You can’t always choose the people you work with, but you can choose to pursue having the best possible working relationship with them. Joining us today is return guest Michael Bungay Stanier, author of the new book How to Work With (Almost) Anyone: Five Questions for Building the Best Possible Relationships, to talk about the importance of working relationships and how to create ones that are safe, vital, and repairable.

Listeners may recognize Michael from Episode 210 of Finding Brave, How to Begin Doing Something That Matters, where Michael shares his keen insights on the three key components of a worthy goal and what it means to commit to one. Michael is the author of six books to date, the combined sales of which go well beyond one million copies. He is most known for his best-selling book The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever, and is considered one of the world’s top thought leaders when it comes to coaching. Michael is also the host of 2 Pages with MBS, a fascinating podcast where his exceptional guests read the two most noteworthy pages of a favorite book and share how reading it impacted and shaped them.

In today’s conversation, we dig into the complex nature of working relationships, why they are so important, and how to have the best possible relationship with the person across the table from you. Michael shares why he felt compelled to write his latest book before outlining some of the essential questions he poses to readers and how they can improve working relationships today. He also provides a detailed breakdown of how to have a keystone conversation and explains how these can help you maintain and improve relationships by giving one another permission to check in and keep talking about how well (or poorly) you’re working together.

Working with people will always be messy and challenging, but when you commit to having the best relationship possible, incredible things can happen. To hear all of Michael’s thought-provoking and very helpful insights on one of the most important aspects of our working lives, be sure to tune in today. You won’t want to miss this one!


Key Highlights From This Episode:  

  • An introduction to today’s guest: Michael Bungay Stanier. [05:10]
  • What compelled Michael to write his new book How to Work With Almost Anyone. [08:15]
  • Michael’s approach to the writing process. [10:27]
  • Understanding how to build relationships that are safe, vital, and repairable. [16:34]
  • How to have a keystone conversation and why it’s so valuable. [18:11]
  • The five questions in How to Work With Almost Anyone and how they help create a shared language between you and the person you’re working with. [23:46]
  • How to overcome the (inevitable) obstacles in any working relationship. [26:48]
  • Building the best possible relationship with the person across the table from you. [30:13]
  • The biggest barrier to giving feedback and how to do so with clarity. [38:36]
  • How to access Michael’s latest book and great bonus content. [41:53]


For More Information:

Michael Bungay Stanier

Michael Bungay Stanier on Instagram

Michael Bungay Stanier on LinkedIn

Michael Bungay Stanier on YouTube

Michael Bungay Stanier on Twitter

Michael Bungay Stanier on Facebook


Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode: 

Michael’s bestselling book: The Coaching Habit

Michael’s latest book: How to Work With Almost Anyone

Michael’s previous appearance on Finding Brave: How to Begin Doing Something That Matters

Michael’s podcast: 2 Pages with MBS

Michael’s TedTalk: ‘How to Tame your Advice Monster


Are you ready for a BIG positive shift in how you’re working and what you’re capable of achieving today in your career and leadership? Let’s work together and make that happen!

While you might know me best as a podcast host and writer, a key focus in my work is career and leadership coaching for mid- to high-level professional women. In my Career & Leadership Breakthrough 1:1 program, I help women get what they want most, which includes more confidence, impact, recognition, advancement, financial reward, well-being, and fulfillment. And I also help them embrace their most exciting visions for the future.

In the past 16 years, I’ve worked with over 20,000 women across 6 continents, and before that, I served as a therapist, and before that, I was a corporate VP managing multi-million-dollar budgets and global initiatives. I leverage all of that experience to help women build a new chapter of work to reach their highest and happiest potential in careers they love.

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Calling all coaches!

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Right now, we’re opening the enrollment of my private (1:1) coaching training program called The Amazing Career Coach Certification, which is a 17-week, hands-on training program that certifies female coaches in my proprietary 16-step career growth model, which is perfect for coaches who want a deeper dive into learning powerful, proven coaching frameworks, concepts, and skills that teach the 16 most essential steps to building an amazing career that your clients need to know. And this training will help you become far more effective and impactful in supporting women to thrive today in their jobs, roles, and careers.

And through the program, you’ll get access to a powerful Small Business Acceleration program called The Rapid Growth Academy, delivered by my friend and colleague, award-winning business growth expert Matthew Pollard.

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Order Kathy’s book The Most Powerful You today! 

In Australia and New Zealand, click here to order, elsewhere outside North America, click here, and in the UK, click here.

If you enjoy the book, we’d so appreciate your giving the book a positive rating and review on Amazon! And check out Kathy’s digital companion course The Most Powerful You, to help you close the 7 most damaging power gaps in the most effective way possible. 

Kathy’s Power Gaps Survey, Support To Build Your LinkedIn Profile To Great Success & Other Free Resources

Kathy’s TEDx Talk, Time To Brave Up & Free Career Path Self-Assessment

Kathy’s Amazing Career Project video training course & 6 Dominant Action Styles Quiz



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“How much space can you create, so people can engage with the most important idea.” — @WorksMbs [0:11:55]

“I’m always going, ‘How do I write this book tighter and shorter and cleaner [with] less filling to it?’” — @WorksMbs [0:12:01]

“I think that’s the soil from which all of my books grow, which is a sense of ‘how do we all be fully human, [and] the best humans we can? And how do we bring that about with the people we interact with?’” — @WorksMbs [0:16:17] 

“Part of committing to a keystone conversation opens up the possibility that people do self-work to become more articulate about who they are and what brings out their best so that when they’re in conversation, they can have a more nuanced discussion and exchange of information.” — @WorksMbs [0:25:59]

“Every relationship on that bell curve has a certain amount of potential to it. The question is, how do you fulfill as much of that potential as possible? How do you make the bad ones less bad? How do you make the average ones more than average? How do you keep the great ones shining?” — @WorksMbs [0:31:22] Longer Quote

“I often think the greatest barrier to giving feedback is a lack of clarity on what you want to ask for. As soon as you get clear on what the request is, what you need to tell them becomes more crystalline.” — @WorksMbs [0:40:46]


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Kathy’s new book The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss shares vital information on the 7 most damaging power gaps that 98% of professional women face and how to overcome them. Boost your power and confidence today!


Best Career Coaches 2020