top of page

The Coaching Habit

Updated: Aug 11, 2020

Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

Andrea Seydel Live Life Happy Unconventional Bookclub

The Book The Coaching Habit gives you seven questions and tools to help you work less hard and have more impact. It takes courage to ask a question rather than offer advice. This book is full of practical, useful and interesting questions, ideas and tools that can help you be a better coach, parent, friend, spouse or leader. Michael Bungay Stanier has it right, since we are creatures of habit and from our habits we create our lives, The Coaching Habit is a manual for applying the power of the coaching model that are simple and powerful. Managers, leaders and parents need to coach their people and children. Coaching is a leadership and parenting style that is remarkably powerful.

1. The Kickstart Question

What's on your mind?

Let's talk about the thing that matters most. Asking this question allows you to call them forward to learn, improve and growth rather than just get something sorted out.

This question is like a pressure release valve and releases the challenge that one person might be facing. Listen to the answer!

NEW HABIT: Ask question and really listen to the answer you are getting. Acknowledge the answers you get with things like, Fantastic, I like it, nice, good one, mmm-hmmm,.

2. The AWE Question

And what else?

This question creates more wisdom, insight, self awareness, and more possibilities. Uncover and create new possibilities.

More options allow for better decisions . What would happen if you added one more option? Better options lead to better decisions and best decisions lead to great success. Keep in mind the paradox of choice. Barry Schwartz talked about the overwhelm that comes with choice.

NEW HABIT: 1. Tame the advice monster. 2. Stay curious and genuine, ask AWE questions frequently. 3. Recognize success. Nothing else=success. 4. Move on when it's time. wrap up with, Is there anything else? 5. Not about gazillion choices, but to see what the person has already thought of. 6. Avoid fake questions that offer advice like Have you thought of...

3. The Focus Question

What is the real challenge here for you?

This question allows you to focus on the real problem, not just the first problem. We need to manage the temptation to jump into fixing the challenge. Slow down to find out the heart of the issue. Cut through the fog. What's the challenge? May be too vague What's the really challenge here? Implies numerous challenges. What's the real challenge here for you? FOR YOU is what pins the question to the person you are talking to. It keeps it personal.

NEW HABIT : Instead of moving into advice-giving, solution-providing mode, you ask the focus question. Remember you are being helpful, there is a place for advice, Add and what else? to your What's the real challenge here for you?

4. The Foundation Question

What do you want?

Peeple often don't actually know what the do want. They've been focused on what they don't want. This question stops people in there tracks.

Since we can never assume everyone knows what we want, it is pervasive and causes frustration. There are needs that underly what the person is wanting.

Neuroscience says that our brain operates in the risk reward response. Brain scans the environment asking is it safe here? Or is it dangerous? Brain feels safe it operates at sophisticated level. Brain senses danger amygdala hijack flight or fight.

NEW HABIT: 1. Ask and listen to response. 2. Maintain supportive safe atmosphere. 3. Listen for needs underneath what person wants. 4. Allow for space or silence.

5. The Lazy Question

How can I help?

We have a tendency to want to add value and be helpful however sometimes stepping in and taking over can lead to frustration, exhaustion, and reduced impact. This question allows the person to make a clear and direct request.

The Karpman Drama triangle where there is a Victim or Rescuer or Persecutor. Knowing where you tend to go during conflict or challenge allows for deeper understanding. Eg. Resucer tend to leap into solve problems. Victim tends to ask for advice.

NEW HABIT: 1. Instead of giving answers say, "That's a great question. I've got some ideas, which I'll share with you. But before I do, what are your first thoughts?"

6. The Strategic Question

If you are saying Yes to this, What are you saying No to?

This question makes people clear and committed to their YES. It gives boundaries.

NEW HABIT: 1. Get clear on what exactly person is saying YES to. 2. What could being fully committed to this idea look like? 3. Get clear on what they have to say NO to in order to set boundaries. 3. Consider saying YES more slowing in your own life, stay curious before committing.

7. The Learning Question

What was most helpful for you?

This question offers a double loop learning opportunities. They thing about the problem and solution at the same time, making a connection or aha moment. This question assumes the conversation was useful.

NEW HABIT: 1. Create space for learning moments. 2. Make it stick and interrupt forgetting. 3. Encourage selection. 4. Other examples: What was most useful for you? What did you learn? What ws the key insight? What do you want to remember? What is important to capture? 5. Use this question as bookend to meetings, deep conversations, coaching sessions.


FORMING A COACHING HABIT- A little more asking people questions and a little less telling people what to do. 45 Percent of our waking behaviour is habitual, run by our subconscious mind. It take awareness to change behaviour and form new habits. Practice and repetition forms new habits. Now you can form the coaching habit with these 7 Powerful questions.

For a full highlight of this book visit my Live Life happy Podcast or website at

Book Link:

17 views0 comments


bottom of page