Leadership / Coaching / Questions

7 Questions From The Coaching Habit

Communication, Accountability, Respect, & Trust

Mark McMillion
8 min readOct 9, 2023

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Photo by author. Link to Amazon listing.

Michael Bungay Stanier wrote The Coaching Habit which was published in 2016. It’s a superb book which I only read recently (to my regret). In my defense, I rarely read new leadership books unless they’re by an author I’m familiar with such as Patrick Lencioni.

The field of leadership is constantly glutted with “new” ideas to take leadership “to the next level” or some other breath-taking superlative. My grad school advisor called this phenomenon putting old wine in new bottles. He’s exactly right.

Even so, while new bottles don’t change the flavor of the wine, they can give us different ways to think about leadership. Plus the reality is everyone’s always looking for the new new thing. As a leadership writer, you don’t get much credit for espousing techniques or ideas that have been around forever. Unless of course, you’re quoting ancient Greeks. They always seem to be the cool new old thing . . .

I prefer to wait until the books have been out there for a year or two. When I see others percolating their ideas over time, I’m more inclined to read and study them. This is what happened with The Coaching Habit. I’ve seen it referenced repeatedly over time and there’s been a trend in leadership away from “leading” to “coaching.” I’m not down with that but this book offers some great ideas for any leader to use across any domain (although not just any situation!).

The 7 Questions

1. The Kickstart Question

2. The AWE Question

3. The Focus Question

4. The Foundation Question

5. The Lazy Question

6. The Strategic Question

7. The Learning Question

I Googled these before I put them in the article. As a writer, the last thing I want to do is to put someone else’s stuff out there for free when they’ve written a book. These are on the Amazon listing so I’m not spilling the beans.

While I will explain each one briefly, Stanier, the author does a much better, more thorough job. My take on them…

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Mark McMillion

Retired Army officer with two tours in Baghdad, married with four kids. Proud West Virginian and West Point grad. Works available on Amazon.