Michael is the founder of Box of Crayons, a company best known for teaching 10-minute coaching so that busy managers can build stronger teams and get better results.
While he’s all for promoting coaching in the organisations, he says that we should never try to build a coaching culture.
Coaching is a powerful force for change and goodness in organisational life but it’s merely a means to an end – a process that helps better outcomes happen. And when we talk about building a “coaching culture” too much, the danger is that we make coaching culture the thing rather than what it allows to bring to this world.
Michael knows that asking managers to do something over and above what they are already doing as part of their role isn’t realistic. So instead, he approaches coaching as “a way of being”.
Being a coach-like manager is not about adding something to your already too long to-do list. It's about transforming the way you manage.
Being a coach-like manager is basically about being curious for a little bit longer and rushing to action and advice giving just a little bit more slowly.
To be a coach-like manager, all you need to do is to stay curious a little bit longer and rush to action just a little bit more slowly.
Michael’s no-nonsense, manager-focused approach to cultivating a coaching culture reminded me of the huge importance of empathy in a change effort.
And probably one of the reasons why so many change efforts fail, particualrly culture change efforts, is that empathy is not easy. We are not wired to step into someone else’s shoes and to see the world from their perspective. But if you can do the empathy bit well, everything else just flows from there.
Empathy is not easy. We are not wired to step into someone else’s shoes and see the world from their perspective. But if you can do the empathy bit well, everything else just flows from there.
What struck me in this interview is that Michael has done his empathy homework really well. He has very clear answers to questions like: “Why do managers resist coaching?” or “What are their concerns when it comes to coaching?”. No wonder that his approach to teaching coaching and building a coaching culture is met with such a great enthusiasm from people he works with.
What you will learn in this episode
- Why it should never be just about building a coaching culture
- Key reasons managers don’t coach as much as they’d like to
- Ways of overcoming obstacles to managerial coaching
- What to do when you realise that you contribute to your team members’ challenges at work
- How to convince people in your organisation that coaching is worth their time and effort
More about Michael
When people talk about his successes, Michael likes to balance it out mentioning that he was banned from his high school graduation for “the balloon incident,” was sued by one of his law school lecturers for defamation, and his first published piece of writing was a Harlequin romance short story called “The Male Delivery.”
On the way to founding Box of Crayons in 2002, Michael lived in Australia, England, the United States and Canada, his current home.
He has written a number of books. His latest, the Wall Street Journal bestseller The Coaching Habit, has sold over 350,000 copies. It has been praised as one of the few business books that actually makes people laugh out loud.
If I had to pick a person to have dinner with, when I need to be prodded and challenged and inspired to think about the things I really am committed to think about for myself and what I’m doing, I’d pick Michael Bungay Stanier. He has an ability to shake our tree and make us more conscious and responsible about what we know but aren’t willing to admit we know yet.
—David Allen, author of Getting Things Done
You can find out more about Michael at:
Books and resources mentioned on this episode