7 Coaching Habits from the review of The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier

Coaching Habits are simple..

This book review will show you that coaching is simple and can be done in 10 minutes or less, should be a daily informal act and is a coaching habit you can build, says the author. Drawing on years of experience training more than 10,000 busy managers from around the globe in practical, everyday coaching habits and skills, Bungay Stanier reveals how to unlock your peoples’ potential. To start with he teaches the reader how to build a habit and to do that effectively you need five essentials: a reason, a trigger, a micro-habit, an effective practice and a plan. These five are used over and over throughout the book as he teaches each of the seven questions.

He unpacks seven essential coaching questions to demonstrate how–by saying less and asking more–you can develop coaching methods that produce great results.

Here are the seven questions with short explanations.


Book Review of Coaching Habits

Book review

  1. The opening question, the icebreaker, the kickstart question – “What’s on your mind?” This question allows the client to spend the coaching time on what matters most to them, and keeps small talk to a minimum.
  2. AWE, The awe question – “And what else?” This question allows to client to go as deep as they like and explore options that are available to solve the dilemma. This question can be asked repeatedly and is a tool to use when we want to start giving advice.
  3. The focus question – “What’s the real challenge here for you?” This question helps to boils down to what the main thing really is for the client.
  4. The foundation question – “What do you want?” The author calls this the Goldfish question, since it can elicit bugged out eyes and gaping mouth, since, he says, we often don’t know what we want.
  5. The lazy question – “How can I help?” Keeping the relationship squarely in the autonomy space, this question keeps the coach from rushing in with the answer, but allows the client to state what would be helpful for them.
  6. The strategic question – “If you’re saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?” This question honors the sacrifice that is made when making a decision. The no can give boundaries to the yes.
  7. The learning question – “What was most useful for you?” This question helps to solidify the learning that may have happened in the coaching call for the client, by having a change to reflect on what made an impact during the session.


coaching habits

coaching habits


There are awesome coaching habits and skills sprinkled throughout the book like asking one question at a time, learning to get comfortable with silence, really listening and relying more on “what” questions. This was a super practical coaching book that I found quite helpful and would recommend to anyone looking to be more coach like in their work or relationships, as well as work with clients.


“Michael Bungay Stanier distills the essentials of coaching to seven core questions. And if you master his simple yet profound technique, you’ll get a two-fer. You’ll provide more effective support to your employees and co-workers. And you may find that you become the ultimate coach for yourself.”
Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell Is Human and Drive

“What can you do to become a better leader? Michael asks and answers this question by offering aspiring leaders seven thoughtful questions that will change their leadership habits. This book is full of practical, useful and interesting questions, ideas and tools that will guide any leader trying to be better.”
Dave Ulrich, co-author of The Why of Work and The Leadership Code


To get your own copy of this book click here.

Want to read another book review? Try The Deepest Well by Nadine Burke Harris, M.D.

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About the Author: Kendy Anderson

Kendy lives in northern California with her husband and daughters. The mother of six children—some grown, twin daughters still at home—and a grandmother to five, she raises poultry, enjoys scrapbooking, sewing and gardening, and loves to read. She lives with several pain-producing conditions but hates to miss out because of pain, so she loves coping strategies—choices she makes daily that have her back to “doing life,” rather than being a spectator or withdrawing completely. After being coached for her own pain, she made the decision to take coach training. As a TCC®U- and Nationally-certified coach, she helps clients learn pain management skills and return to happy and productive lives. She wholeheartedly believes it is possible to change your perception about pain.

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