Boston Centerless - Precision Matters Magazine Precision Matters Magazine Spring 2018 - Page 14
HOW TO COACH
LIKE A LEADER …
Michael Bungay Stanier
Author of The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask
More & Change the Way You Lead Forever,
WHEN YOU’RE A
Michael Bungay Stanier is the Senior Partner
and Founder of Box of Crayons, a company
that helps organizations do less Good Work
and more Great Work. It is best known for its
coaching programs, which give busy managers
practical tools to coach in 10 minutes or less.
BY: MICHAEL BUNGAY STANIER, SENIOR PARTNER AND FOUNDER , BOX OF CRAYONS
YOU KNOW who you are. You’ve been hearing about
coaching (or mentoring, its first cousin once removed) for
years now and thought, “Yeah, yeah … that’s for those HR /
‘people people’ types, not me. I’ve got a real job to do.”
Or perhaps you’ve figured out how to do pseudo-coaching.
You don’t tell people what to do directly, just cunningly ask,
“Have you thought of …?” (Which is not so much a question as
it is advice with a question mark at the end.)
Or perhaps you’re just too busy. You’re certain coaching
and mentoring takes too much time, and as much as you’d
like to sit down for a nice chat with everyone, you’re already
overcommitted and overwhelmed. There’s no room for
There’s Good Reason to Be Skeptical …
As our world has become more complex and more
millennial-y, coaching’s importance to successful teams and
organizations has only grown. I’m certain that if you work
in an organization of any size greater than one, you’ve been
encouraged to coach those you manage and lead. But what’s
good in theory is proving difficult to put into practice.
A 2006 report from leadership development firm
BlessingWhite suggests that 73 percent of managers have
had some form of coaching training. However, it seems it
wasn’t very good coaching training. Only 23 percent of people
being coached thought the coaching had a significant impact
on their performance or job satisfaction. Ten percent even
suggested that the coaching they were getting was having a
negative effect. (Those must have been miserable meetings.)
No wonder there are skeptics. And skepticism is okay.
… Just Don’t Be Cynical
The word cynic comes from the Greek word kynikos,
meaning dog-like. In other words, they’re going to cock a leg
on it, no matter what. Cynics have written the whole thing off,
regardless of the evidence.
Skeptics, on the other hand, are pretty sure it’s not worth it
… but are willing to be convinced otherwise. So skeptics, let
me tell you why you should consider being more coach-like.
1. You help those you lead
Dan Pink laid it out beautifully in his book Drive, which
shows that what really motivates people is not so much
money and status but autonomy, mastery and purpose.
There’s no faster and cleaner intervention than asking a
good question — the essence of being more coach-like — to
drive autonomy (they answer it, not you), mastery (questions
create aha! moments; advice does not) and, to a lesser extent,
purpose (if the question helps make the connection to the
why of it).
If you want those you lead to be more engaged and to