By Lance Hazzard, Executive Career Coach

How do you feel when you’re given unsolicited advice? We’ve all received this so-called “gift.” While it may have been well meaning, it’s likely to be ignored unless it resonates.

More than 20 years ago, I was in a company leadership meeting when one of the speakers used a saying I will never forget: “No one likes to be should upon.” In my role as an executive coach, I’ve come to understand the value of this catchy statement.

Many times, “you should do this” suggestions are given before any probing questions are asked: The person dispensing them jumps in to rescue you with advice rooted in his or her own experiences and values, not yours.

Early in my coaching experience, I was working with an individual who was extremely disillusioned with her current work situation. In our initial session, she shared detailed stories about how miserable things were in her workplace. After listening to her, I asked which of her values were being trampled upon and what did she want to do about it?

I didn’t know how she would react to my questions. After the meeting, I thought I lost this client, and questioned my own abilities as a coach. The next day, however, I was pleasantly surprised to get a note from her thanking me for listening and asking about her values. She realized that her values were not in sync with her present circumstance and she asked to set up our next coaching session.

This client was getting all kinds of unsolicited advice from others telling her what she should do. This unwanted counsel was not serving her well; it was just causing more frustration, as it wasn’t consistent with her experience and plans.

Fortunately, she didn’t act on what others felt she should do. Instead, she chose to work through coaching sessions that asked questions as opposed to give advice. The questions helped her come up with a plan that tied back to her values. She learned to look at her situation from different perspectives. She outlined various alternatives to address her reality. She acted on the plan that resonated the most with her. She’s still with the same company, now making meaningful contributions in a key position with a much more positive view about work and life.

We have just entered a new year. Many of us start each new year with resolutions to make positive life changes in areas that matter to us—health, career, finance, relationships, family, etc. Success in achieving our resolutions is far greater when we own the decisions we act on rather than when they are the result of being “should upon.”

Articulating and owning our resolutions is the first step toward achieving them. Following through on our intentions is much more challenging. Face it; if change were easy, it wouldn’t require resolve in the first place. Life does get in the way, so we need to develop a plan and remain accountable to it while understanding that things won’t always go as we desire. Without this resolve and persistence, goals too often are abandoned and people accept their status quo.

Those who commit to making positive change happen do things differently. Oftentimes, they seek out resources to help guide them with a better process or a partnership on achieving their goals. They seek out financial advisers to set plans for future financial independence, they work with personal trainers to lose weight and get in better shape, or they partner with executive coaches to chart their plans for achieving goals for their personal or team success at work.

Ultimately, it is up to you. You are the person in charge of your current and future state. Do you want to let someone else tell you what you should do, or do you want to create your own plans and take the appropriate actions to get you where you want to go?

How can executive coaching help you successfully achieve what’s next?


LANCE HAZZARD, CPCC, ACC, CERTIFIED INTELLIGENT LEADERSHIP EXECUTIVE COACH. Provides executives, organizations and individuals personalized coaching that helps them successfully achieve what’s next. EXPERTISE: Executives; Achieving Performance & Potential Goals; Career Assessment & Identification; Work/Life Satisfaction. Click here to learn more, including contact information.

Post used by permission of author. Originally published here.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: