The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not, and never persist in trying to set people right. Henry Ward Beecher, American clergyman and social reformer
Advice is one of those things we like to give but, rarely, like to receive. Here are a couple of ideas on how to deflect unwanted advice.
—If the advice is unwanted, there’s no need to explain why their idea won’t work or why you don’t want to do it. Instead, take the focus off yourself and switch it to the person who’s giving the advice.
—Be genuinely inquisitive. Say something like, “So tell me more about that? Why do you think that’s a good idea for me?”
—To draw the conversation to a close you might say, “I appreciate that you want to help me. I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet but I’ll consider your advice.”
—When you approach advice with curiosity, you make the advice-giver feel respected. And, you never know, as you dig deeper, you might find a useful nugget.
—As you show appreciation, the advice itself becomes less important than the fact that you’ve acknowledged their effort to be helpful out of their concern for you.
Affirmation: I can respectfully deflect unwanted advice.
Coaching questions: What kind of unwanted advice do you receive? How do you handle it? How might you handle unwanted advice with more respect?