Can you become a better manager in 10 minutes or less? Michael Bungay Stanier, Senior Partner and Founder of Box of Crayons, thinks so; he helps busy managers and leaders learn to coach better in 10 minutes or less.

Essential to Stanier’s coaching philosophy is the ability to ask great questions. In fact, he has seven essential coaching questions.

Questions 1 through 3 set the groundwork for a great coaching conversation. Questions 4 through 7 help you dig deeper with engagement and boundary-setting techniques.


4. “What do you want?” The Foundation Question gets employees thinking about how they can affect their environments, a subtle way to prod the risk-and-reward response of the brain.

5. “How can I help?” Called the Lazy Question, it forces the employee to make a concrete request so there are no assumptions.

6. “If you’re saying ‘yes’ to this, what are you saying ‘no’ to?” Ah, the Strategic Question. A “yes” without a “no” to something is just an empty promise, so this question makes the promise real.

7. “What’s most useful for you?” The final question is the Learning Question, asking the employee to reflect on the process to reinforce learning and development.


See, that probably took less than 10 minutes! Feel like a better coach? Want to feel like an even better coach? Register for Stanier’s upcoming webinar The Three Secrets to Building Your Coaching Habit to see it on-demand.

(Warning: The webinar is actually more than 10 minutes, but that just means you get more information.)