The first coaching book that I read was “The Coaching Habit; Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way you Lead Forever” by Michael Bungay Stanier. I was travelling on my own and looking for something to speed the journey. Trawling the Kindle store, the title caught my attention, as at the time, I was going through some challenges and questioning my leadership ability. Boy, did it hit the mark for me; the content was so enlightening but easy to digest, the ideas so obvious once they were pointed out. This book was a turning point in my methods, moving from imparting my knowledge on others to helping people unlock their own potential and become independent thinkers.
Moving from a teaching profession into coaching, I revisited “The Coaching Habit” as one of my CPD readings and I found it just as useful the second time around. I wish I had picked it up again sooner, for its value is not just in leadership scenarios and coaching, but in everyday life.
The book gives seven basic questions to use in any coaching situations; dealing with employees, clients, family; online, face-to-face. It gives exercises for building your coaching habits and lots of links to external materials to support your learning along the way. Follow the advice and it will help you help others. You will find you become a more effective leader in all areas of your life.
My favourite quote from the book “Tell less and ask more. Your advice is not as good as you think it is.” is a simple reminder of the thrust of the book; that people don’t like to be told what to do, that they are more effective when they come up with their own solutions and that they are the experts in their own lives. As a coach, your job is not to direct, but to ask the right questions, without prejudice, and listen, really listen, without jumping in with your advice. It’s not easy, it is in our nature to want to offer advice, but it comes with practice and the results are much more effective.