Stop Giving Advice (and other takeaways from iPEC’s Mod 1)

Mod 1 is the first of 3 in-person weekend immersions over the course of iPEC’s 9-month coach training program. There were 29 of us in my training and hundreds more going through trainings around the world. Ours was led by two intuitive, bright, funny women named Sherri and Nina. So far I’ve had an exclusively positive experience of this organization so my expectations were high. And still, despite my positive expectations, I was pleasantly surprised. 

Here are three of my favorite unexpected takeaways from Mod 1:

1. I realized that the idea of becoming a coach could actually appeal to me.

I discovered that I never really understood coaching in the first place (if I had, coaching always might have appealed to me). I thought coaches were just self-proclaimed experts who made you pay for their advice instead of giving it freely. And I thought the people who paid for coaches were extravagant and not very resourceful. Why hire a coach when you could ask your friends or google it or just try harder? Why are people paying each other for information instead of sharing it generously? It felt like a backward system. I never thought I’d use a coach and I certainly never thought I’d become one. 

What I misunderstood was this: coaches—at least the coaches that come out of iPEC’s training—aren’t there to help you, solve your problems, or give you advice. That’s what consultants and therapists and mentors do. Coaches raise your energy so you don’t need help or advice anymore. They get you to a state where you’re effortlessly solving your own problems (or not perceiving problems in the first place). I love that. 

2. I noticed my energy rise.

I still don’t know what to attribute this to—but my energy (my attitude; my feeling state; my sense of excitement and clarity and creativity) rose noticeably. I went in feeling pretty neutral and open. Just blank; curious and receptive. By the end of day three I was lit up. Joyful and activated and alive. What the hell? I even found this in my doodle-notes looking back afterward:

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I wrote to Bruce D Schneider—iPEC’s founder—and asked him what it was about the training environment that raised my energy. Here’s what he said:

“It wasn’t the environment that raised you. It was a combination of a lot of things. I designed this to meet everyone exactly where they are and then take them where they want to be. Everyone is affected differently and at different times.”

He said Mods 2 and 3 will make it more clear. Looking forward to learning what that’s all about.

3. Giving advice is not as useful as I thought

This was particularly surprising. Early on in the training we got to see how worthless most advice is. And more importantly, we got a chance to feel how excruciatingly hard it is to NOT give advice—whether or not it’s being asked for.

Giving advice inherently validates and perpetuates whatever story that person is dealing with. Even if you give them a clever way to deal with their problem, you’ve met them on the level of their problem, thereby confirming the legitimacy of their problem and inviting further similar problems into their experience.

The alternative is to raise their energy to a level where that problem feels irrelevant, obsolete, or intuitive and easy to handle. The best tool we learned for raising someone’s energy? Ask them great questions.

Intuitively this is so clear to me—think about when you’re dealing with something tough and you tell a few people about what’s going on. The person who hits you with some immediate trivial “solution” is reliably the least useful conversation you’ll have. It’s the person who gets you thinking differently, reorienting the issue, questioning your approach and considering possibilities who makes a real difference. Isn’t it weird how quick we are to give advice despite how worthless it tends to be?


 

Here’s a quick video I shot about my experience with Mod 1, my stop-giving-advice discovery, and a few other thoughts related to my iPEC journey so far. Thank you Jamie for interviewing me and helping me put it together.

5 thoughts on “Stop Giving Advice (and other takeaways from iPEC’s Mod 1)

  1. “…Coaches raise your energy so you don’t need help or advice anymore. They get you to a state where you’re effortlessly solving your own problems (or not perceiving problems in the first place). I love that…” Me too!!!

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  2. The way you’ve described this expands beautifully on my understanding that giving advice is not helpful… making your post indeed very helpful!

    I particularly liked this part, “The alternative is to raise their energy to a level where that problem feels irrelevant, obsolete, or intuitive and easy to handle. The best tool we learned for raising someone’s energy? Ask them great questions.”

    Lissa Rankin wrote a post very recently about “needs” which, for me, tied in very nicely with yours, and it was no surprise that I immediately got a call from a friend who was upset about something. Without going in to the story our conversation showed me, reminded me, that there’s a real art to communicating at this level that requires awareness, knowledge, skill and practice. So I started investigating iPec – I like your experience with them so far.

    Thank you Cory.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent – when I got out of coach training – I knew I would be a good coach if I coached myself out of clients because they didn’t need me – they had the power and found it. I’ve never felt happy with those coaching platforms that keep people on a continual coaching cycle. Sounds like an excellent training program. I may check it out myself.

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