Take My Advice…Or Not

I read a blog post by Keith Webb that resonated with me.  The post centered on not being attached to the advice you give.

Think about all of the time we as leaders have been asked for our advice.   “What should I do about…?” or “Would it be better if I…” and of course, “What do you think about…?”

As wise ones, we share our thoughts, ideas and more importantly our advice.  But what happens when that person decides to do otherwise?  This is exactly what Dr. Webb’s blog post asked the reader to consider.

In my work as a campus principal and certainly now as I work with campus and district leaders, it is important for me to make this important shift in my approach.  Just last evening, I chose the route of coaching with a campus administrator I am mentoring.  My toolbox was filled with advice to give. Try this, do this, say this, etc.  Instead I used questions and mirroring strategies to help this leader arrive at her own next action steps. The use of questions allowed me to magnify options she could consider, based on what she stated she wanted to accomplish.  For my own continued growth and development, I ended our time together by asking “What about our time was helpful to you?”  When it comes to giving advice, I continue to be impressed by the power of questions and how it often leads people to their own best advice.

Take my advice.  Or Not.

Sonja Howard, Coordinator for Administrator Quality

Here are some other posts you might consider reading on listening and questioning:

Why Are You Talking

It’s About the Teacher-and the Question (by Anna Warren)

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