Lynn Schoener 

January 24th, 2013
Lynn Schoener
Wisdom with a Twist

If a person really wants your advice, and you really want to give it, go for it. You can turn that exchange into a coaching moment by checking for understanding and asking a few application questions.

After you speak your truth, don't ask "Does that make sense?" or "Is that helpful?" Those are closed-ended questions to which the answer is almost sure to be "Yes! Thanks!" Whether or not they get it, whether they think you are wise beyond words or a dummkopf, you'll get a version of that polite response.

Do you genuinely want to help a person in search of ideas and answers? Share your pearls, wait for them to nod and smile, and then ask one or more of these questions:

"What is your interpretation of the advice I just gave you?"  
"How would you adapt these ideas to your own situation?" 
"Seems like some of what I suggested is giving you ideas of your own--if so, what is your next step?"  
"Which of my ideas won't work for you?"  
"How can I support you as you take action?

The person shopping for a "slam-dunk" solution will quickly reject your ideas, but you'll never know that by what they say. "Yes! Thanks!" is what they'll say. But watch them wiggle out of answering these questions; they don't intend to act and have no desire to be supported. The person who really wants to change will welcome this second part of the conversation, where the wise sage recedes and the coach approaches.



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