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SPI 527: How to Start Something That Matters with Michael Bungay Stanier

I’m so excited for this episode. We are speaking with one of my favorite people in the world: Michael Bungay Stanier. Michael is an author who’s written a bunch of amazing books. He’s also the founder of a training and development company, Box of Crayons, that has taught coaching skills to hundreds of thousands of people.

In fact, one of Michael’s books has been hugely impactful on my own business, and it’s called The Coaching Habit. The Coaching Habit includes a number of questions that you should be asking when you’re coaching people. It’s guided the exact process I use when I coach my students—you can hear it in action when I’m coaching people on AskPat 2.0. Speaking of coaching, Michael also wrote another game-changing book called The Advice Trap, about how we default to offering advice to people before we know the full circumstances, and how to change our behavior to be more helpful to them. Watching out for that trap is crucial, especially for coaches.

But the big focus of today’s conversation is Michael’s new book, How to Begin: Start Doing Something That Matters. And this book is incredible because it gets to the heart of why we do what we do. How do we make sure that what we’re going to do moving forward is actually something that, like Michael says, matters? How do we have the courage to let go when we need to? And how do we navigate the raging waters that sometimes happen when making these decisions?

The book covers similar ground as Will It Fly?, my 2015 book that goes deep into how to validate and test your business ideas.

We talk about how to know whether or not the direction we’re going is one that lights us up. Oftentimes, we’re doing stuff that obviously we’re not very happy about or we wish we had made different decisions.

You’re going to love this conversation because Michael is just a great, genuine person. In addition to his books, he even has a TED talk with over a million views. Oh, and by the way, he’s also a member of SPI Pro. He’s run a workshop there and he’s involved in the conversation. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this episode.

Today’s Guest

Michael Bungay Stanier

Michael Bungay Stanier helps people be a force for change. He’s best known for his book The Coaching Habit, which has sold close to a million copies and has thousands of 5-star reviews online. His new book How To Begin helps people set Worthy Goals and be ambitious for themselves and for the world. He founded Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that helps organizations move from advice-driven to curiosity-led. They’ve trained hundreds of thousands of managers to be more coach-like and their clients range from Microsoft to Gucci. He left Australia about thirty years ago to be a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University … where his only significant achievement was falling in love with a Canadian … which is why he now lives in Toronto, having spent time in London and Boston. Balancing out these moments of success, he was banned from his high school graduation for “the balloon incident” … was sued by one of his law school professors for defamation … and his first published piece of writing was a Harlequin romance-esque story involving a misdelivered letter … and called The Male Delivery.

You’ll Learn


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