The Coaching Habit

Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever
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This is what I’m most proud of: thousands of reader’s reviews showcasing real change in leadership & lifestyle.
Five years after publishing, this book is still #1 in its category. No easy feat.
Wall Street Journal Bestseller with over 900,000 copies sold!

The #1 Best Selling Book in Business Mentoring & Coaching

– Source:, June 2021

practical and inspiring

Brené BrownAuthor of Rising Strong and Daring Greatly

brilliant how-to manual

David AllenAuthor of Getting Things Done

simple yet profound

Daniel PinkAuthor of Drive

concise and compelling

Bob SuttonAuthor of Scaling Up Excellence

practical, useful and interesting

Dave UlrichAuthor of The Leadership Code

Why be more coach-like?

More focus,

more impact,

more time.

The truth is, you can’t work any harder than you are already. You’re probably feeling overconnected, overcommitted and overwhelmed. It’s not about working harder, it’s about having more impact.

To do that, change the way you work and the way you lead. With The Coaching Habit, that’s simpler than you thought.

Michael Bungay-Stanier

What You'll Learn

The Coaching Habit gives you 7 questions and the tools to make them an everyday habit. Master them, and you’ll be able to work less hard and have more impact.

Pages 16-27 How to build a habit that sticks

The second chapter of the book focuses on The New Habit Formula, a simple three-step process that draws on psychology, behavioural economics and neuroscience to help embed a new behaviour. With nods to Charles Duhigg (The Power of Habit), BJ Fogg ( and more, it punctures the myths and lies about habit building and gives you the formula they need.

Pages 35-48 This is how you stop the chit chat and get into a real conversation fast

There’s nothing like a good opening line, whether it’s “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” or “did it hurt when you fell from heaven?” Having a powerful opening question – the Kickstart Question – can stop the syndrome of the frustrating conversation that never quite gets to the point.

Pages 55-72 Is this the most powerful coaching question in the world?

There are many powerful questions out in the world. But there’s only one question that makes every other question more powerful and more effective. It’s a question of only three words, but it’s no coincidence that the acronym is AWE

Pages 79-98 Why your busy-ness is going up, and your impact is going down

In most organizations people are working hard and coming up with outstanding ideas to solve … the wrong problem. People too easily mistake the first challenge that’s raised as the real challenge. But it so rarely is. There’s one question – the Focus Question – that slows the rush to fix the first challenge and helps people get to the heart of the real challenge.

Pages 86-92 The three reasons we’re all solving the wrong problems

To be more effective and have more impact, we’ve got to be working on the real challenge. But somehow we all end up working hard on other problems that might be intriguing … but are just not as important. What keeps distracting us? There are three familiar patterns that can keep us from honing in on the real challenge: Proliferation of Challenges; Coaching the Ghost; and Abstractions & Generalizations.

Pages 133-152 Is laziness the secret of effective leadership?

If you’re succeeding at work, it’s a sure bet you’re not lazy. But it’s also a sure bet that you’re at full capacity. You just can’t do any more, because you’re already working all the hours there are. It’s time to do something differently, and using the Lazy Question might just be the most simplest new tool to increase your level of impact.

Pages 159-178 Why strategy is mostly about questions and not answers

“Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable,” said Eisenhower. And yet our strategic conversations tend to be all about the output: that thick document laying out the next 12 months, 3 years, 5 years … But Eisenhower was right. And the essence of planning lies in a smart question.

Pages 159-178 The hardest question to answer for the ambitious leader

If you’re looking to shoot up the corporate hierarchy, if you’re claiming the moniker of HiPo, if you’re wanting to make a dent in this universe, then there’s one question you must be able to answer. It’s the Strategic Question, and in many ways it’s the hardest question of all to face.

Pages 136-142 Stuck in the crippling Drama Triangle? Here’s how to escape

A little known but powerful model explains why most managers spend their time ineffectively overworking, frustrating themselves and their team in the process. The Drama Triangle suggests three roles get played at a time of dysfunction: Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer. Understanding those three roles (and how to escape them) offers manages and leaders the opportunity to work less hard and have more impact.

Pages 117-123 The neuroscience of engagement

Neuroscience is the new frontier in management and leadership skills. Brain-based science is giving us a deeper understanding of how we really work and the implications for being an effective leader. Learn the TERA model for understanding the neuroscience of engagement, and which question (of all the questions) might be the most effective at raising the TERA Quotient.
8 Question Masterclasses

A sharp, habit-forming leadership manual... A trenchant guide to coaching for business managers.


whether you have coached, been coached, or call bullshit on coaching in general, The Coaching Habit is for you

Kick Ass Book Reviews

hands-on and real


nuts-and-bolts business book [that] forces us to reframe our assumptions, thoughts, and feelings about the importance and effect of the work we do


The Coaching Habit is one of 10 books that are short enough to read in a few hours, yet highly likely to make tomorrow more productive

Fast Company

[helps overcome] the habit of giving advice and developing a new habit of asking questions first

HuffPost Business

Want a test drive?

Download a sample from the first three chapters of The Coaching Habit.