Your friend calls or texts you and clearly is going through a rotten experience. They describe their emotional pain and are looking to you for some comfort. How can you coach your friend through this?

  1. Probe for their primary need. Ask open-ended questions that draw out the root of the problem, not just the uncomfortable symptom they are currently experiencing.
  2. Actively listen. Using your locked-and-loaded eye contact and receptive body language, stay attentive to both what they are saying and what is between the lines.
  3. Validate their feelings. Whether you agree or disagree with their statements is irrelevant. Hold back advice, and paraphrase back to them what you’ve heard, with a tone of empathy.
  4. Ask about their next action step. Your hope is to vault them forward, out of the stuck-ness they are in, in the direction of what their preferred outcome can be. If they are unsure of that step, help them brainstorm potential solutions and their most likely consequences.
  5. Check in on how they feel about their course of action. Do they believe it is doable? Getting them closer to their goals? In need of a resource to make it happen? The timing is right?
  6. Ask for permission to hold them accountable. Often without your checking back in at a set date and re-building their courage/resolve, nothing will happen. However, WITH your support/encouragement, their life might change for the better!

This is the time to be a true friend—when the chips are down and life isn’t rosy. Using these principles of coaching can begin your friend’s first steps toward Growing Forward.  Contact Paul D. Casey on LinkedIn or Growing Forward Services on Facebook to get more leadership and self-leadership tips.