Geef vooral geen advies

Onlangs stond er in de Volkskrant een boeiend interview. Met psycholoog Huub Buijssen, die een gespreksmethode ontwikkelde om vooral geen advies te geven en daar een boek over schreef. Een benadering die prikkelt: vooral géén advies geven. Maar ja, dacht ik daarna, hoe zit dat dan met mij als organisatie ‘adviseur’?

De kern van de benadering van Buijssen is om mensen zelf een oplossing te laten bedenken voor hun probleem. Het kiezen van een oplossing van een probleem is een emotioneel en geen rationeel proces. Het raakt aan gevoelens, aan waarden van iemand. En als buitenstaander weet je nooit precies wat er dan bij iemand gebeurt, laat staan dat je weet welk risico iemand wil lopen. En daarom kun je eigenlijk geen passend advies geven.

Én het is de reden dat we advies van anderen slechts zelden opvolgen. Trouwens ook, omdat het vervelend is om te horen dat een ander het beter weet of dat van zichzelf vindt. Mede omdat die blijkbaar wel moed, vaardigheden, kennis heeft om eruit te komen en wij blijkbaar niet. Of dat laatste dan weer echt het geval is, tja, dat is ook weer onduidelijk.

Daarin zijn direct de parallellen zichtbaar met het werk van een organisatieadviseur. Het klassieke voorbeeld is het adviesrapport dat onder in de la verdwijnt. Om wat voor reden dan ook. Iedere organisatieadviseur heeft het wel eens meegemaakt. Het lijkt zo logisch allemaal, en toch gebeurt er niets of te weinig met het ‘advies’.

Zelf ben ik niet zo van de adviesrapporten en grote plannen, waarin door iemand anders voor anderen tot in detail is uitgewerkt wat er moet gebeuren, wanneer, waarom, door wie, voor welke bedragen, etc. Echt SMART-werken is dan ook niet zo aan mij besteed.  Liever trek ik een tijd met een opdrachtgever op om al werkendeweg aan de slag te gaan met de ontwikkeling van zijn of haar organisatie of team. En uiteraard hoort daar ook persoonlijke ontwikkeling bij. Eigenlijk zijn daar maar weinig klassiek ‘advies’ en uitspraken als ‘weet je wat jij zou moeten doen….’ bij.

Wat zegt Buijssen dan over hoe hij wel vindt dat de anderen toch verder kunt helpen, maar vooral geen advies geeft. In zijn ogen ligt de kern bij een heldere probleemdefinitie (wat is eigenlijk je grootste probleem?), waarna er een handvat ontstaat om er aan te werken (wat zou je het liefst aan dat probleem gaan doen?). Zes tips van zijn hand:

  • Wees een spiegel en laat de ander zijn of haar verhaal vertellen
  • Laat de ander een eigen diagnose stellen, zonder te sturen. Wat is het probleem?
  • Schenk kort aandacht aan de emoties rond het probleem. Alleen hevige emoties zetten aan tot echte verandering, anders blijft iemand hangen in gemopper en geklaag.
  • Help om de favoriete oplossing te formuleren: wat wil iemand zelf doen om in actie te komen?
  • Zoek uit of die oplossing haalbaar is: ook dat moet iemand zelf verkennen en herkennen.
  • Stippel de reis uit: via de route en de obstakels ontstaat er zicht op wat er gaat gebeuren.

Wat mij betreft: zeer herkenbaar en bruikbaar in de ‘advies’ praktijk. Ik ga de komende tijd vooral geen advies geven!

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