This week’s guest on the 21st Century Creative Podcast is Michael Bungay Stanier, Founder and Senior Partner of Box of Crayons, a company that helps people and organizations all over the world do less Good Work and more Great Work.
Box of Crayons is best known for its coaching programs that give busy leaders the tools to coach in 10 minutes or less.
In this conversation Michael and I talk about the importance of communication skills for creative directors and other leaders of creative teams – as well as for all of us who interact with our fellow human beings in the course of our work.
Michael shares tips and insights from his latest book The Coaching Habit, a brilliantly simple (but not superficial) guide to becoming more influential and helpful to those around you at work.
In the first part of the show, I argue that in an uncertain world, your creativity is your security.
Take Michael’s Creative Challenge (and win a copy of The Coaching Habit)
Every week, at the end of the show, I ask my guest to set you a Creative Challenge – something practical you can do that will help you put the ideas from the show into action.
Here’s how you can take part – and maybe win the prize of a copy of Michael’s book The Coaching Habit, which teaches you the seven essential questions that will allow you to become a better coach and influencer in your daily conversations at work.
1. Listen to the interview part of the show, either in the player above or on iTunes or your favourite podcast platform.
2. Michael has given you two versions of the challenge, an easy one and a hard one – both are eligible for the prize, so it’s up to you which you pick.
The Easy Challenge is to ask the deceptively simple question ‘And what else?’ twice before Friday. It’s deceptively simple because according to Michael this is the most powerful coaching question in the world – it has the power to slow you and the other person down, and to open up new possibilities in a conversation, when perhaps you’re both eager to move too quickly to a conclusion.
The Hard Challenge is to coach someone – a team member, a colleague, a partner, or someone else you’re working with this week – using the 4 questions Michael gives you in the interview:
- What’s on your mind? – This opens up the conversation helping to identify the issue they want help with.
- What’s the real challenge here for you? – This helps them focus on the real issue, which may be deeper or different to their answer to question 1.
- And what else? – This keeps opening up the conversation, prompting them to dig deeper. You can keep asking this to see if it opens up more awareness or insights around their situation.
- OK with all of this insight, what’s the real challenge here for you? – This leads them into making a decision and a commitment to move forward, hopefully in a more focused and purposeful way.
When you ask the questions make sure you resist the temptation to give advice or instructions, and that you give the other person time to respond fully, and be really curious about what they come up with.
3. Once you’ve completed the challenge, leave a comment below this post describing how you get on. Please don’t share any confidential information, especially involving people’s answers to the questions!
You have until midnight United States Pacific time on Friday 7th July 2017 to complete the challenge and leave your comment.
4. Once the challenge has finished, I will pick 3 winners at random from the comments, who will receive the prize of Michae’s book The Coaching Habit.
5. Over the weekend I will send a bonus recording with my feedback on your comments and what we can all learn from the challenge. I’ll be looking through the comments for common patterns, whether that’s ways a lot of you get stuck, or great solutions you’re finding to the challenge. I’ll also be sharing reflections and advice from my own experience as a coach.
6. As usual the feedback recording will NOT be released on iTunes or anywhere else the show is syndicated. It will only be available via the 21st Century Creative mailing list – click here to join the list (and get a free Creative Career course).
One last thing…
If you’re enjoying the show it would be a huge help to me if you would take a moment to subscribe to The 21st Century Creative in iTunes.
And if you’d like to leave a brief review in iTunes, that would be even more helpful.
The more people who subscribe and review the show, the more visible the show will be in the iTunes store, and the more creators I can help with it.
This is particularly important in the first few weeks of a podcast – so if you enjoy the show, and you’d like to support it, taking a few moments to subscribe and/or review will give the podcast the best chance of success.