What Can Your Habits Do For Others?


A few months ago a colleague recommended reading the book The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever. So I headed over to Amazon and ordered what would become my Christmas holiday read.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. Michael Bungay Stanier shares with us in a straight-to-the-point kind of way tools that can help us become better at coaching others. I especially appreciated how he was able to provide a practical approach to coaching by way of asking seven questions that really allow us to get to the nitty gritty of people’s needs. These questions reminded me of Simon Sinek’s message on the importance of being the last to speak. If you are looking to add to your leadership tools, I recommend adding this book to your reading list.

One part that really got me thinking was the way Michael suggested we approach changing habits. He suggests that there are five components to consider when building an effective new habit, one of which is making a vow. One of the parts that caught my attention was when he mentions making a vow that is connected to serving others. Thinking back to the moments in my life when I decided to adopt new and better habits, I realized that the motivation behind it was mostly intrinsic. Now I am not saying that this is a bad thing. On the contrary, it is a very good thing. But what I am saying is that I had not really intentionally considered it from the perspective of how these new habits could positively affect others. For example, I could decide to adopt the habit of reading a book a month on leadership and coaching because it could help me develop and become a better leader, coach, and communicator. But from a different perspective, it could also allow people that I come into contact with to develop even more, thus adding value to them. I find that looking at it from this point of view allows me to tap into a whole other source of inspiration and motivation. Some great advice from Michael Bungay Stanier:

So think less about what your habit can do for you, and more about how this new habit will help a person or people you care about. (The Coaching Habit)

What would be the impact if everyone followed this advice? What would our schools look like, our workplaces?

After finishing the book, I went back and read the objectives that I had set for myself for 2018. I took each one, and not only asked myself how they could have an impact on me, but also what kind of impact it could have on others.

I am glad I did.

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