The Seven Questions Great Coaches Ask

Michael Bungay Stanier’s book, The Coaching Habit, focuses on asking these seven Jedi/MBA level coaching questions. If you lead or manage others, pay close attention. This is how you get yourself out of the way like a pro.

I’ll present and answer them in a (weird?) one-sided dialogue for sake of this post, but seriously, print these out and hang them over wherever you take your calls or do your meetings.

Master these seven questions and you’ll make people feel heard, recognized, and empowered.

#1. What’s on your mind?

Writing a post about a book.

#2. And what else?

This book really kicked my butt. I mean, I feel like I help people, but do I really?

#3, What’s the real challenge for you here?

I feel like I already know the answer, but if people I’m talking to don’t self-discover it, they’ll never follow through on what I’m saying.

#4. What do you want?

I want to know how to shut up and still guide them? I want them to succeed with my help, but without my specific advice.

#5. How can I help?

You’re doing it now. I needed to say this out loud I guess. I don’t need anything else from you immediately.

#6. If you’re saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?

I guess I’m saying yes to questioning and not answering, so I’m saying no to being the smart guy in the conversation. I’ll shut up and help them to figure it out without putting my ideas on the table first every time.

#7. What was most useful to you?

Thinking through this out loud. I see what I need to be doing now.

Thanks Michael Bungay Stanier.


One more time in consolidated form:

  1. What’s on our mind?
  2. And what else?
  3. What’s the real challenge for you here?
  4. What do you want?
  5. How can I help?
  6. If you’re saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?
  7. What was most useful to you?