Avoiding Advice Mode in a Group Coaching Session

As humans, we often want to give advice to others. It comes from the heart and a place of support and care. As coaches, we are trained not to do this - and we all remember how hard it was to avoid it at the start! When it comes to group coaching sessions, the urge to give advice can be the default for many members. With multiple people sharing their challenges and seeking solutions, it's easy to jump in with suggestions and recommendations.

We know this! Advice giving in a group setting isn't always helpful. In fact, it can often do more harm than good. Not only can it undermine the group dynamic and discourage open communication, but it can also lead to a lack of individual responsibility and accountability. So, how can you help your group members avoid the temptation to give advice and instead foster a more productive and collaborative group environment? Read on to find out! We asked some of our community members to share their thoughts.

Marsha Prospere, GCHQ Guest Coach

“When a group goes straight into problem-solving and advice-giving, I will acknowledge and  leverage what’s shared as the access point to coaching. For example, if the group begins putting forth solutions for having a difficult conversation, I will say something like, “We heard some great solutions or best practices for how you can have a difficult conversation. (I invite you all to explore them further after the session.) What is in the way of you putting any of them into practice?”

Marsha is the Founder of Adept Flow, an Executive and Mentor Coach, and PCC

Amy Schultz, Group Coaching Certification Program Graduate

“We get some women in our groups who are really excited about the changes they are making, and really want to share with the others, give advice, and problem solve. It's so tempting when you know what the other person is going through! When this happens, I remind everyone of the journey we are on, and that everyone's path is unique. I'll say something like "instead of giving advice in this moment, let's take a minute to think about XYZ" and maybe give them a journal prompt to get them back into mindful mode.”

Amy is the Co-Founder of Bolder Money

Jason Van Orden, GCHQ Guest Speaker

“I remind the group to ask clarifying questions to ensure we give advice that aligns with the goals and circumstances of the person we are helping. If the timing is not right for giving advice, I remind them that the best thing we can do is listen and reflect what we hear.”

Jason is a Business Strategist for Coaches

Dr. Vivian Nazari, Group Coaching Certification Program Graduate

“I ask everyone to pause, acknowledge that there is a lot of problem-solving wisdom within the group, and remind everyone that using a coaching mindset and the curiosity that comes with it will yield much broader and deeper transformative insights. If there is resistance, then the resistance itself is something to explore deeper.”

Dr. Vivian is an Executive and Life Coach

Jillian Lindsey, GCHQ Guest Speaker

“I interrupt it! Give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish he eats for life. If we give one another advice and answers, we don’t allow the person to create new awarenesses on their own that will support them going forward.”

Jillian is an Executive Leadership Coach

We’d love to hear… What do you do to avoid advice giving in your groups?