It's always easy looking from the outside-in to know what
someone else should do. Take it from me, a counselor, this is what I do all-day
every day. You don't need to be a counselor to be good at this, promise!
If you're watching a loved one, a friend, family member struggle with something, it's hard not to just jump in there and want to either fix it or tell them how to fix it. That can be a landmine of a situation.
You've probably stepped in it before, haven't you? I know that I have! When you offer someone advice there's a particular way that you need to go about it, otherwise, you're going to come across as a know-it-all, judgmental, or critical. Even worse, you're
going to get Charlie Brown'd... "Wah wah wah". They're not going to listen to you anyway, so in this video, I’m going to talk to you about what formula to use to give someone a piece of advice in a way that's going to feel helpful and supportive instead of critical and judgmental.
If you take no other piece of information from this, I want you to take away this...
You have to wait until someone asks for your advice or opinion.
Otherwise, if you're giving it out and someone's not in the mindset of being receptive to it, it's probably not going to land well. At best, they're going to blow you off and at worst they're going to see it as a criticism or a judgment. Not
only are they going to blow off your advice, but they're going to build a little bit of a wall between themselves and you which is the opposite of what you're trying to do.
Timing is exceptionally important when it comes to offering
advice. No matter how obvious it seems, no matter how dire the situation,
if they haven't asked for it and you feel like you have to give them a piece of advice or a suggestion then you need to somehow ask if that's okay with them first. You're almost asking permission, like, "Hey, I’ve got some ideas if you'd like to hear them just let me know and I’ll share them with you." When you do it this way, you're giving them some control of the situation which is going to help them be more receptive to your thoughts and ideas.
The second piece of this formula which is also important maybe not as important as the other one but pretty close.
You want to ask a lot of questions before you give a piece of advice.
There's a couple of reasons for this... one is because you probably don't know enough details about their situation to give helpful effective advice if you haven't asked enough questions yet you want to ask a ton of questions like
Man, how long has this has been going on?
What have you tried in the past?
What's been helpful or what kind of things have been helpful for this?
How are you feeling about it?
Ask a lot of questions because that's going to give you the piece of information you need to be able to give a strategic, helpful, and effective piece of advice.
The second reason why you want to ask those questions is it helps the person feel like you're not rushing to judgment and that you took the time to
accurately understand their situation.
The third thing that you want to do or keep in mind when you're giving someone a piece of advice is when you get ready to give the suggestion or the piece of advice you want to wrap it up in a lot of humility. This is important so you don't come across as a know-it-all. It's pretty easy honestly, one thing you can do
is you can put a "wonder if" before the question.
"I wonder if you would like this"
"I wonder if you'd respond well to that"
"I wonder if this would be helpful"
If you say that part out loud, you're leaving some humility. You're not
saying you need to do this you should do this. When you say it like this, it really helps to soften the wall before you say the next part because they don't feel like you're forcing it. Some people are so oppositional if they think that you're being
direct in any kind of way, they won't even listen to what you have to say. They'll immediately go against you. Do you know someone like this?
Unless someone is asking your opinion your advice isn't always wanted and if you're in that kind of situation just be supportive and kind. Letting someone talk with you about their situation and be a sounding board for them will help them greatly. You don't have to know how to solve their problem you don't have to have the perfect piece of advice. People usually know deep down inside what they need to do or what they at
least need to try next.
There's just one little thing that they haven't been wanting to do and that they've been resisting that they know what they need to do. Letting them talk through their own thoughts actually helps them to overcome their own resistance to solving their problem.