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Notes On “The Coaching Habit”

Sophia Brandt
tax officer turned programmer — ️never stop learning! Currently Angular, TypeScript
Originally published at rockyourcode.com on ・3 min read

🚀 The Book in 3 Sentences

Stay curious a little bit longer, say less, and ask more questions.

Your advice is not as good as you think it is.

The book offers a toolkit to become a better leader by giving you a framework of principles and questions.

🎨 Impressions

It's a short book which explains each concept individually, and then offers an actionable script to help you change your behavior. Easy to read.

Who Should Read It?

“The Coaching Habit” is a book for leaders and managers, but I've found the attitude and questions useful in everyday life, too.

☘️ How the Book Changed Me

I've started an effort to become a better listener. I love to talk, so it's hard for me to ask questions and to embrace the silence.

Since sprinkling in a few of the 7 questions into my conversations, I've realized that a good question can be very powerful.

I've also found the tips on how to set boundaries very helpful and try to at least think about my limits before saying yes to something.

✍️ My Top 3 Quotes

When you ask someone [a question], sometimes what follows is silence.

Silence is often a measure of success.

It may be that the person [...] is the type who needs a moment or three to formulate the answer in his head before speaking it. In which case you're giving him that space.


But a Yes is nothing without the No that gives it boundaries and form.


The Secret to saying No is to shift the focus and learn how to say Yes more slowly.

📒 Notes

  • The 3P model: what to focus on: a project, a person or a pattern of behavior
  • uncover more options by asking questions, the first solution is rarely the best one
  • when people talk about the challenge at hand, it's seldom the actual problem
  • coaching for development (shifts focus to the person trying to solve the problem) vs. coaching for performance (everyday solving-the-problem management)
  • stick to questions starting with “what”
  • if you're not trying to fix things, you don't need the backstory
  • we often don't know what we actually want
  • get comfortable with silence
  • “How can I help?” forces your colleague to make a direct and clear request & forces you to stop leaping into action before you know what's needed
  • ask more questions before committing to a Yes, example: “According to what standard does this need to completed? By when?”, "If I couldn't do all of this, but could do just a part, what part would you have me do?"
  • “Say Yes to the person, but say No to the task.”

The 7 Questions

  1. The Kickstart Question: “What's On Your Mind?”
  2. The AWE Question: “And What Else?”
  3. The Focus Question: “What's the Real Challenge Here For You?”
  4. The Foundation Question: “What Do You Want?”
  5. The Lazy Question: “How Can I Help?” (Be curious)
  6. The Strategic Question: “If You're Saying Yes to This, What Are You Saying No To?”
  7. The Learning Question: “What Was Most Useful For You?”

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