Getting advice that’s really helpful

Consider Several Sources

Rarely does one person have the full story on anything. Even if that were so, finding the perfect advisor could be quite difficult and time  consuming. (Unless you pick me), almost kidding!

But seriously, think about what you want? You want some one who is interested but not biased; someone who shows concern but doesn’t become emotionally involved; someone who is knowledgeable but not overbearing. So, if you can’t find one person who fits the situation on all counts, ask for counsel from multiple sources. Then pay close attention to where they agree and disagree. See if you can account for their disagreement—what are their inclinations and levels of expertise? It can be quite useful to go back and have a second, brief conversation with each, sharing the differing information and asking for their take on it. (You don’t need to reveal the sources, just the distinctions).

Remember: Advice Comes from Values and Philosophy

Very little advice, aside from facts or situational observations, can be separated from one’s values and worldview. For example, which carries more weight when considering a job change: Increased responsibility? Better salary? Job security? Relocation? Don’t expect your  advisor to give you the bottom line on the issues you are discussing. She/he can help you view your options, not score them.

When you want to be a helpful advisor, focus on asking questions that will cause your friend or colleague to look at their situation more deeply, or from a different perspective. You’ll soon be experienced as someone who possesses wisdom, not quick solutions.   And, that’s not a bad reputation to cultivate.