Trusted advisor - Trusted advisor part 1
Advice Giving Process
As discussed in the video above the simple process for giving advice is as follows:
- 1. Give them their options
Everyone wants to understand the options open to them. Often just giving one way of doing things seems like you’re forcing your ideas on someone, or that you have another agenda that biases you to that option.
Even options you think are terrible are worth mentioning, at least they know what bad looks like then.
- 2. Educate them on those options
You want to explore the risks, the advantages, disadvantages and costs of any options you have given.
Try to avoid taking a stance on one option or another too early.
The client should have enough information to consider each option properly, maybe even some time to consider each.
- 3. Give your recommendation
Give your honest advice and explain how or why you have come to that conclusion.
- 4. Give them their options
The advisor is there to be a guide as they process what they want to do. Let them come to a conclusion. If they want you to decide for them, as some people might, then try to frame it tactfully. Phrases such as "If it were my business I would..." Or "If we were looking to spend that money we would..."
Styles of Giving Advice
A good way to think about how you give advice is with the Support-Challenge matrix, a tool often used for leadership style, but just as applicable to an advisor role.
The matrix is below, along with some of the behavioural traits and characteristics of each style.
- Enabler - High Challenge - High Support When a certain level of trust has been built up and clients are developing this is the advisory style to use. If over-used, this advisory style will lead to frustration as clients may feel micromanaged.
- Nurturer - Low Challenge - High Support This style is helpful when times are hard, but over-used it can lead to stagnation.
- Task Master - Low Support - High Challenge Helpful when trust is high in a well developed relationship and clients need to stretch themselves or need a push. If over-used, this advisory style will lead to stress and resentment.
- Abdicator - Low Support - Low Challenge When used appropriately this style can promote self-agency. If over-used, it leads to apathy.
There are times when each can be useful, but as advisors we have to pick when each style is appropriate. You need to have built a relationship before becoming too challenging - too early and our advice can be poorly received.
It would be impossible to maintain the top right style at all times, despite it often leading to the best outcomes, overuse will just lead to overstretch and would not be appropriate for all clients and relationship levels.
On the blank matrix below you can write in some of the names of your clients, or people you advise. You should see that if you have a more trusted relationship, you can offer in more challenge.