Study of 8,000+ Participants Advice of Experts Overestimated
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“Do the Best Performers Really Give the Best Advice?”
And the answer from this new study was basically, ‘No, they do not’. Top performers gave more advice, but not better advice, likely because performing and advising are two different things.
Every day, more and more people leave their 9–5 jobs to advise other people on ‘how to’ whatever it is.
Even if they have actually succeeded at what they aim to teach, and too many have not, that still doesn’t mean they know how to teach.
Here is a list I found for 31 types of coaching:
And these don’t even specify lactation coaching, pet coaching, spiritual coaching…
The coaching industry, here in the U.S. alone, has already reached $14 Billion, and continues to grow year over year — meaning that a lot of people out there are seeking advice.
To be clear, as a classically trained psychotherapist, I had advice giving pretty much beat out of me a long time ago. Or at least they tried. Now too, coaching, as I understand and aim to practice it, is not advice giving either.
Actions and outcomes are more central in coaching than psychotherapy. But the actions and outcomes are to be generated by the client’s own wishes and dreams, goals, aspirations, values, interests — rather than my own.
Still, there are a lot of advice givers out there and, as the study suggests, it is not always good.
Beware Advice Givers
Elizbeth Scott, PhD, gives us 3 types of advice-giving motivations:
- Helpful Motives: Altruism, Friendliness, Excitement
- Less-Helpful Motives: Neediness, Helplessness Message-Sending
- Very Unhelpful Motives: Narcissism, Dominance, Judgment, Drama
Do visit the article to learn more. For here and now, please know that unsolicited advice can be very stressful, especially if it is more to pump up the advice giver at the receiver’s expense.
Even with the more genuinely caring varieties of advice givers, sometimes all we really want is for someone to listen, because we simply don’t have the bandwidth in that moment to process anything more. Click here for and earlier post on what great listening really is.
And, what is needed and works best is just the presence of another, something called ‘bearing witness’ that can go a long way in supporting another person as they sort through things on their own.
On the other hand, advice seeking is a good thing to do when it is a good thing to do. That would be when we are clear and open enough to process what comes our way.
And, let’s keep in mind that just because someone is considered (or considers themselves) an expert, doesn’t mean that what they have to say will land on us in a helpful. That remains to be–and should be — seen before we consider that person a truly trusted advisor.
The Power of Self-Advice
Forbes did a piece on how much better we are at giving great advice to other people than we are at giving great advice to ourselves. Freaks and Kross found, in a series of studies, that people who stepped mentally outside of themselves, as if advising another person, were 35% more likely to advise themselves well.
From another article, “Why You Should Talk To Yourself in the Third Person,” Illeism aka distanced self-talk can foster “better emotional regulation, self control, and even wisdom.”
I’ve heard elsewhere that we should even refer to ourselves by name.
Given we have 80K thoughts/day, 80% negative, 95% repetitive, Holly Hannah — or whatever your name is — sure seems worth a try, and let us know what you find!
Phot by Pexels Cottonbro