“Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.”
~Erica Jong

The other day I noticed a pattern during a recent coaching session. It was pretty obvious and hard to miss. My client was sharing a number of situations she was facing and decisions she had to make, and, as she recounted it all, she’d quickly add what she thought she needed to do. She would then ask for my opinion.

I pointed the pattern out to her – that she seemed to know what she wanted and was looking to me for confirmation – and she agreed. Our call was her chance to hear her thoughts and opinions out loud, to see if they still made sense (or still seemed off) when she spoke them out loud.

It reminded me of Erica Jong’s view of advice – we ask others what they think when we’re afraid that what we think is true – and that we also ask others what they think when we’re not sure of our own opinion and we want it to be validated. It’s as if we’ve always had the answers all along on our own, but we need someone else to get involved, for affirmation and confirmation. For support.

As coaches we operate with the knowledge that our clients have their own answers. Our job is to help our clients affirm their answers, as well as realize that they had them all along. Because it’s this confidence in what we know that lets us trust ourselves and be our best selves. It’s this knowledge that our “gut instinct” about the next move or best choice can be trusted that allows us to lead and learn and grow.

There are times to ask for advice – when we really need advice. And there are many times we ask for advice, or agreement, when all we really need is the ability to trust what we already know.

Where can you trust what you know more?
Please leave a comment to share.

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For advice when you really need it (and also when you don’t), contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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