TME 006 : Michael Bungay Stanier Shares How The Coaching Habit Helps You Work Less Hard Yet Make More Impact

MBS Michael Bungay Stanier was banned from his high school graduation for “the balloon incident,” was sued by one of his Law School lecturers for defamation, and managed to give himself a concussion while digging a hole as a laborer.

Luckily, there’s also been some upside.

Michael was a Rhodes Scholar and has a degree from Oxford University.

He is the author of a number of books.  The latest and greatest is a fantastic book called The Coaching Habit.

Michael is also founder and senior partner of Box of Crayons, a company that helps organizations do less Good Work acoaching habitnd more Great Work. Their focus is on helping time-crunched managers coach in 10 minutes or less, and their Fortune 500 clients include TD Bank, Kraft, Gartner, and VMWare.

In this episode, you’ll hear about Michael’s audacious life goal (almost as audacious as Chade-Meng Tan’s life goal!), why he and his wife never owned a house, car, or even a major appliance, and how Michael accidentally wrote a fantastic book on mindfulness.

You’ll also learn about a simple habit that can help you simultaneously save time, help people develop as leaders, and improve every conversation you have, and also about the most powerful coaching question in the world.

To connect with Michael, please visit

Show Notes

2:25 – Michael’s life goal

6:18 – How to craft an inspiring vision

8:38 – Michael’s core values

14:52 – The greatest personal struggle mindfulness helped him overcome

24:30 – A simple mindfulness habit that can improve every conversation you have

26:00 – How to transform a simple conversation into an opportunity to help some develop as a leader while also saving you time

29:25 – We discuss how while writing a fantastic book on coaching, Michael accidentally wrote a fantastic book on mindfulness

35:12 – The best coaching question in the world

39:03 – The power of starting your questions with the word “what”

45:20 – How to successfully create a helpful habit like mindfulness and asking good questions instead of giving advice (here’s a link to a quick, free read to help you get started).

49:03 – The books Michael has most recently read = Deep Work by Cal Newport and The Happiness Equation by Niel Pazreeka

49:39 – His favorite online resources for mindfulness = Erick Klien –

51:20 – Some of his favorite living teachers of mindfulness = Erick Klien and Susan Peiver

51:37 – Michael’s favorite retreat center = His bed

51:54 – Favorite book on mindfulness  = A Common Prayer

52:27 – Favorite mindfulness practice

53:53 – If Michael had 60 seconds left to live, here’s the advice he would give how to live an awesome life


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