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The title of this little gem extends to The Coaching Habit, Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever. This was a recommendation by an Agile Coach, indeed a good one!

Coaching is one of the most important aspects of leading and managing people and asking the right questions is a skill possessed by very few! This book, though small, gives very focused advice about which questions to ask, has a habit-forming exercise at the end of every chapter, a Question Masterclass at the beginning of each chapter and as a bonus talks about lot of concepts which one can choose in work life while coaching people or sometimes in normal conversations!

It provides you with Seven Types of Questions to better manage and empower a conversation. He starts with the Kickstart Question “What’s on your mind?” which is neither too open nor too confining. It gives people autonomy and makes them trust you! When combined with other techniques like 3P model framework (Process, People, and Patterns), it becomes more than an icebreaker and leads to a focused conversation.  The Awe question, “And What else?” is magical as with just three simple words, it creates more wisdom, more possibilities, more self-awareness and more insights! It will also keep your advice monster in control! Just stay curious and genuine and move on when its time!

When you have triggered a useful question and you have a strong desire to fix an issue or offer a solution, its time for the Focus Question: “What is the real challenge here for you?” Every single word in this question is significant! Often the first problem stated is not the real problem and this one leads you to the heart of the issue.

The Fourth question is the Foundation Question “What do you want?”  which generally stops people in their tracks for mostly they don’t know what they exactly want. From the answer you get to this question, see if you can guess the need behind the person’s request from Max Neef’s 9 universal needs!

The Lazy Question “How can I help?” is a powerful one as it lets the coachee do your job! You might actually be told what the solution is or what you are expected to do. Keep in mind that you have your options for responding! The Strategic Question “When you are saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?” is quite complex but it enforces commitment and creates boundaries for the Yes! The Learning Question “What was Most Useful For You?” is a perfect end to a conversation, it gives people a chance to recall and reflect on what just happened.It makes it personal, gives you feedback and it’s not a judgment.

The author also talks about interesting concepts like the Karpman Drama Triangle and TERA which you can use to influence the environment that drives engagement.

A lot of great insights in the masterclasses as well! When you have a question, just ask it! The author also advises to ask only ONE question at a time. He strongly opposes the idea of offering an idea with a question mark attached. Questions starting with Why should be replaced by those starting with ‘What’ ! The Whys make people defensive and mostly take the conversations downhill! For e.g. Instead of asking “Why did you do that?’ , ask “What were you hoping here? 

Another very good advice is to learn to be comfortable with silence. Don’t be desperate to fill the silence with more questions, consider it a measure of success for it allows the coachee to look for answers.  During the conversations, actually listen, acknowledge and make steady eye contact.

Unlike lot of other non fiction books, this is very tightly packed, there is no fluff or unnecessary pages of text! There are a lot of reading recommendations throughout! You will get a mini TBR just after reading this book 🙂  It’s one of the best non fiction books I have read till now! Highly recommended!!

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