Advising against Advice
"What should I do?"
"What would you do?"
"Tell me what to do!"
Do you ever get hooked by these questions, eager to help, and answer with gusto and detail? Do you then find yourself defending or selling your solutions? Do you get frustrated when they say "did that, tried that, yes, but..."? Do you wonder why they ask when they have no intention of acting on your wisdom?
The request for guidance may be made in earnest, but it has unspoken strings attached. If said aloud, their "ask" would sound more like a test. "Let me test all of your ideas against everything I've tried, thought about trying, or refuse to try. If by chance you offer me a good new idea, just know that I will nod "yes" externally but shake my head "no" internally. I have stringent conditions before I would actually try out your idea. It has to be simple, comfortable, and risk free."
The coach approach connects with the unspoken test, not the request. Help them work through the resistance they have to their best ideas.