Home / Skill: To Advise

Skill: To Advise

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn

Advising means trying to change or improve something in an organization without having direct power or resources.

You usually advise from a certain professional expertise. However, advising is more than just doing your trick: it is aimed at helping the client in his specific situation.

If you do have direct power and resources, then you are managing, not advising.

Advising is difficult, precisely because of the lack of power and resources. You must strive for acceptance and implementation of your ideas by others. It is a complex skill in which all sorts of other skills play a role, such as: asking questions, listening, sensitivity, analyzing, influencing, convincing, giving feedback and reporting .

Who advises? To begin with, of course, the external advisers or consultants. But in addition, everyone in a policy or staff position is in fact an internal consultant.

Advising: what is involved?

First of all, you study the situation and the specific problem of your client. You map the situation and estimate your own position. Important questions are:

- What exactly is the problem?
- Who are involved in the problem? What are their interests, what is their attitude?
- What has already been done to tackle the problem? Why didn't that work out?
- Which resistances should I take into account?
- What expectations does the consultant have? To what extent can I meet it? What can I contribute? What support do I need?

The role of the consultant is also important. Possible roles are:

- Expert with specialist professional knowledge.
- Director: an independent person who guides a certain group process or change process.
- Group worker: someone who is brought in to improve mutual relationships.
- Politician: an expert who is invited to guide certain decisions or to help solve 'political problems' in an organization.

In a consultation you coordinate with your conversation partner and listen to his wishes. In addition to the actual or 'official' problem, there are often underlying problems or emotions (fear, uncertainty, doubt). To uncover them you have to ask the right questions or provoke a certain reaction and know when to remain silent. Of course you listen carefully to the answers, but you are also sensitive to the emotions and non-verbal signals.

It is important to properly negotiate your advisory assignment, so that all conditions are met in order to fulfill your role properly. Consider, among other things, the objective and definition, the required cooperation and support and your own time allocation.

You collect information by conducting interviews, studying written documents and looking around the organization.

When developing the advice, you don't only rely on professional arguments. You take into account the situation and the corporate culture. As a consultant you have more knowledge about the subject matter than the client, you will usually take the initiative and make proposals for solutions. The client often appreciates being able to choose from a few options. You provide options that the client has not thought of. You use the outline of the various options to make the client aware of certain consequences, advantages and disadvantages. Experienced sellers know that people choose three from three alternatives with increasing quality and price, usually the middle one.

You build support for the recommended solution, by interviewing employees, exploring how they view the situation and involving them in constructing the solution. Giving advice is actually giving feedback. It is important that you are constructive, concrete and honest.

A recommendation is often judged more emotionally than rationally. Advice must therefore be confidence-inspiring and "strategically packaged". You must present your vision as an attractive solution. With a presentation you radiate confidence .

You often become (jointly) responsible for implementing the advice. You must also be able to deal with resistance in the organization. Resistance is often a signal that you must reinterpret as constructive criticism. You transfer knowledge so that the organization can successfully carry out new activities and solve problems itself, without being dependent on you.

Finally, an evaluation can not be missing. Has the objective been achieved? Is the problem solved? Could have been better or more efficient. In practice, the evaluation is also used by external consultants in particular to win follow-up assignments.

Professions with an advisory role

Advice plays an important role in various professions:

- As a consultant or consultant, advising is one of your core tasks.
- A controller advises management and management on the management and control of the organization.
- An accountant advises entrepreneurs in administrative, financial, business economics and tax matters.
- As a P&O advisor / personnel advisor you advise and support the management, the personnel and organization managers.
- A policy officer advises a minister, alderman, board or management on the policy to be pursued.
- As a funeral director you advise the relatives about the execution of the funeral.

See also:
Back to top

Home | About Us | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use

Copyright 2011 - 2019 - All Rights Reserved