This post is part of the 📖 The Coaching Habit series.

Today, I am reading a new section from The Focus Question chapter of the book The Coaching Habit written by Author, Michael Bungay Stanier.

Info! 💬
By reading this book The Coaching Habit, by Michael Bungay, coaching becomes a regular, informal part of your day. You can work less hard and have more impact. Get straight to the point in any conversation with The Kickstart Question. Stay on track during any interaction with The Awe Question. Save hours of time for yourself with The Lazy Question, and hours of time for others with The Strategic Question. Get to the heart of any interpersonal or external challenge with The Focus Question and The Foundation Question. Finally ensure others find your coaching as beneficial as you do with The Learning Question.

Yesterday, I read some sections of The Focus Question from the book.

Tomorrow, I will be reading a new chapter Question Masterclass Part 4. Look out for tomorrow’s article.

How the Focus Question Cuts Through the Fog

Symptoms of Proliferation of Challenges

Like the popcorn pops one by one, problems proliferate in the same way.

Solution to Proliferation of Challenges

Resist the temptation to do the work and to pick one of the many challenges as the starting point (even though, no doubt, you’ll have an opinion on which one it should be).

Instead, ask something like this: “If you had to pick one of these to focus on, which one here would be the real challenge for you?”

Build Your New Habit Here


Write out the moment, the person and perhaps the feelings that are your trigger. The pattern we’re breaking here is overworking the wrong problem, so the trigger is any time you start to focus on a particular challenge.

Coming up with ways to fix things feels more comfortable than sitting in the ambiguity of trying to figure out the challenge, but that’s where the power of this question lies.

So the trigger could be when your team is discussing a challenge or a project, and the conversation has already moved to solutions, or when someone on your team is wrestling with a problem. Still, you’re not sure if he knows what the challenge is, or when you’re feeling scared or anxious or uncertain about a challenge you’re facing.


Write out the old habit you want to stop doing. Be specific.


Describe your new habit. I’m pretty sure it will be, “Ask ‘What’s the real challenge here for you?’”

Do you know you can listen to this book on Amazon Audible for FREE?

Do you know you can listen to this book on Amazon Audible for FREE?

If you are not into reading like me, then you can listen to this book for FREE on Amazon Audible

Don't Read. Just 🎧
The Coaching Habit

Author(s): Michael Bungay Stanier

Short Blurb: Coaching is an essential skill for leaders. But for most busy, overworked managers, coaching … Read more
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Part 9 of 21 in the 📖 The Coaching Habit book series.

Series Start | The Coaching Habit - Day 8 | The Coaching Habit - Day 10

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As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I make a tiny commission if you buy using one of the links above at no additional cost to you. I use the money to buy another book 📖 to review or grab a beer 🍺 Super duper thanks 🙌