Grand Heron International

Close this search box.
Dave Walker - Coach at Grand Heron International

Dave Walker

Stop SHOULDING on me Please!

There is a difference between advice giving and coaching. Allow me to explain.

If I got 25 cents for everyone who has told me how I SHOULD run my business I would be quite wealthy. If I got 25 cents for everyone who asked me how I would LIKE to run my business, I would be quite poor.

Most of them meant well, but for the most part, they ended up telling me what they thought I SHOULD do, which was, more often than not, based on what they WOULD do.  It has gotten to the point now that I cringe every time that I hear the word SHOULD.

Apparently, it’s not just me who is being SHOULD upon!

In his book  MEN ARE FROM MARS, Women Are from Venus, John Gray shares his take on the “two biggest mistakes that we make in relating to the opposite sex: men mistakenly offer solutions and invalidate feelings while women offer unsolicited advice and direction”.

Offering solutions. Sounds similar to telling someone what they SHOULD do!

Offering unsolicited advice. Sounds similar to telling someone what they SHOULD do!

Both guys and gals, it does not sound like anyone wants to be told what they SHOULD do!

What about you? Do you like getting SHOULD upon? I’ll bet you don’t, but what can you do? You can shift your mindset from an advice giver to a coach and you can start now!

Stop giving advice and start Coaching!

I have recently (yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks 😊) become a big fan of coaching because not SHOULDING on people is a key part of that process.

A coaching approach does not include telling people what they SHOULD do! If someone is providing you with advice (a.k.a. what you SHOULD do) then they are not Coaching you, despite what they might claim.

Coaching is about helping the other person come up with what is best for them and is based on what they WANT to do and not what you think they SHOULD do. It is all about asking versus telling. Asking questions. Listening. Challenging. Acknowledging. Allowing people time to process their own thoughts and come to their own conclusions and decisions.

That is the theory. Easier said than done. It is like we are programmed to provide advice. It has taken me a while to shift my mindset from one of advising to one of coaching and I have to be ever vigilant so as not to allow that SHOULDING urge to resurface, whether it be with my coaching clients, friends, children and/or girlfriend.

Is it time to Tame YOUR Advice Monster?

Michael Bungay Stanier, in his book The Coaching Habit Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever, refers to this urge to tell others what they SHOULD be doing as our “Advice Monster”. In it, he states that “we’ve all got a deeply ingrained habit of slipping into the advice-giver/expert/answer-it/solve-it/fix-it mode”.

A habit and an “ingrained” one at that are often hard to change. Yikes! No wonder so many people are SHOULDING on me. No wonder that I can so easily slip back into SHOULDING on others if I am not careful.

Are you ready to make a change to your habit?

Want to increase your chances of helping someone become more successful at something that they want to do with their lives?

So next time you have the urge to tell someone what they SHOULD do, Don’t! Bite your tongue and instead, use some coaching on them. Listen to them. Question them. Challenge them. Give them time to arrive at their own conclusions and ideas of ways to move forward.

Help them find a path forward that is a fit for them. The unique them. Not you!

About Dave Walker

Dave Walker is an ICF Accredited Career and Life Coach, Published Author, Leadership Facilitator, Blogger and Professional Speaker. He has twenty years of experience working for one of the world’s largest professional services firms in roles that have provided him with a unique understanding of the Corporate workplace.

Dave’s catalyst for becoming a Coach was his own experience, undergoing a life altering self-transformation. Today, the REAL Dave shares his journey and lessons learned in his book “MONDAYS don’t have to SUCK!”.

Dave’s modus operandi is to “Play to YOUR YOU!”.

Learn more about Dave Walker at

Reach out him at

Book available on Amazon.