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  • Writer's pictureDavid de Souza

'The Coaching Habit' Summary

Updated: Jan 20, 2022


Mental Models from the book:

'The Coaching Habit' can be summarised into 11 mental models:

1. Activation Energy

  • The Kickstart Question: What's on your mind? After asking this question use the 3P framework to focus further:

    1. Projects: What projects are you working on & what challenges are you facing?

    2. People: Are there any issues with the people you are working with?

    3. Patterns: What patterns of life and behavior do you want to change?

2. Catalysts

  • The Awe Question: "And what else?

3. Commitment & Consistency Bias

  • Our brains have a preference for clarity and certainty.

4. Curiosity Instinct

  • "Out of curiosity" reduces the abruptness of a question and makes it easier on both you and the person answering.

5. Desire

  • There are 9 universal needs. Translate what needs the person wants when they ask a question:

    1. Creation

    2. Recreation

    3. Affection

    4. Participation

    5. Identity

    6. Freedom

    7. Understanding

    8. Protection

    9. Subsistence

6. False Dichotomy

  • In 71% of decisions, the choices are binary, yes or no. Having 1 extra option (doing something else), reduced failures by 30%.

7. Feedback Loops

  • When you get a long Email, reply with either: (1) There's a lot going on here. What's the real challenge for you, do you think?" or (2) Before I jump into a longer reply, let me ask you: What's the real challenge for you?

8. First Principle Thinking

  • You need to know what triggers your habits. If you don't know you'll continue doing what you've always done. There are 5 possible habit triggers:

    1. Location

    2. Time

    3. Emotional State

    4. Other people

    5. The action preceding the habit.

9. Margin of Safety

  • Backups: Systems that are resilient have (multiple) fail-safes so that if something doesn't go to plan the whole system does not fail. Do the same with your habits so that when something goes array, you get back on the horse.

10. Scarcity

  • Become unafraid of silence. It is a trait of successful people.

11. Self-Preservation

  • "Why" questions make people defensive. Reframe 'why' questions into 'what' questions.

  • There are 4 variables that determine how your brain responds to a situation, whether it is safe or a threat:

    1. Tribe: Your brain is asking: Is this person part of my tribe?

    2. Expectations: Do I know what is going to happen (in the future?)

    3. Rank: Your brain is asking: Is this person more important than me?

    4. Autonomy: Your brain is asking: Do I have a choice in this situation?


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