The Art of Giving Advice in Coaching by Sirirat Siriwan

Many people asked me whether they can give some advice while conducting coaching conversation. My answer for them is ‘of course,you can’. However, before talking about giving coachee advice, the reminding of the key purpose of coaching is essential.

There are many ways to develop people; training, mentoring, and teaching, but why we decide to use coaching. The reason is coaching is a process and communication to develop people thinking, so that they can become able to unleash their potentials and find the ways to overcome challenging situations and meet set goal by themselves.

Since the purpose of coaching is unleashing coachee’s potentials. It will not be reasonable if a coach becomes the person who provide all answers or solutions for coachee’s situation. As a business coach, I basically ask powerful questions to encourage coachee to think by themselves to understand their current reality, define clear goal, and develop actions to achieve such goal. Under trusting coaching atmosphere, I will also use active listening and clarifying skills to deeply understand what coachee is saying and not saying. Through using of these three skills, I will be a crystal mirror to reflect realities that help coachee to move forward to the right direction that really fit their circumstance.

However, in some coaching situations, giving advice is also valuable and necessary for coachee development. I normally decide to provide advice for my coachee in following situations:-

  • Coachee asks for advice or recommendation.
  • During conducting Group Coaching which there are many people in the group.
  • Coachee is facing with urgent situation or crisis that need to be handled right away and coachee doesn’t have time for coaching. I may need to give advice first and after the situation has been resolved, I will coach the coachee by questions.
  • Having advice is really necessary for creating coachee self-awareness, and significant growing.
  • Coachee is really unable to come up with his/her answer or solution to handle the situation.

Although providing advice is allowed to be done, a coach should not make it too easy for coachee. Instead of giving straight advice, a coach should provide artistic advice as follows:-

  • Use story telling such as history, fable, and legend.
  • Giving example.
  • Share story of coach or other people.
  • Story from watching assigned movie or reading book.

After giving artistic advice, a coach will ask coachee questions of their learning of story or example, how this story relates to their facing situation and what parts of the story can be applied for handling the situation.

To assure coachee get the best from coaching, a coach can apply different methods for coaching. A coach just needs to make sure that the chosen methods will support main purposes of coaching in developing coachee thinking and unleashing their potentials.

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