Mini book review: The Advice Trap by Michael Bungay Stanier


The Advice Trap is the follow up to The Coaching Habit, my favourite book on transforming your leadership through being more of a coach.

Like The Coaching Habit, this book is fast to read, but long to digest. I love how author Michael Bungay Stanier (MBS) breaks down concepts to their most simple form:

  • Your advice isn’t as good as you think
  • Giving advice is a leadership failure
  • Going from advice-giver to coach is a hard change, but worth it
  • The key: stay curious longer and ask more questions

Your Advice Monster comes with three different personas:

  1. Tell-it
  2. Save-it
  3. Control-it

Reading through the descriptions, I could see how leaders I’ve worked with fit into each persona. Me, I’m a Save-it. Something about my superhero tendencies.

Your Advice Monster believes you’re better than the other person.

Like in Multipliers, by Liz Wiseman, letting that Advice Monster run free diminishes the genius of those around us. If you want to bring out the genius, you need to learn how to cage your Advice Monster (and not let it out).

MBS provides a simple habit change model to keep the Advice Monster caged. It’s a lot like the model from Atomic Habits.

  1. Find the triggers
  2. Recognize the behaviour
  3. Understand the impacts (good and bad)
  4. Know why you want to make the change
  5. Change the habit

The second half of the book dives into building your coaching habit.  If you’ve read his previous book, some of this is an important reminder, and some dives deeper. It feels a lot more like a how-to guide, including how to ask the right questions and manage more challenging situations.

Mike’s The Advice Trap Mindmap

I know you’re busy. How much of that busy is because you’re an answer dispenser? Is it time for a shift? Time to take your leadership to the next level? This book is definitely worth the read.

Mike Knapp


Mike has been helping businesses achieve their goals for more than 20 years. He believes there is a better way for business owners and leaders to build their businesses and achieve their big goals. As a Gravitas Impact Premium coach, he leverages the 7 Attributes of Agile Growth™ to simplify the art of strategy and discipline of execution.

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