You may notice that when your clients are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, they ask for specific advice and direction.
It might sound like:
- What do you think I should do?
- What would you do?
- What have other clients done?
- What did you do when you were divorced?
It’s called the fine art of extracting your opinion – and your offering your opinion is not the best way to support the client.
But sometimes it is really tempting to want to say “Boy, I really understand where you are and know exactly what you should do!” And let’s face it, you are wondering how you are ever going to provide value to the client if you don’t just give them specific advice when they ask for it!
Don’t do it!!! Here are a few reasons why you don’t want to advise them about what to do:
- You don’t know what would really work for them and fit into their own value system. You have your own biases and assumptions in your answer because you are looking through your own filters.
- You want them to own their decision so that they can stay engaged in tweaking and adjusting what they do. They are then accountable for the actions and outcomes instead of blaming someone else!
- How do you like it when someone says to you “This is what you should do!”, even when you have asked for the input? Most of the time we think about their answer from the standpoint of do I agree or do I disagree!
- If what you say doesn’t agree with their view, your lovely trusting relationship starts to erode! Our role as coach is not to make someone in our image; it is to support them in becoming the architect of their life.
Four questions to ask so that the client feels really supported:
- What are you trying to accomplish?
- What questions do you need answered?
- What requests or perspectives would be helpful right now?
- Who might have the perspective to help you understand the feasibility of what you want?
This helps them to focus their thinking in a particular direction – the forward direction.
It requires they start thinking about what is important to them.
It helps you to avoid giving legal or financial advice, both of which are generally restricted to licensed professionals; and
It keeps you in the coaching role, helping the client to develop their ability to see more options and make better decisions for themselves.
You have helped them get organized for meeting they will have and make the most effective use of the time they spend with that adviser!
It’s a win-win-win all around – for them, for you and for the others involved in the process!