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Less Is Best (Michael Bungay Stanier)

  • Episode #88

Renowned coach and author Michael Bungay Stanier takes us on a fascinating exploration of how people learn, course best practices, and incorporating coaching elements into online courses. Perhaps most importantly, he advocates: Less is best.

Michael Bungay Stanier is a highly acclaimed coach, course creator, entrepreneur, author, and thought leader whose books and talks have been enjoyed by millions of people worldwide.

In this episode, Ari, Abe, and Michael discuss:

  • Michael’s programs and how they fit into his business
  • How infrastructure is built in to self-facilitated groups
  • What a robust onboarding process looks like
  • How Agile project management informed Michael’s course structures
  • Michael’s philosophy of “the least you can teach”
  • The concept of “clearing the cache” in a course
  • Setting and disrupting expectations to keep students going
  • Focus your content by knowing what problem you’re solving
“My working philosophy… is I assume that people’s brains are full after six minutes. They’ve got about six minutes of you pouring content into them before their brains are now full.”

– Michael Bungay Stanier

Michael Bungay Stanier is at the forefront of shaping how organizations around the world make being coach-like an essential leadership competency. His book The Coaching Habit “unweirds coaching.” It is the best-selling coaching book of this century, with over a million copies sold and more than ten thousand five-star reviews on Amazon. In 2019, he was named the #1 thought leader in coaching. Michael was the first Canadian Coach of the Year, has been named a Global Coaching Guru since 2014, and was a Rhodes Scholar. His most recent book, How to Work with (Almost) Anyone, shows how to build the Best Possible Relationship with the key people at work.

Michael founded Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that had helped hundreds of organizations transform from advice-driven to curiosity-led. (Learn more at Michael is a compelling speaker and facilitator, combining practicality, humour, and an unprecedented degree of engagement with the audience. He’s spoken on stages and screens around the world in front of crowds ranging from ten to ten thousand. His TEDx talk has been watched by a million and a half people. (Learn more at

En route to today—and these are essential parts of his origin story—Michael knocked himself unconscious as a laborer by hitting himself in the head with a shovel, mastered stagecraft at law school by appearing in a skit called Synchronized Nude Male Modelling, and his first paid piece of writing was a Harlequin Romance-esque story involving a misdelivered letter… called “The Male Delivery.”

Resources or websites mentioned in this episode:
Michael’s website:

Hosts: Ari Iny and Abe Crystal
Producer: Cynthia Lamb
Assembled by: Fatima Fojas
Audio editor: Marvin del Rosario
Executive Producer: Danny Iny
Music Soundscape: Chad Michael Snavely
Making our hosts sound great: Home Brew Audio

To catch the great episodes that are coming up on Course Lab, please follow us on Mirasee FM’s YouTube channel or your favorite podcast player. And if you enjoyed the show, please leave us a comment or a starred review. It’s the best way to help us get these ideas to more people.

Music credits:
Track Title: Bossa BB
Artist Name: Marie
Writer Name: Chelsea McGough

Track Title: Coo Coos
Artist Name: Dresden, The Flamingo
Writer Name: Matthew Wigton

Track Title: Grace
Artist Name: Shimmer
Writer Name: Matthew Wigton

Track Title: Carousel Lights
Artist Name: Chelsea McGough
Writer Name: Chelsea McGough
Writer Name: Matthew Wigton

Special effects credits:
24990513_birds-chirping_by_promission used with permission of the author and under license by AudioJungle/Envato Market.


Course Lab

Ever wondered how online courses could be even better? What would that next level look like? Those are the questions driving online course experts Danny Iny (founder of Mirasee) and Abe Crystal (co-founder of Ruzuku) in Course Lab. In each episode, they bring on an innovative course creator and deconstruct what makes their course (and course business) work for them and their students.