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Coaching versus giving advice

By on March 7, 2015
Picture courtesy of holohololand and

When we teach our hypnosis and NLP classes  we frequently have to explain to beginning students the difference between coaching and giving advice. You see, when a client comes to you for coaching, particularly if they are dealing with a difficult issue, the chances are they have thought of every solution they can think off to solve the problem. They have probably also discussed their issue with friends who have given them all sorts of advice. And yet they still have the problem, that’s why they come to see you. If you simply give them more advice there is very good chance that it will do them about as much good as all the advice they received in the past, meaning no good at all!

In contrast, if you can lead them to the place where they can find the answer inside themselves then this will be a true solution to the problem. The whole point of coaching using hypnosis, NLP, and similar modalities is to successfully search inside for the answer.

Why is this?

The reason this is so is because for many of the problems faced by people who come for hypnosis or coaching arise from a lack of state control. We are not suggesting that your clients are out of control, we are simply suggesting that they don’t necessarily have access to the right state at the right time. For example a client who comes to see you because they have a fear of public speaking is not able to access a state of confidence, or a state or relaxation, when they need it as they step up to the podium to speak. There is absolutely no purpose in telling them that they should feel confident, or that they should relax, because they know that. And they came to see you because they are not sure how to access those states when they need them.

Now, one of the presuppositions of NLP is that we have all the resources that we need inside of ourselves. We just have to find them! Your role as a coach is to act as an inner guide, leading your client inside to exactly the place they need to go.

Below we give a link to an existing article from the Huffington Post dealing with the limitations on giving advice:

Giving Advice Doesn’t Work. Here’s What Does

Every single day, we think through someone else’s problems for them and then provide them with the output as ‘advice’. Instead of using our greatest individual asset – our special brain – we turn to others to do the heavy lifting for us, hampering our ability to develop new connections and strengthen our brains. Giving advice is actually an active disservice to the person getting it: my friend here had an opportunity to think her way through her situation and develop new connections in her brain – by sharing my brain’s take on her situation, I’m hampering that opportunity. Giving Advice Doesn’t Work. Here’s What Does.|Stephanie Harrison

Picture courtesy of holohololand and

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