner, or someone in a similar position to yourself, and set out to start creating coaching habits.

Organize semi-regular conversations where you can share advice on how you handle conversations and ask the important questions.

You should consider buying this book if…

This book is great for any workplace leader who has a team working underneath them.

I would also recommend this book if you are looking into bringing coaching into your business structure.

Or, read our other business book summaries.


Hey, I’m Erik… a Swedish university student, marketing professional, and life-long learner. Here at BookSummaryClub I summarize my favorite non-fiction books into easily digested posts. Hope you like what you’re reading!

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