10 Things to do when people bring you their problems

1. Empathize with hurt feelings.

2. Reflect a genuine concern.

3. Offer a summary of the problem as you see it.

4. Be slow to give advice. Let the other person come to the best decisions themselves whenever possible.

5. Distinguish between causes and symptoms.

6. Keep confidences.

7. Wisely use questions. Especially open-ended and indirect questions. Use “why” sparingly.

8. Watch your body language.

9. Be willing to refer the person to someone else more qualified when the problem is beyond your abilities or knowledge.

10. Ask the person how he or she is doing a few days later. Let the person know you haven’t forgotten about them and you care. Their situation is important to you.

Stephen Goforth