Every so often I come across a book that really does change the way I behave. “The Coaching Habit” by Michael Bungay Stanier is one such book. He breaks down the complex task of coaching (which most managers dread), into a set of seven powerful questions.
I challenge you to try asking one this week and see how it elevates the conversation with your employee.
Here they are:
1. What’s on your mind? A simple, easy opener to get the conversation started and key in on what’s important.
2. And what else? A powerful question to get at the core of the issue (hint: use it 2-3x in the same conversation to peel back the onion). It’s surprising what you can learn by staying curious longer and avoiding giving advice.
3. What’s the real challenge here for you? Helps to pinpoint the real problem by personalizing the question.
4. What do you want? Need to cut to the heart of the matter? Ask this one.
5. How can I help? By asking this you’ll know where your employee needs you and where they don’t. Never assume.
6. If you say yes to this, what must you say no to? Prioritizing can be tough, especially when we often need to say no to things we like doing. This question help clarify what’s actually important.
7. What was most useful or valuable here for you? A chance for the person to reflect on the conversation which helps them learn, and helps you know what’s working (and what needs adjusting) as a coach.
Michael’s team at Box of Crayons runs an excellent training based upon the book, and having recently worked with them, I can say it was a worthwhile investment.