Mon, 24 February 2020
Michael Bungay Stanier is a bestselling author of The Coaching Habit and the upcoming book, The Advice Trap: Be Humble, Stay Curious & Change the Way You Lead Forever, which comes out on February 29. He is also the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that helps organizations transform from advice-driven to curiosity-led.
If you’ve had the chance to read The Coaching Habit you know the seven essential coaching questions, but Michael’s newest book builds on top of that and helps readers figure out how to take steps to stay curious and change behaviors.
Michael shares that the biggest hurdle we have to overcome is the advice monster. What is the advice monster? He says, “the advice monster is that thing that keeps looming up going, "No. No. No. I know you think you're curious but let me just pull you back onto the dark side, and have you lurking into telling advice and offering solutions and being the person with the answer." And everybody listening in right now knows this experience, somebody starts talking and you don't really know what's going on. You don't really know the people involved. You don't really have the context, you certainly don't have the technical specifications required and after about 10 seconds, you're like, "Oh, oh no, no. I've got something to say here. No, no, no, stop talking." And if you recognize that at all in yourself, and you do, you know you do. This is your advice monster. It's the pattern of behavior that has you going, "The way I add value is I jump in and I provide solutions.”
And while human nature is to think our advice is good, that’s not usually the case. And Michael shares three main reasons why giving advice isn’t the best course of action.
The answer is to be curious a little bit longer and take a more coachlike approach. “It is not a bad idea to just as a philosophy to go, "Look, even if I have good advice, what if I just shut up? Not forever, not for days, not for months, but just a little bit longer." That's how we define coaching, or being more coach-like. Can you stay curious a little bit longer? Can you rush to action and advice-giving a little bit more slowly? That's it. It's like coming back to this idea, that there's a time and a place for advice, it's not just as fast as you think it is.”