The Advice Trap Book Summary By Michael Bungay Stanier

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The Advice Trap (2020) is a book that can help you control your instinct to give advice at all times.

We often do this because it gives us a sense of security; we feel like we're in control of the situation.

But this behavior can also lead to alienating ourselves from other people and dampening creativity in the workplace.

The Advice Trap explains why it's so important to adopt a more open-minded attitude and learn how to really listen to others before offering solutions.

This book provides practical tactics for suppressing the urge to give advice and instead focus on cultivating true curiosity about what people are saying.

By finding ways of truly connecting with people, you'll be better able to elicit thoughtful solutions from yourself and others around you.

The Advice Trap Book

Book Name: The Advice Trap (Be Humble, Stay Curious & Change the Way You Lead Forever)

Author(s): Michael Bungay Stanier

Rating: 4.6/5

Reading Time: 17 Minutes

Categories: Communication Skills

Author Bio

Michael Bungay Stanier is a renowned author and thought leader in the field of coaching.

In 2019, he was named the #1 Thought Leader in Coaching worldwide.

His book, The Coaching Habit, has sold an incredible 700,000 copies, garnering over 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.

As the founder of Box of Crayons--a learning-and-development business--he has traveled around the world offering advice to organizations on how to implement better leadership approaches.

With his latest work--The Advice Trap--Stanier continues to provide insightful guidance in this ever-changing arena.

Taming The Advice Monster: How To Stop Overgiving And Become A Better Listener

Advice Monster

The Advice Trap book gives readers insights on how to become a better leader by gaining control of their inner voice and learning to master the art of listening.

This, in turn, helps individuals understand that providing solutions is not always the best approach.

Instead, they can become a better leader by reaching for challenges and helping people solve those challenges on their own.

Through careful observation and understanding of where the need for giving solutions comes from, readers will realize it puts unnecessary stress on both parties involved.

Additionally, readers will discover why asking questions ultimately does more than giving advice when trying to be helpful in any situation.

This knowledge will also guide them with humility and empathy as they realize that everyone has good ideas that should be heard.

Finally, The Advice Trap explains why people often sabotage their own coaching sessions due to expectations of what achieving success should look like and how this impedes progress overall.

Confronting Our Inner Advice Monster: Why Giving Unsolicited Advice Can Do More Harm Than Good

When giving advice, it is important to remember that offering help can often get in the way of finding real solutions.

This happens when we jump in with our own solutions too quickly, without taking the time to really understand what the problem is.

We may end up offering the wrong kind of advice because we haven’t taken the time to listen carefully enough and deeply enough.

Furthermore, our advice may not be the best solution because it comes from a limited knowledge base and our own assumptions.

Our knee jerk reaction to advise might also have a negative effect on our own well-being — how can we effectively solve all these problems or come up with fresh ideas if we’re busy doing other people’s jobs? On top of that, those around us may feel undermined by our constant suggestions and start doubting their ability to make decisions or come up with solutions by themselves.

If we want to create an environment where innovation can thrive and everyone can use their full potential, then breaking this cycle is essential.

To do so, we have to confront and challenge our inner ‘Advice Monsters’ who make us think that giving advice is always helpful.

Getting To Know (And Taming) Our Inner Advice Monster

We all have an internal Advice Monster inside us.

That voice that always tells you to have the right answers and be in control of every situation – it’s your Advice Monster speaking!

Your Advice Monster developed during times when you were stressed out.

It can come in many different personas: “Tell-It”, who loves to hogging the spotlight and explain their opinion is more correct than others; “Save-It” type, who will not jump on a soapbox but are equally convinced that they know the solution; and “Control-It”, which wants us to stay in charge of all situations or risk chaos.

Our Advice Monsters can stop us from connecting with others, being open to new perspectives, as well as loading us with too much responsibility.

But we cannot get rid of our Advice Monsters – they’re part of our personalities and provide vital support during difficult times.

Therefore, instead of trying to erase them, we should empower ourselves by understanding our Advice Monsters better so that they can work for us rather than against us.

It’s time to recognize our internal Advisor Monsters – and tame them!

Taming Your Advice Monster: Recognizing Your Triggers And Understanding Their Costs And Benefits

Costs And Benefits

We all have our own personal Advice Monsters — the part of us that takes control and gives out advice in stressful situations.

Knowing what triggers your Advice Monster is an important step in taming it.

For some, it’s being around members of their family, for others it’s when they feel uncomfortable among strangers or with people who are less experienced than them.

It could also be situations like at work or during a political debate.

Take a moment to consider which specific people and places spark your inner Advice Monster into action.

Then think about how you act when this happens — do you give unsolicited advice to your coworkers? Do you dominate conversations with dates? Even if it makes you cringe to think about it, identifying these patterns is essential in curbing your compulsive urge to give out advice.

It’s important to recognize that although we get small rewards from giving advice (such as feeling helpful or smart), constantly doing so also leads to serious costs — namely, strained relationships and a reputation as an overbearing control freak.

To really break out of this pattern, try thinking long-term instead and focus on building a “future you” that isn’t so focused on controlling outcomes through giving advice.

The Key To Good Leadership: Asking The Right Questions

In The Advice Trap Book, one of the key ideas is that we need to start asking good questions instead of just proposing solutions.

This idea may seem counterintuitive, as many people believe that providing advice and solutions is the best way to help someone in need.

However, when you take the time to ask more-and better -questions, it can do wonders for both you and the other person.

Questions that are short and simple and open-ended are the most effective because they keep the conversation going.

Some great examples of this kind of question include “What’s on your mind?” or “What else?” It’s also important to follow up with further questions such as “What do you want?” or “If you’re saying yes to this, what must you say no to?”

Instead of providing directives, ask questions in order to foster understanding and trust with others.

Asking questions cultivates a sense of curiosity in both parties and encourages them to think for themselves about which actions they should take.

In The Advice Trap Book, one suggestion for properly ending the conversation is by asking “What was most useful or valuable here for you?” This will enable the person who received help to formulate their own conclusions about how they were helped instead of being lectured.

Move Past The Fog And Have Meaningful Conversations With Probing Questions

When it comes to any type of coaching or conversation, people often do anything they can to avoid having an open and vulnerable conversation.

This is something that takes practice and patience in order to get through.

Fortunately, The Advice Trap by Mary Richardson gives advice on identifying these conversational traps so that you can move the conversation to the point where someone will become more vulnerable.

In her book, Richardson points out what she calls Foggy-fiers which are conversational traps that hide what is really going on underneath the surface level dialogue.

She talks about how if one person is being overly superficial about a certain topic it might be an indication that they are trying to distract from having a vulnerable conversation.

Other tactics used include long stories (called Yarning) and talking in abstracts (called Big-Picturing) all of which serve as distractions from truly confronting their deeper issues.

In order to overcome this issue, Mary suggests asking very pointed questions in order to get at the heart of the challenge while at the same time gently guiding them back towards a challenging but still vulnerable discussion.

It is only through having this type of honest dialogue that true progress can be made in understanding whatever challenge someone may be facing.

Create A Safe Environment To Make Difficult Conversations Transformative

Safe Environment

One of the most important ingredients for successful communication and conversations that lead to transformation is feeling safe.

If we don’t feel safe, our brains activate our survival mechanisms, which can lead us to either become defensive or shut down completely.

So how do we ensure that people feel comfortable enough to engage in challenging conversations? Nailing down the basics will help create an environment where anyone can participate without fear.

First, be on their side and empathize with what they are saying with nods of encouragement.

Use language like “us” and “we” to express unity and make it clear that you’re tackling the problem together.

Secondly, show respect by being vulnerable as well and expressing your own opinions or struggles too – this will let them know that you value their opinion just as much as you value your own.

Thirdly, provide some autonomy by giving them a say about the conversation if possible; when individuals feel empowered, they’ll be more open to taking risks.

Lastly, manage expectations so there’s no surprises that would make someone tense – introduce a structure for the session with allotted times for tasks will also reassure them a bit more too.

When all of these elements are woven together and combined with empathy, understanding and listening skills, you’ll have created an atmosphere where transformative conversations can take place easily!

Learning To Become A Good Coach Takes Time, Patience, And Empathy

The Advice Trap emphasizes that in order to become a good coach, you need to first learn how to be coachable.

This means being open-minded and inquisitive, while also actively asking for feedback and constructive criticism.

You can do this by engaging with people in conversations using key skills such as listening and asking open-ended questions.

It’s important not to limit yourself when it comes to practicing coaching – don’t just focus on face-to-face interactions – but also reach out through phone calls, emails, texts or even Zoom/Skype sessions!

Learning to be coachable is a process that doesn’t happen overnight – it takes time and practice before climbing the mountain of wisdom.

That’s why The Advice Trap advocates getting your own personal coach if possible – someone who will help you understand your obstacles, vulnerabilities and fears so you can become the best teammate or leader possible.

Ultimately, remember that learning how to be coachable is an ongoing journey rather than a final destination.

If you make mistakes along the way, don’t beat yourself up about it – take it as an opportunity to grow and expand your worldview!

Wrap Up

The Advice Trap by Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschäppeler is a thought-provoking book that provides insights into the impact of giving advice without first listening.

The key message here is clear: advice can sometimes be necessary, but if one doesn’t listen to what someone is actually saying before offering solutions, it has the potential to backfire and do more harm than good.

The authors encourage readers to master the art of asking exploratory questions to help identify someone’s true challenge and empower them to discover their own solutions.

And if you must offer advice, make sure it lands by confirming that it was exactly what the listener needed.

This book serves as an essential tool for improving our ability to interact better with others – understanding the value in contributing no response instead of providing quick fixes all the time.

In conclusion, this book is an important read for anyone who wishes to communicate effectively with people around them.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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