I read this a few years back but it stuck in my mind that „you have two ears and one mouth for a reason – you should be listening more than talking” – funny, but true – the more you listen the better your picture can get about your client’s life, situation, struggles and desires. The more you listen, the more you learn. The more you learn, the better advice you can give.
You must be able to place yourself in the other person’s shoes. Don’t engage yourself too much, however, you must set limits, you must find your comfort zone where you can be a good, emphatic listener without damaging yourself aka don’t let others’ problems become your problem. Instead, you must observe the problems with the other person’s perspective and think what you would do if you were in their situation – don’t give advice that worked for your situation but try to give suggestions suitable for THEIR circumstances. Always avoid comparing the person’s experiences to your own – the easiest approach to „cure” a problem that you also had is to mention what worked for you but most cases it doesn’t work simply because of the different life circumstances.
You may have very similar situations in your life, for example, 3 kids, a dog and a workaholic husband but if your kids are early risers and your client’s are evening types but she has to take the dog for a walk in the morning, your suggested daily schedule won’t work for her.
Be flexible with your advice and ask, ask, ask and ask. Ask your friends, clients, read blogs and be open to others’ life stories and tips how they can fit the healthy lifestyle into their days. If you hear a tip, write it down even if you think it would never ever work for you because it may be the perfect solution for one of your future clients.