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Dr. G. & Friends  |  

Your Advice Isn’t Helping

Some time ago someone sent me an e-mail asking for advice on a matter.

I wrote back saying, “I don’t give advice,” though I did provide some resources related to the question.

Later, this person asked me to explain what I meant when I said I don’t give advice, especially given that he knew I did consulting work.

“Isn’t that what consultants do?” he asked.


Some time ago at a conference, I dealt with the concept of over-functioning-under-functioning reciprocity.

At one point I gave a list of examples of over-functioning.

One example was, “Advice giving.”

Not surprising from a group in the helping profession, this point generated a lot of questions and discussion.

Since many were “experts” who were sought out for their advice, this news was troubling.

Participants wanted to know why giving advice was over-functioning.


Overfunctioning promotes irresponsibility and dependence.

While advice-giving may seem like a helpful act, ultimately it is counter-effective.

Here are some reasons why:











There are more helpful strategies for helping than giving advice. Here are some:











Opportunities at The Center for Lifelong Learning to learn more about conflict and leadership:


Israel Galindo is Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning at the Columbia Theological Seminary. He directs the Pastoral Excellence Program at Columbia seminary. He is the author of the bestseller, The Hidden Lives of Congregations (Alban), Perspectives on Congregational Leadership (Educational Consultants), and A Family Genogram Workbook (Educational Consultants), with Elaine Boomer & Don Reagan, and Leadership in Ministry: Bowen Theory in the Congregational Context.

His books on education include Mastering the Art of Instruction,The Craft of Christian Teaching (Judson), How to be the Best Christian Study Group Leader (Judson), and Planning for Christian Education Formation (Chalice Press).

Galindo contributes to the Wabash Center’s blog for theological school deans and to its teaching and learning blogs.

Dr. G. & Friends