The Advice Trap by Michael Bungay Stanier Book Review

“Be Humble, Stay Curious & Change the Way You Lead Forever”

From the Bestselling author of The Coaching Habit

In his book, The Advice Trap, Michael Bungay Stanier teaches about changing the way you lead so you change your team and your organization, and most importantly, yourself.

We love to pounce on anything that shows up even when it’s not the actual thing that needs to be figured out. We’re keen on giving insights and solutions but fail to take time in realizing the real problem at hand. This is when Michael Bungay Stanier’s new book, The Advice Trap comes in.

The Advice Trap is all about taming your “advice monster,” and staying curious a little longer, to get to the root of the problem in order to be able to solve the right problem. Because more often than not, we’re addressing the wrong problem without even realizing it.

It takes on the concept of “less is more.”

Giving less advice is encouraged.

However, the definition of coaching doesn’t say “never give advice” or “only ask questions” according to Michael. That would be deeply impractical. Rather, it implies that advice-giving is usually an overdeveloped muscle. What you’re trying to do is train an underdeveloped muscle: CURIOSITY.

Michael talks about intellectual curiosity and being more coach-like instead of becoming a coach. Curiosity leads to questions, leading to answers.

According to Michael, in order to be more coach-like, one of the qualities one needs to have is humility. In his book, he defines being humble as knowing that your voice isn’t the only voice, and may not be the best voice.

What I realized after reading The Advice Trap is that the secret to advice-giving is actually in the questions you ask rather than in the insights you offer.

“Learning doesn’t happen when you tell them something, it happens when they figure it out themselves.”

The 7 essential questions introduced in The Advice Trap is a gem such as the kickstart question, the strategy question, the lazy question, and more. These questions serve as a guide in finding solutions to your problem.

Oftentimes, we only look at the surface of the problem when it’s actually deeper than we thought. It’s like peeling an onion. You have to get through the layers of questions before finding out the real problem at hand and dealing with it.

The Advice Trap also introduces the 8 ways to ask a question well. Yes, there is a right way to ask a question, and there’s 8 ways to do it well!


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In this book, you will also come to know what “coaching the ghost” mean, what the “TERA Quotient” is and how to increase it.

At the end of every chapter, there is a space for you to write down the most useful insight that you got from the chapter to help you remember the important points of the book.

Overall, The Advice Trap is an insightful read. A treasure trove of infinite value.

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