The Advice Trap

Dr. Cathy Greenberg:
I’m very excited today that we are going to have an old friend back on the show; an individual that is world acclaimed for over 700,000 books sold. It’s quite a feat.

Dr. Relly Nadler: We are both really excited to bring on Michael Bungay Stanier. We had Michael on years ago with his book, The Coaching Habit. He is on the forefront of coaching and everyday leadership behavior. As Cathy said, The Coaching Habit had 700,000 copies sold, which is huge, and over 1000 five-star reviews on Amazon.

The new book, that is not out yet but will be shortly and you folks are getting an opportunity to hear about it ahead of time and hopefully, you will go out and grab it, is called The Advice Trap. It focuses on staying curious a little bit longer verses taming your advice monster.

One of the testimonials that I’m going to read, says, “Michael Bungay Stanier, what he has done for curiosity is what Bréne Brown did for vulnerability.” The Advice Trap is superbly written, a very quick and enjoyable read, but most importantly it develops you into a far more influential leader.

Michael is named the #1 Thought Leader in coaching and short-listed for the coaching prize on Thinker’s 50, the Oscars of Management. He’s a past Rhodes Scholar. His company is Box of Crayons. They run a development company that helps organizations transform from advice-driven to curiosity-driven. He left Australia 30 years ago, fell in love with his wife, a Canadian, and that is where he is today, in Toronto.

Michael, welcome to the show.

Michael Bungay Stanier: Cathy and Relly, I am really happy to be here. It has been a number of years since I was last on. I was just listening to you celebrate 12 years on the air. That is amazing. That is so much you have given to all of the listeners, so much, it’s a really significant achievement. Even if you were dating, to be going on those 12 years. To be actually running a radio show, that’s amazing, so congratulations!

Dr. Relly Nadler: Just for our listeners who haven’t heard from you from The Coaching Habit, give us a little bit about your background and what you do today for the coaching services with Box of Crayons.

Michael Bungay Stanier: So, I was at a crossroads moment four years ago with The Coaching Habit came out. Up until then, I had formed my company called Box of Crayons and we had this focus on helping people be curious and be more coach-like. We were doing a lot of work around the world teaching managers and leaders and organizations to add coaching to their leadership repertoire.

Then, this book came out. You’ve written books so you know how hard it is to write a book. I mean, it’s miserable. And then you think the writing of the book is miserable until you have to market it to actually get people to know that you’ve got a book, that’s hard as well.

I wrote this book and I spent three years trying to get a publishing house in New York to publish it. They just kept turning me down. It was turning grim. I kept having these moments of like, do I abandon it? Is it worth it? Finally, I said, it’s worth it. I’m going to self-publish it.

And then I self-published the book and it sold close to ¾’s of a million copies now. It’s really blown up Box of Crayons. Box of Crayons has doubled in size and doubled in size again.

Part of why that is exciting for me is that I’ve recently stepped away from being the CEO of Box of Crayons. I handed it over to somebody else on my team. How it works out for me in the moment is that I’m in this new place with a new book to champion and then I see myself in a kind of a mid-life crisis in a way; who am I now? What do I do now?

Box of Crayons is almost 20 years old and so it’s interesting taking off the cloak of Box of Crayons and go well now what. Who do I want to be in this next iteration of the path that I’m on?

Listen to the entire interview above.


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