We’ve all had those frustrating days. Days when someone we care about was in trouble, and we just didn’t know what to say or do to help them.

You wish there was something you could do or advice you could give to them. Some magic phrase that would make them feel better, or a plan that would relieve their suffering and help them create the relationship, career or situation they’re longing to have.

But when you try to talk to them, they only seem to get more upset, and nothing really changes in their life.

Have you ever had one of those days?

Three ways to give your friends advice

The next time you find yourself in that situation, here are three things you can try:

1. Listen quietly.

I know this can be difficult, and it sounds obvious, but it’s a vital first step that many people miss. So be careful not to skip it.

Don’t offer your opinions or advice; at least, not yet. Just listen. When they stop talking, ask questions, or comment on what you’re hearing to see if it’s correct.

  • “How did you feel when that happened?”
  • “I imagine that must have been frustrating.”
  • “What happened after that?”

The point here is not to show off your level of understanding, but simply to show that you care about what they’re going through, and to hear and truly understand what they’re saying. If you don’t know where they’re coming from, how can you help them go anywhere?

2. Help them understand what they want.

Explore the ways in which they’d like their situation to be different. If they could have the lifestyle, relationship or career of their dreams, what would it look like? How would it be dissimilar to their current situation?

Don’t just assume that you know what’s best for them. Help them determine that for themselves, and ask questions to help them clarify that vision.

Remember, you can’t help them get where they want to go if neither of you know where that is.

3. Challenge their limiting beliefs.

You might hear things like:

  • “The kids are better off if we stay together or I can’t support myself and kids if we divorce.”
  • “Somebody has to do these crappy jobs; I’m not qualified for anything else, so it might as well be me.”
  • “I can’t afford this or that.”

When the person you’re speaking with makes these statements, that’s a great time for a ‘why’ question. “Why do you think you can’t get married? Why do you think you can’t leave this job you don’t like?”

Help them get to the root cause of this belief. Often, when people think they can’t create the life they desire, that thought is rooted in a limitation they’ve created for themselves. Help them to discover and see through that barrier.

If you want to get a more detailed understanding of how to handle each of these three steps, I invite you to fill out the form on the right and get in touch with one of my coaching mentors. My team and I specialize in teaching people how to both create the life of their dreams, and help others to do the same.

I’d love to show you how to use the three steps I’ve outlined above in the most effective way possible, and to give you a full toolkit of other methods you can use to help your friends, family and clients build the careers, relationships and lifestyles they’ve been dreaming of.

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