Stanger Pro Insights

Why good coaches embrace zeitgeist when offering their advice

Being asked for your advice can often happen when you’re coaching and while you can use questions to help someone work out what to do, it’s also sometimes good to just give people what they want!

There are lots of options on how to do this but one thing I think is important is to work out if the experiences that have shaped your opinion are relevant in the current zeitgeist – or the mood of a period in history shown in the ideas and beliefs of the time.

Here’s an example (I’ve gone with something obvious to make a point but I’d encourage you to think about how this can play out very subtly in everyday life).  A school leaver asks you if you think they should take a gap year to “chill for a bit…” before looking for a job or going to university.  If the zeitgeist when you left school was to get a job and start paying board and things have worked out well for you, then this might have an impact (more often than not you will do this subconsciously) on the advice you give.

The point here is your opinion might be based on your experiences in the times you experienced them and may be less relevant to the person in front of you who is going through that experience NOW.  It will feel good to be asked for you opinion and as people will be very tempted to just go with your advice, before you respond…

  1. Think about WHY your opinion is your opinion
  2. Then think about the factors that have the potential to shape the best thing to do in THEIR context
  3. Then if your feel your advice is relevant – fire away! If not, explain why your shaping experiences might be less useful in this situation and focus on helping THEM work out if the current zeitgeist really best serves them and what they want to achieve

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