How do you give advice to someone who doesn’t want it?
(Very carefully, that’s how.)
Coaching experts will encourage us to ask the person questions. Doing so is wise. But what about those situations where you do have information – based upon your experience or perspective – that would be beneficial to the other?
In those cases, try this: Present your wisdom in the form of a choice. Here’s an example.
Someone has just shared their frustration or pain. You’re about to tell them “what you ought to do,” when you remember how many people respond to such a reason: They find all the reasons why your idea won’t work.
As an alternative, you can say, “From my perspective, it appears you might have to choose between two options.” And then present them with two separate ideas on how to move forward (ensuring that one of the options is not merely maintaining the status quo).
Most times I’ve seen leaders use this approach, they get a more productive response: The person they’re serving isn’t evaluating why a single idea won’t work; instead, they’re determining which idea will work best.
And don’t be surprised if you get this response: The person comes up with a third alternative, which they own and can act upon.
Your wise counsel is needed in our world. The key to effectively giving advice is determining the best way to deliver it.