7 Ways to Give Advice that Helps

Telling people what to do is giving direction, but advice-giving is a conversation.

Wise advice changes lives.

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7 ways to give advice that helps:

#1. Know your own struggles.

Authentic advice comes from people with dirt under their fingernails.

Learn from your own mistakes if you want to advise wisely.

Don’t give advice on overcoming anger if you aren’t dealing with your own anger.

#2. Listen closely before speaking briefly.

Advice-giving is more listening than speaking.

Rush to inquiry, not advice-giving.

Act like you don’t understand the person, problem, or desired goals, even if you think you do. (You probably don’t understand as much as you think.)

#3. Identify positive goals.

People often want advice about stopping negative behaviors. The other side of stopping is positive aspiration.

What positive behavior answers the behavior they want to stop?

Overcoming anger is a “NO”. Find the “YES”. How do you want to be, if you aren’t being angry.

Failure shows you what to stop. Wisdom explains what to try.

#4. Desire to serve, more than you need to be right.

Fools think they know how others should do what they aren’t doing themselves.

#5. Share a viewpoint distinct from the advice-seeker.

Good advice is sometimes hard to hear. It might sound wrong. It might be something an advice-seeker hasn’t thought about.

#6. Provide options, not moral imperatives.

If the issues is telling lies, there is an imperative – don’t do it. Giving advice might include the best ways to tell the truth when truth-telling is difficult.

People feel powerful when making choices and defensive when you tell them what to do.

Say, “Here are three things you might try. Which one seems best right now?”

#7. Wait to be asked.

Unrequested advice feels like criticism.

A distant second to is asking permission. “Do you mind if I offer a suggestion?”

What words of advice do you have for wise advice-giving?