I'd like advice on how to help someone who's going through a personal crisis. I know being a shoulder to cry on goes a long way, but what about when it's time to help the person get back on their feet? I have a hard time knowing when to offer advice and when to let the person find their own answers. How do I offer suggestions and guidance without pushing someone too far in one direction or another?
You’re asking for advice for giving advice? I love this question because it gives me the opportunity to share the core principles behind my LIFEadvice articles.
Here are my tips for giving good advice to others…
Principle: Listening is what they need most.
Listening to someone validates who they are at the deepest level. Being an active listener is more than just nodding and repeating what they say, though. A good listener is also a good question asker.
You can help someone find the answers they are looking for on their own by just asking questions that help them look at the problem from different perspectives. The most powerful way to help someone is empowering them to help themselves.
Principle: The person seeking advice is the one entitled to inspiration about his or her situation.
As a life coach, I have learned most people already know the answer to the question they are asking, they just don’t trust their own judgment. Don't let them use you as a crutch. It doesn't serve them.
Keep asking questions about what they think and feel until they own their inner truth. This technique leaves room for their inner guidance to direct them. All the answers they need (and are entitled to), God and the universe will provide for them right on time. If they aren’t getting the answer yet, they may not be ready for it. Don’t knock yourself out trying to explain a solution – if they can’t see it, they aren't ready.
When they are ready and if you are the right teacher for this lesson, you will be inspired with the right words to say. If the right words aren’t coming, trust there is a reason and keep listening.
Principle: Listen for inspiration.
You cannot possibly know what’s right for another person but God does know. Be very attentive, at these times, to the whispering of the spirit. It is sacred ground you walk here. Make sure you ask God for guidance and listen for it.
Principle: Honoring where the person is means asking permission before you share.
I strongly recommend asking permission questions before you give any advice or share what you think about anything. This is a powerful way to show each person you honor and respect them.
A permission question may sound like:
If they say no, respect that. Respecting how they feel this time will build trust, and they will be more likely to listen to you next time.
Principle: Base the advice you give on principles of truth.
I base all my advice on universal principles of truth. If I don’t know the answer, I review principles until they guide me to a solution that feels right.
Here are some basic principles which help people to see themselves and their situation more accurately. These are truths most people know, but forget in times of crisis when they are emotional or scared.
Principle: Recognize when professional help is needed.
If someone is dealing with addiction, mental illness, depression or any other serious situation, you must refer them to a mental health professional, counselor, therapist or doctor. If you aren’t sure whether a professional is appropriate, err on the side of caution and recommend it anyway.
I hope this helps.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker. Watch Kim on KSL TV every Monday at 6:15am. Follow her on Twitter @coachkimgiles
FOR MORE FREE
Coaching is less expensive than you think - If you need help we can find you a coach you can afford.
Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.