Skip to content

No. 42 – Advocate vs. Nonadvocate Approaches

September 28, 2011

Whenever you communicate, you will function and be perceived as either an “advocate” for a particular view, position, or outcome; or as a “nonadvocate,” meaning you are neutral to any particular view as far as imposing your position on others. As a technical expert, manager, or parent, most of the time you are communicating as an advocate, especially when you see yourself as the responsible person for providing “the answers” that others need. Whenever you provide answers or conclusions you are advocating a particular position.

As an advocate you have three possible approaches: 1. Telling, 2. Selling, or 3. Positioning. With the “telling” approach, you outline the problem for your audience and then you present your answer or solution along with pertinent supporting information. You do the same thing in the “selling” mode, but you put a deadline or ultimatum on the problem resolution to not only get the audience to accept your decision, but to get them to act within a certain time. In the “positioning” approach, you do not directly tell the audience your answers, but you “position” your desired answer to be discovered by the audience as the intelligent and enlightened answer.

As a nonadvocate communicator the only approach you can take is “positioning.” The difference, however, is that as a nonadvocate. Your role is to position a variety of options for consideration by your audience to enable them to arrive at their own answers. You act as a resource, coach, counselor, devil’s advocate, facilitator, or process coordinator to assist your audience in coming to a resolution that serves the best interests of all.

You Help Your Audience Explore Ways to Deal With Their Problems
and Enable Them to Achieve Their Desired Goals

You also help your audience establish criteria for their problem resolution, such that they will have confidence in their decision process. You keep the responsibility for solving problems with your audience and coach them in developing problem solving skills.

It is not easy to play the role of nonadvocate facilitator when you have a vested interest in the problem resolution. You have to trust that others have the right, responsibility, and capacity to arrive at the best answers for themselves. Their answers may not be your answers, but they will have a commitment to their own answers far exceeding anything you could ask for.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment or Post a Question

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: