Take My Advice-Or Not

Sonja Howard

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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 times when, as leaders, someone asks us to give them 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 the receiver decides to do otherwise? That is, ALAS! They don't take our advice!

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.

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.


-Originally posted 3/23/16 at  Region 13's Campus Leadership Blog

About the author: Sonja leads the Principal and Superintendent Certification Programs at Region 13 Education Service Center. She loves learning, practicing, and writing about transformative questioning and conversation skills  for school leaders.  

Thursday, March 31, 2016