Don’t Give Advice, Create Connection

I recently had a conversation with a friend who’s been through a couple of challenging months. And as he shared his struggles with me, my initial response was to share how I in the past had overcome struggles similar to the one he had described. And now, the conversation was going well… but it wasn’t really flowing. We weren’t connecting as friends. It was more like a coaching session—but that wasn’t the point of our conversation. I’m not his coach, he’s not my mentee. We’re friends. And as I noticed this, I switched gears. Rather than trying to present him solutions, I started to just share some of my own recent struggles. And that instantly changed the dynamic of our conversation. Now we were connecting as friends, just shooting the shit, laughing, having a great time—and funny enough, the impact of our conversation was probably much deeper than if we’d have continued down the “coaching call” path.

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