The Coaching Habit’s 7 Questions

The Book (read it)

The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier


  • Coaching is a habit
  • Habits are hard to change
  • Good coaching requires deliberate practice
  • These seven questions help coach effectively (a Socrates like method of asking questions that help individuals reach solutions on their own).

The Questions

  1. What is on your mind? (The kickstart question)
  2. And what else?
  3. What is the real challenge here for you? (The focus question)
  4. What do you want? (Foundation question)
  5. What do you want from me? (Lazy question)
  6. If you say yes to this, what must you say no to? (Strategic Question)
  7. What was the most useful here for you? (Learning Question)

Take Aways

Rules of thumb

  • The answers are within, we need to find them, and help other find them
  • Do not take responsibility of others
  • Focus is key
  • To change a habit identify:
    • the trigger, (the hardest thing)
    • the behaviour that needs to be replaced with a new behaviour, and finally,
    • the reward

As a lead, help team members

  • address their concerns
  • dig deeper into the challenges they face, help see them for what they really are
  • get to the point
  • understand the desired outcome
  • ask for help
  • understand the tradeoffs
  • get feedback

Flow – Being in the Zone

Explains the relationship between challenges and skills.

The Book

Flow: The psychology of happiness by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi


When doing any task there are 2 factors involved:

  • The challenge – how complex is the task itself
  • The skill – how hard / easy is it for the person to do the task

These 2 factors intersect in a point called “Flow”.

The intersection can explain several emotions that arise within a person.

Frustration – When a task is too complex and the and the skill does not meet the challenge

Boredom – When a task is too simple and skill far exceeds the challenge

Flow – When the challenge and the skill are just right for each other.

In Flow a person enters a mental space where:

  • there is loss of time
  • in many cases there is a deep sense of joy
  • there is a sense of meaning


  • Helps understand what is happening when experiencing frustration, or boredom.
  • To find Flow in any task, it is possible consider whether changing the complexity or whether the skill required can be changed.