Do I Give Advice or Do I Just Listen? Webinar
We enter our mentee’s lives at different points. Sometimes they need encouragement. Sometimes they need a deeper level of help. How do you tell the difference? On this webinar recording, Isaac Funk and Kathy Knochel step into this question and walk through the Stages of Change and an Advice Matrix that can help mentors discern the best route forward in these varying circumstances. Learn more as you watch our recorded webinar.
This is a mentoring topic that I think a lot of mentor, mentees face. This tension perhaps in this question. Do I give advice or do I just listen? And, today I’m really thankful to have my friend Kathy Knochel with me. She is a counselor here at ACCFS. My name is Isaac Funk and I work as a teacher here.
But Kathy, just thanks for being on with us and letting us pick your brain a little bit on today’s mentoring topic because really you are a high level trained professional who has to work through questions just like this on a daily basis, just based on your work as a counselor. So, thanks for being here. Excited for this. So I’ll just share a little bit at the beginning and kind of set this up for us today. This is an issue that I personally had to struggle through in my own mentoring relationships, but also other relationships in my life. And I’m thinking about that perhaps even with my wife, right? Having this question, do I come in to fix here or do I just, she need someone to listen because there really is this like, spectrum of relationships that we’re dealing with. And I don’t know where everybody is on the call today and what sort of relationships they’re engaged in. But, I think we can take the concepts here and apply them across the spectrum where at one end you might have the counselor, and pretty close to that maybe then you have the mentor figure.
And we’re gonna try to speak most specifically to that in today’s webinar. But then on the other side, you have maybe the more loosely defined relationships, like a friendship or the person sitting down the pew from you on Sunday. But really the concepts here, again, could be applied across the spectrum in some degree. So when working with an individual who may be sharing something about a trial or a season of life that they’re going through, maybe I’ve found myself where I’ve gone through something similar and so I have something, some advice ready to share, but then there’s also this voice in my head, Kathy, that’s saying maybe there’s something, maybe it’s something where they just need somebody to hear them right now.
But then again, maybe I could really bless this person and, with something that may end up being like wise counsel for them right now. How does a mentor work through that tension is one of the questions that we really wanna deal with. And so our goal today is to offer some guidance on how one might answer that question or work through that tension between giving advice and just listening.
And I just wanted to kick us off with some Scripture that I think has some relevance to this topic. And this is Paul speaking to the church in Thessalonica. 1 Thessalonians 5:14. It says, now we exhort you brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, and support the weak, be patient toward all men.
So I think what’s being highlighted here is just that importance of being able to identify where a person is at in their walk of life. What season are they in? What are their current issues in order that we can provide the right help at the right time? Now I don’t think we need to set an expectation here, Kathy, at the beginning, that we’ll get this perfect every time, we’re fallible.
That’s not what I’m trying to say, but there are some skills that we can use and some signposts perhaps, that we can learn to recognize that can aid us in doing this well. So today, what we’re going to be doing, Kathy, is walking through this model called the advice matrix that can help us identify where someone might be in their walk of life and how we as mentors might be able to support them in that particular walk. And I’m gonna turn it over to you in just a minute here. Here’s the advice matrix. Kathy, can you explain kind of just the maturation process that we’ve outlined here? How do we understand what this matrix?
Definitely. And what I would say, just to agree with all the things that you just said there, Isaac, is you’ve labeled this need for advice or do I give advice or do I listen as a tension that needs to be managed? And I would agree with that, that it certainly is a tension that’s there in all kinds of relationships that we have. I think that there’s probably two important things just that I might mention as we head into this webinar. And it’s probably the first being, I think it’s gonna be helpful for you to have a good understanding of who you are in this sort of thing.
And so what I mean by that is I would guess that there are people on this webinar that are, maybe we could label you as like fixers. You just are ready to give advice. You love giving advice, you have the ability to see what needs to happen and needs to change, and you tend to swing that way, typically.
And then there’s gonna probably be other people on this call today that are on the opposite side of that spectrum that are afraid to give advice or they have in the past and it hasn’t went well. And so I think what you want to do is acknowledge where you’re at there on that spectrum because how you participate with somebody that’s in each phase of this quadrant is gonna depend on that.
So if you’re slow to give advice, you’re gonna wanna be looking for times to speak up and give advice. And if you’re always giving advice, you probably wanna listen in when we’re talking about listening and moving slowly with people. So the number one most important piece of this question, do I give advice or just listen, is we have to understand where the person is, and that’s where this matrix comes in at, where we’ll talk about the people that need advice but don’t want it. And then we’ll kind of follow it around clockwise, all the way to not needed and wanted to not needed and not wanted and just see what, as a mentor or as a friend you can do in each of these buckets.
Thank you, Kathy, for laying that out for us. I think to address this tension in each of these quadrants that you just laid out here, there’s a paradigm called Stages of Change that you’re going to be referencing probably occasionally throughout the webinar today. And I was wondering if you could just help us understand what the stages of change are that we’re going to have to be able to identify and that will help us give the right help at the right time for a mentee or someone we’re in relationship with.
And so with this piece, I guess I’m kind of hoping that this isn’t the first time that you’ve heard of this. I’m gonna do just a high level discussion about this cuz I think it’s really helpful to be able to understand where somebody is based on these stages. Certainly look into it a little bit more if this is all new information to you. But, this is something as a counselor that is always in the back of my mind of like, where is somebody at in their ability and readiness to make changes.
So just for context, I would say typically somebody is gonna enter into a counseling setting. And I would probably even say we’ll commit to maybe some mentoring when they’re in this place of the contemplation to preparation stage. And then we typically are gonna exit out of a counseling setting in the action and maintenance. So if that kind of helps lay out the flow of things. So pre-contemplation is before that. We would look at an individual on the pre-contemplation stage as like, they might not be super aware that there is a need or that they don’t have a good understanding that like something needs to change in order for life not to be so difficult.
The other piece I should say is they might be aware of it, but they might feel like they have no capacity to change. Like change feels so big and it just is not worth it and there’s no motivation there. And then when we move down to contemplation, I would say both of these two are places where it’s a good time to just be asking good questions and be building a relationship with someone.
And then the contemplation is they’re maybe a little bit more aware of like, okay, there are some changes that might be possible. Moving in somebody that is in more of a preparation stage, I don’t know if this is the right way of saying it, but I think sometimes I like to say like the locked and loaded, like they’re there, they’re ready. They’re maybe not actually taking action yet, but they have everything they need for change and they’re acknowledging that there’s low barriers to change. They just have to commit to doing it. And then we would see somebody move into the action and maintenance. They’re doing it, they’re moving through the steps that they need to follow.
And then as a friend or as a mentor here, you’re really into a place of support in these two areas. And so the advice piece comes in handy in probably the preparation into action stage. That’s when a person is gonna be most ready to listen and receive and implement advice. And we’ll talk about that a little bit more as we keep moving.
Thanks, Kathy. So, is it fair to say that there is, can we almost say this, that progression that’s lined up in stages of change into this matrix to help us understand maybe those signposts of this, maybe this is a place where this person’s able to receive some advice? Maybe this is a stage where it is more listening heavy.
Certainly. I would say in the needed and wanted category, which is kind of on that top right, that’s where we would see maybe the more preparation or action stage. On the top left, I think that’s gonna be that pre-contemplation, contemplation stage of things where others around this individual see that there is need for help, support, advice, whatever it is. But that person is not in a place where they’re wanting any of that. They’re not ready to commit to any change.
Excellent. So let’s just start there, Kathy, and get really practical with the person in that pre-contemplation stage. They need advice, but they aren’t yet wanting advice. So maybe I’ll just set this one up here for us, Kathy, this is, in my mind, this is the person, it’s the husband at home who’s putting together some furniture and he has got the instruction manual sitting there. But he just leaves it there and he’s just struggling away cuz he’s like, he’s just gonna try to figure it out himself, right? But the wife can look at this piece of furniture and it’s not like it looked in the catalog and she’s probably, she’s like, he needs to be using this instruction manual over here. It’s got some advice or something that he could really need to have a good effect here. And that’s just a stereotype, but maybe that’s the type of situation perhaps that we’re dealing with in the needed and not wanted quadrant.
And I like that example cuz I think that it just shows the two different things there. So I think the one being, so we’re talking about the person that is just needing a little bit of assistance or it’s pretty obvious, like just do these three things and it would make your life a little bit easier. But for whatever reason, whether it is past hurts or just a really difficult situation that this person is in presently, or if it’s lack of knowledge or experience, they’re just not even in a place where they are willing to listen or hear what somebody else has to say.
And so what I think is helpful in this, the person that needs some advice and assistance but is not wanting it. I would look a little bit more to what a mentor should do in this situation. And this is where you stay patient, you stay present, and you just stay in a place where you are willing to just listen and build a relationship with the person.
If somebody is not in a place where they’re willing to take any advice or counsel from you, it probably means that they might not trust you enough or they’re just not in a place where they feel like the relationship is strong enough for that. And so that would be the goal of this piece of, just stay there, be with them through this time. Be a good listener. This doesn’t mean that you can’t acknowledge that you can see that the person is struggling. Like maybe in your example, Isaac, the wife being able to say like, wow, this looks like it’s really complicated. And, just being able to just acknowledge the presence of distress, but you’re not in a place where you are telling them, I think you need to do these three things.
Cuz in this place what that advice is doing is it’s just bouncing off the person. And then what ends up happening is us, the helpers in it, we can get pretty overwhelmed in this place and that’s why this need for good boundaries is there. If sometimes we feel like, well, if we just connect with them five times this week instead of two times this week, it will help. And that doesn’t help because they’re not at a stage where they’re ready for that. And so just that need for really good boundaries with this person and good self-care so that you are ready to be more present with them when they’re ready for it.
I think that’s a really important point to draw out, Kathy, this idea of having good boundaries for yourself, even to make so you have an emotionally healthy place from which you’re able to interact with them or other people. What are some good boundaries, Kathy, that you’ve personally had to put in place or someone that you know, that you could share with us? Some examples of that.
So I would say in this case, so probably what is happening when somebody is in need of some help and assistance, but they’re not willing to take it, the need for boundaries come in from an emotional or a thought process of like, and I know that this maybe doesn’t always sound the most loving piece, but it’s, we can’t try harder than they’re trying.
And so it’s setting just that boundary of I need to be present with them when I can. And then I also just need to hand this back to them, like visually so that I’m not taking their stress home with me, worrying about it, trying to fix it. Because it’s not my problem to solve. And so it’s kind of an emotional boundary, but I would also say like a boundary with time here can be really important. So, if you find yourself always connected with this person, always talking, always communicating with this person, and they’re not really making any movement. It’s okay to limit some of those interactions, not leave or walk away unless that would be needed. But, you don’t necessarily have to do that, but it’s just making sure that you’re not overspending too much time in this area.
Yeah. I think that’s really good. Understanding our role, I think, becomes a really important part here. You talked about not trying harder than they’re trying, and I think what makes that okay is that we also know that there is someone who is trying harder than you’re trying, being the Holy Spirit, right? God is certainly pursuing this person, and that’s His job to be able to do that. He uses us but within our limits, within our boundaries as being humans ourselves. So, I think that’s really good to be able to point that out. Yeah, absolutely.
Is there also something to say here, Kathy, and maybe this isn’t the best place to put it, I don’t know, but when I think of influencing people, is there a skill here that we can use with somebody in this quadrant that helps them move out of the pre-contemplative, sort of, I just don’t even think I need help in this area. Are there ways that we can influence them to see that, okay, actually I could use some advice in this place to help them mature from this quadrant into the next?
Yes, for sure. And I like that word, influencing, a lot for this stage actually. So I’m glad that you brought that up. And so I would say that it’s not that you have to create a new skillset to be able to do what you just described, but I think that that just goes back to that ability to be present with them. When you have the ability to be present and you’re listening to them and you’re hearing their story, you’re not necessarily moving to a place of giving them advice, like, well, did you try these three things? But, they can learn from your example, like, so whether it’s an example of steadiness or how you tell them stories about your life, what you’re doing is you’re helping them see that there is another way, or there there are other options out there. And so just the way that you talk and interact with them can help shift this for sure.
Yeah. I love that. That’s a beautiful way to put it. So as that shift occurs, we move into the next quadrant. So let’s just jump into that. This is the, advice is needed and advice is now wanted from the standpoint of a mentee. So this is maybe like the first time mother who she’s just looking for every piece of information she can find on pregnancy, birth, raising a child, all these things. And she knows she needs that help and she does and she’s just really desperate to get it. So, what do we do with a person who comes to us in that state?
Yeah, so this actually is so different from the last one in that the last one can feel really challenging. And this one doesn’t feel as challenging. This is if you’re in a mentor-mentee relationship, this can feel like the perfect situation because for the mentor, it feels like I’m doing something here. I’m checking a box, we’re having meaningful conversation. I’m giving them advice, I’m telling them things. And the mentee also feels supported in that. And so I think this can feel like the ideal situation. Some of the things that I would probably just encourage is this ability to just be really mindful, again, of who you are as an individual.
When you move towards that giving advice piece here. So if you are the person who has never given advice to this person, or felt like all you can do is just listen and agree and be present, this is where you’re gonna wanna start moving towards that ability to step into saying your opinion on things, your perspective, even if it differs from the person. We would probably assume that in this place you have built a healthy relationship with the person. They’re coming to you asking for support, you’re ready to give it. And so this is where you can feel free to start doing that.
And then I would say if you’re the person who has like 10 pages of advice just ready to hand to them, I’m gonna actually tell you just to slow down here and not just jump into that. It could feel really overwhelming to the person, but also what you wanna make sure that you’re doing here is that you’re listening to hear and not listening to answer. And that would be listening to hear what are they actually asking? What is the actual need here? And you know, I think if you think about it from the example you gave, Isaac, of like the first time mom, I think that rather than telling them like, you have to have your baby on this sleep schedule and feed them this often and do this, it’s which is the advice that we wanna be able to pass on.
It’s more about like, listening for if they feel like they’re not being a good mom or they’re not being adequate and listening to support them in that is gonna feel way better than the need to give advice. And so just that listening piece is super important in this area, and then that ability to kind of move into asking good questions. So even though you have the ability to give advice in this situation, it’s always better if the solution comes from the person themselves. And so rather than telling an individual, like, I think you need to do these three things, being able to ask questions like what are some of the options you feel like you have? Or what are some of the things that you’ve tried before? What might be the pros and cons? What advice would you give to somebody that’s in this situation? And what you’re doing is you’re eliciting really good conversation with the individual. And then they’re able to draw on that skill themselves.
I guess this is an example that’s in the back of my mind as I’m saying this, just to make it a little bit more tangible. And this is probably not the situation that needs the most advice around, but let’s just think of an individual who feels like they’re always running a hundred miles an hour, but not accomplishing anything. And it feels, and they’re letting you know, like, I’m really overwhelmed all the time. I feel like I never get the things done that I need to do. I feel like I can’t stay on task. It’s really easy in this situation, you see that they’ve acknowledged their need, you’ve noticed this about them.
They might even be saying things like, I think I use my phone too much. Or screen time gets in the way. They might be saying all of this. And so they’re asking like, what do you do? How do you manage this? And it’s really easy to go to advice that’s kind of, I call them fast answers. So like, well, have you tried making a schedule and setting timers, like just being able to give that advice quickly. They’re seeking it. You’re ready to give it. And my guess would be sometimes the obvious advice. If it was that easy, they would already do it. And so it’s less about having an answer for this person, but more going back to that asking questions piece of like, what things are you noticing that are the biggest barriers to accomplishing things? And, you know, you’re just eliciting really good conversation back and forth rather than just telling them what to do. So that would be give advice, but know that you’re doing it in a way that they are thinking for themselves and coming to that conclusion also.
And then the last piece that I would just say, we see it up there, it says, be careful of dependency. So this is a really tricky one because what can happen when we move into a place of giving advice is sometimes, our advice is really good. Like we are really good at having the right answer, and we encourage this person to do this, and they do it and it’s successful. And then they’re like, oh, wow, Isaac is so smart. I need to go back. I have this problem coming up now. I’m gonna go get his advice and then do what he says in this area. And then what happens is the person isn’t generalizing the skill there. They’re just coming to you for constant advice and doing.
And so I think that that’s the piece that you just wanna be aware of. I think the question can be, is it avoidable? Like how do we know if the person is gonna become dependent on us or not? My advice there is just to watch for it. And then when you notice that like, it feels like questions are increasing or you’re worried about this piece, it’s good to, I think you can feel free to address it with the person. You probably have the right relationship in place with them, but you also can just move back to that place of like, how can I turn this question back to them so that they can figure out a solution and an answer and I can just support them in it. I think those are just some good things to be mindful of in this category.
Yeah. And I love that idea of helping them to come up with a solution themselves. And it’s almost so that cliche or proverb, you know, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish, feed him for a lifetime. And also knowing that there will probably be times where the individual you lead come up with their own resolution. You’re avoiding dependency, but maybe they come up with a resolution that’s different than where you would’ve perhaps landed, but still being there to support them, however that turns out. And then guiding them back through, that becomes a teachable opportunity in and of itself for you to work through, okay, so something happened there, what was it?
You know, reflect upon that and then you can continue moving forward. So I think it just seems like it’s, as you describe it, it doesn’t seem like a quick fix. It doesn’t seem like things are going to necessarily progress super quickly and resolving perhaps certain issues, but that slow expectant and consistent relationship, I think, is important in allowing people to come up with their own resolutions and to avoid that dependency. Are there other issues to dependency or other dangers of that that we need to be aware of, Kathy?And maybe you’ve already spoken to this enough, but how would somebody know when dependency has happened and where do you go from there? Oh, man. Okay. Someone keeps coming to me, so something needs to change. How do we deal with those sort of situations?
So my guess would be that if you feel like you are in a relationship right now, a mentor-mentee relationship, or some kind of other relationship that you’re wondering is dependency present? I would say that you’re probably noticing that because of a certain feeling that is there. And I think sometimes we just know this doesn’t feel quite right and we start to wonder like, should I be doing something differently? So I think just that awareness piece is we sometimes can just get that and kind of go with that feeling.
But I would also say the other, I think, just the feeling piece that I would be talking about there too is sometimes when we’re feeling like really burdened or burned out with someone, you just kind of feel like you’re being sucked dry cuz there’s always something else that’s coming up or there’s always a need and think you care. I mean, unless you care about this person quite a bit and you wanna stay present with them, but it also is just getting to that overwhelmed piece. And so, I think just pay attention to that and probably the best thing there is to, I know we already talked about that piece of like kind of handing some of it back, asking questions differently, setting good boundaries for yourself. Those would be just some of the top things there I recommend.
Thanks, Kathy, for that. One thing that I thought might fit into this quadrant for us as well before we move on to the next one. There was actually a question that was submitted by one of the participants in the webinar and it was, how might you know when you’ve developed a relationship that’s strong enough to speak or to offer advice rather than just listening? Does that fit into this quadrant as well?
And I think that that’s also, if we just go back to our word of like tension to manage a little bit. I think that that’s always the question too. Not only like is it okay to give advice, but like, is our relationship in an okay place and I don’t wanna do anything to hurt the relationship. I think that that’s the fears that are there. This answer is maybe not gonna sound super helpful, but I think what I, just as a counselor, it’s something that I am just always having to be really mindful of. Like, we use the word like, do we feel joined or is the therapeutic relationship joined?
And so I’m always trying to make sure that there is a healthy relationship there, and I think you just know when it is. Which I know is not a super helpful answer to that question, but you kind of know, and I think some of the signs there is you can see that the person is quick to interact with you. You notice that they just relax a little bit when you’re with them. It doesn’t feel like you maybe don’t feel as exhausted after the interaction or the meeting cuz you’re not carrying all the conversation yourself. All of those I think, are good indications of like, well, they’re still coming to you, they’re still present, they’re still interacting with you. I think those are all really good indications of like, they trust you and there’s a relationship there.
Yeah. Well, and so I think you just mentioned those markers. There are those signposts that we can pay attention to. Is there an increase in openness and vulnerability with this person? Do they continue to come back to me? That definitely speaks to that relationship is strong enough now for me to perhaps begin offering more advice or speaking a little more in it. And also just the really easy entrance into it of just sometimes it’s just helpful to actually start by asking permission. Hey, can, you know, that sounds really hard. You know, what I’m hearing you say? Is this right? The listening as aspect of it. And then, is it okay for me to give some advice right now? That’s another way to just enter into that and to feel out maybe where that relationship is.
Yeah, absolutely. So, let’s move into the next quadrant now where advice is not necessarily needed, but they’re still wanting that advice. So, perhaps this is somebody who’s doing pretty well, an active plan for consistent growth in the Lord. Relationships seem to be in a healthy place, but maybe she’s feeling really anxious or she doesn’t feel like she’s sufficiently prepared to handle the things that life throws at her or what it might throw at her. So she’s frequently asking her mentor for insights or instruction on what to do next. How do we work with that sort of individual, Kathy?
So if we go back to the stages of change piece, I would say that in my mind, if they’re in a place where advice is not actually needed, they’re probably in that action phase. And maybe kind of glancing at the maintenance phase of things. And so they’ve learned some skills. They’ve made some changes, and now this individual is moving forward. And you just labeled that well of like, but there’s still some maybe anxiety there or one of the things that I would label in this is I would actually have you just change the word a little bit of like, advice is not needed and I don’t know as though this individual is actually wanting advice, but I think sometimes it comes down to they’re wanting reassurance or they’re wanting permission to follow through with what the plan was or follow through with the goal.
And so here’s an example that comes to mind when I think about this of somebody that really isn’t needing my advice on something, but they’re asking. Just a classic example of like maybe an individual who tends to maybe be in a people pleasing, always worried about what somebody is thinking. And they have done a lot of good work in setting good boundaries with that. And, they’ve committed to following more of their values in life rather than just going with what they feel other people are pressuring them to do. And so maybe a situation that would come up is this individual is in a place where they are being asked to attend something on Friday night, and there’s a lot of pressure of like, we want you there, we need you there. It would be great if you were there, but say this person is a mom and she’s already committed to like a Friday night family night with her family at home. And so there’s this tension there of like, my bent is is people pleasing. I feel like I need to step in and do this, and yet I really wanna maintain my boundary.
And so sometimes I think the questions that come in this category is like, what would you do in this situation? Or how should I handle this? And so I think in that they don’t actually need your advice. They already know the right answer, but it’s about where that asking good questions comes back in. Or, the other way I would maybe say that is just being able to reflect back to them statements like, while this does sound like it’s really hard, it looks like you’re trying to maintain your boundaries which is something you’ve worked hard on, or it sounds like you already had your plans made on Friday.
Sometimes just short little sentences like that, it gives them just the reassurance and permission to do what they already know that they should be doing. And that can be generalized to a lot of different areas there. And so with that, I mean, we have up there that listen for resources that they have in history of the situation. This may already be things that are known to you. And so it’s kind of reminding yourself of that and reminding them of that and just being a good listener and being there present with them again. And not feeling like you have to rescue or give advice in this area is important.
What sort of resources or supports might somebody in this stage want to have in their life? Yeah, so I would say resources, just even personal resources of like what they’ve accomplished in the past, how they have been successful. This can be also that ability, if we think about it from a spiritual aspect of like, just even reminding them of like, have you prayed about this?
Like, what, what do you think about it from that perspective? Like helping them tap into those sort of resources they have. And then also, just even other people that are in their life or other people that they can seek some counsel from or talk to and that sort of thing.
That should be good. As I’m thinking through this and we talk about being a good listener. I think that would that also go beyond just listening to what the words that they’re telling us or the stories they’re telling us? I’m thinking of like the non-verbal cues, Kathy, what are some like non-verbal cues that might help us to identify somebody who might just be in a place where they’re needing this reassurance that you’re talking about needing that permission, so to speak.
So I really like that piece of like, listen not just to the words, but the non-verbal piece. And so I think with that is we’re probably in a place with this individual where we have watched them over a period of time and we know like what their tendencies are and that sort of thing. And so just, I guess what comes to mind here is just that piece of just like watching for signs that they’re moving in a backwards direction. So like if say that there’s been like a resurgence of anxiety in this individual, or if maybe the choices that they’re making is with a crowd that you guys have already kind of worked through, stepping away from or that sort of thing. The advice of why are you doing this? Or why are you back engaging in this thing? I don’t know if that’s super helpful on this, but it’s that I’m noticing that this is happening and so just watching and being aware of things I think can be really helpful here.
Can I just jump on that for a minute? This situation where there’s somebody you’ve already worked through something with them. They know the right answers, but they just keep doing the same thing over and over again, perhaps expecting different results, right? They just keep falling into those same harmful patterns. How do you counsel somebody through that stage where they’re really, you have all the information you need. Those resources and supports are are there for you, but you just don’t seem to be accessing them.
Yeah, and this is where we can kind of come to a place of feeling stuck for sure. And I would say that it’s possible that their level of motivation has changed. And so that if we think about it, they might not be as much in the action stage, but maybe have backed up a little bit. And they’re not in a place where they have the desire or motivation. And so that’s one of the barriers to them not following through. But then also, I would just say, it’s also a really good time to let yourself dig a little bit deeper with this person and just ask, I know I keep saying this, but just ask really good questions, like this ability to say, like, I’m noticing, tell me more about this.
Because you wanna be listening for maybe something has come up for them that is really difficult that they haven’t shared with you yet, or maybe there’s something coming up in the future that they’re really anxious about. And so you’re listening for some of those themes to come up in situations like this.
Yeah. And I appreciate this, the idea of the questioning being such an important part of this, Kathy, that you do keep bringing up. Rightly so. Because it’s in interacting in this way, the importance of doing that in a non-condemning non-confrontational sort of way, I think is key in order to keep someone with you, for them to know that you’re still on their team and you’re wanting to do this with someone rather than just perhaps hammering ’em down for whatever failure you perceived to be there. So I think that’s really good and important that you keep hitting on that.
Well, let’s go into the final quadrant here, Kathy, if we’re ready for that. So this is where advice is not needed, and it’s also not wanted. And, while that can sound perhaps negative, we don’t mean it that way, perhaps it’s actually a really positive thing. So, that somebody’s not seeking your advice in everything. So this is perhaps somebody who’s developed into the type of person who’s functioning well in the Kingdom of Heaven where they are, his relationship with the Holy Spirit and his church community. He’s strong and he is not constantly depending on other people’s directions. So, what sort of role do we have to play with somebody in this quadrant, in this stage? I would agree with you, Isaac. I definitely would not see this as a negative place for somebody to be that, you know, if we are in a place in life where we’re doing fairly well, unsolicited advice is not wanted, and that’s okay.
Like, it doesn’t need to be present there. So I would say if you are thinking about this from a mentoring perspective, what you want to do in this place is acknowledge maybe this shift or just acknowledge the healthy place that you’re seeing this individual in. And then I think that it deserves a conversation around what’s next? And that is that piece of mentoring relationships do well with goals. And so if you are, goals are probably met at this point, if this is where somebody is. And so it’s reassigning goals and determining need for relationship.
So in a counseling setting, this is where we would move to termination of services. But I would say in a mentoring relationship or a friendship or that sort of thing, I’m not even recommending that. It’s like, okay, check the box, I’m out. That’s not what you want in this situation because we all go through seasons of life, and I think a mentor being able to stick with somebody through over different seasons. Here’s gonna be times that somebody kind of cycles back to a different place in these quadrants. And so being a consistent person with them is really important. Relationship just looks different though. Maybe less frequent interactions, less frequent texting or meetings or that sort of thing. But still just a healthy presence with them I think is important.
And I love under the understanding of these as seasons that people can move in and out of and have maybe there is a bleeding of one to another that you would experience from time to time. I think that’s an important concept for us to realize too. And it’s not always going to be clean. It’s not super tidy as this matrix perhaps presents it. But being able to understand it, remaining present over time, being consistent. And yes, it will look different ways perhaps in different seasons. But another season will come again, then the next season will come and so, yeah we appreciate that point.
Where we talked about considering role expectations at this point, there’s another question that somebody had written in before the webinar, and it was, how can I determine the truthfulness of a mentee? And I wonder, Kathy, if that’s connected somehow to understanding our role with a mentee. And this doesn’t necessarily even fit within a particular quadrant, but it’s something that has to do with understanding our role. I think. So can you speak to that? How can I determine the truthfulness of a mentee? Is that a question that we should be asking?
Yeah. So this is a question. So if you feel like you’re in a relationship where there is not truth being given, it feels like maybe stories are a little bit stretched or it’s just really hard to kind of wrap your mind around what’s being said. This can be a really hard place for a mentor to be because there’s this constant kind of tension of like, I’m spending this time and it feels like this isn’t completely true or I’m seeing evidence of other things. I would say with this, if we look at it through the lens of consider your role expectations, what I’m about to say is really hard cuz nobody wants to feel like they’re in a place of not having the truth told to them.
But I would say, determine if that’s your role, if that’s your goal. Like the goals that have been laid out. So if this person has a goal in an area of like, oh, I can’t think of one on the spot right now, but let’s just say like increasing in a certain skill of some kind. I think it’s okay to let yourself just be focused on that with this individual rather than being in a place of trying to constantly manage like, this isn’t adding up or this isn’t adding up. I think if it’s getting in the way of helping, you wanna turn your attention back to strength of the relationship and that you do have permission to ask questions. So like, you told me this and yet I also know this, so help me understand how these two things are different. Like, it’s okay to step in and ask if that is your role or if that helps meet goals in that.
Yeah, and I love that again, just in a non-condemning way, being able to ask those sort of questions. And there also seems to be then this amount of work that might need to be done if it hadn’t been done already in that relationship to really define or even redefine the goals of your meetings, of your time together. So yeah, just going through that process of what specifically are we getting together to work on, to work through. That’s great. Kathy, anything else that you wanted to say on this quadrant? Nope. I think that’s good.
So I just wanted to remind the registrants we just have a couple slides left. Please submit your questions through the chat feature if they haven’t been answered up to this point and we’ll try to get to those at the end of the presentation here. We probably don’t need to say too much, Kathy, about the person who takes advice really well, but what do we do about the person who just doesn’t take advice well or in perhaps a chronic sort of situation where that’s a recurring problem.
Yeah, so I would say that this is another one of those. If we think back to the first quadrant we talked about somebody needs it but doesn’t want it. It’s a really difficult place to be. And I would say that this is another situation like that. And so maybe if we think about it like this unwillingness to take advice, we maybe wanna put people in this category to frame our thinking around this slide of like the person that needs advice and wants advice.
So they definitely have a need for it, and they’re definitely asking for some help and advice, but then they’re not taking it. We maybe talk with them about option A and B and they’re always taking option C that you didn’t even know existed. Here’s the picture I get in my mind when I think about this. So I want you to think about just kids and how many times that you tell a kid like, don’t touch a hot stove, or don’t crawl up on the counter and try to reach something off the top shelf or don’t run, it’s slippery, and they do it anyway and then they’re hurt and you told them not to do it, to prevent them getting hurt, but they do it and they get hurt and then they come to you crying.
And it’s so tempting in this place to be like, I told you not to do that. See, this is what happens when you don’t listen. And I think us as mentors it can be really tempting to get to this place of like, I warned you and you didn’t listen. Now you have to face the consequences. And I would just actually encourage you, and this is easier said than done, but I would encourage you to flip that script a little bit and acknowledge that, you know, that kid is running back to its parent because that parent is a safe person for them, and they know that that parent knows how to help them through the injury that they just had.
And so I think you wanna have that mindset here as a mentor of like, yes, they did not take your advice. They went down a very different path, that you already knew and you guys had already discussed wasn’t helpful, but they came back to you to talk about it and to get more help and support in it. And so I think that if you can think about it through that piece of it, it doesn’t make it any less frustrating, but you do know that you have been in a place of you’ve did your work, you’ve built the relationship, you’ve built some structure there, and then there’s always the ability to influence positively or try again.
So I think that when we’re working with people that just are unwilling to take the advice, just think about it through that lens and then we’ve said this multiple times, but it just is so important. This piece of like one being, I guess we didn’t label this one on here, but I think that you need to make sure that you don’t feel like you’re the only person helping in the situation. So it’s okay to encourage the person to reach out for others for support or get others on board. And then also that you’re doing good self-care and boundaries for yourself.
You will run into burnout and compassion fatigue if you’re not doing these things. And then you’re not helpful in this role or other roles in life. So just making sure that you’re doing those things in situations like this. And then, I would say, if we look over to the right of this slide, Isaac, I think that we’ve definitely already said this, but I think at this point too, you do have permission to just state the obvious here. Not in a shaking your finger like I told you so type way, but just this like, can you just help me understand what happened here? I’m confused. Or what led you to make that decision? Or what did you learn from this experience? You know, that ability to get a little bit more bold as these situations come up and then with the overarching piece of like, I care for you and I’m here for you kind of type mindset.
That putting it into question form is a great way, I think to gently address patterns like this, I think as you’re saying, Kathy. I’m looking at the time and we’re coming to the top of the hour soon. Was there anything that you wanted to add Kathy, here that hasn’t been said yet? Excellent material so far. I just wanted to turn people’s attention to some other resources related to the things that we’re talking about today. Some other mentor resources up on our website. So, this handout or this handout of this presentation will be available on our website.
You can just search for mentor webinars and find it there and you’ll find some other webinars that we’ve recorded in the past, Mentoring by Example, Stages of Change webinar, which is what we just addressed at the beginning of this and that Kathy referenced throughout. It just goes into a lot more depth on that, ideas that could be really helpful. Sharing Negative Feedback webinar, how to do that well with a mentee. So those are webinar styles like this.
And then we have just other Mentor skills, resources, guidelines for effective listening, influencing skills, we talked about that earlier, and mentoring skills training videos that you can find on our website as well if you’re interested in going a little bit deeper in your mentor relationships.
So I don’t have any chat or other questions that came through, I don’t think. If you have anything, we’ve got just a couple minutes here, either chat that in, and I should have mentioned this earlier. Matt Kaufman is monitoring all of that while Kathy and I have been talking, so if something has come in, Matt might have that ready to go.
Otherwise you’re free to. Oh, here’s a chat. Oh, thank you, Evie. You’re free to unmute yourself at this time as well if you have a question that you’d like to ask at this time.
I did have a question quick. I just can’t type it fast enough, so I was afraid I’d get cut off. Yeah, go ahead. Ideas on encouraging someone who is a self-proclaimed introvert, can’t handle people, I’m her best friend. How do you encourage someone to pursue other relationships when interpersonal stuff honestly is really hard for them. I would love to avoid the compassion fatigue. But I don’t always know how to encourage her to pursue other people, finding those other resources and supports. Kathy, how would you deal with that?
So, I guess where my mind initially goes to is helping this individual understand, so when you said that this piece of like a self-proclaimed introvert, I think what can be really helpful with that is understand, maybe doing some work and understanding of like, what does it mean to be introverted versus what does it not mean?
And I think just defining that well is helpful because then you can see, so yes, somebody that tends towards introversion is going to react very different than somebody who tends towards extroversion. But if they have that well defined of what it is and what it isn’t, maybe some of the other things that are going on are actually not a result of that.
So I would say maybe there’s some social anxiety present or maybe just needing some help like how do I initiate conversation and that sort of thing. And so being able to build resources and get good research or readings down would be one place there. And then the other place of going back to probably my standard statement in this webinar of like just being able to ask really good questions of like times in the past they feel like things have been different or times they’ve navigated relationships different in the past to build on some of the resources that they might have but not be aware of. Those would be just some of my initial thoughts there.
That’s excellent, Kathy. Thank you. And thank you for sharing that question as well. I wish we had time for more, but we are just past the hour and I want to respect everyone’s time. Thank you so much for being with us today to talk about this important topic and mentoring do I give advice or do I just listen? This recording will be available online afterwards as well if you’d like to go back and reference it along with a handout of this PowerPoint presentation. Thank you. Yes, thanks.