Practitioners are expected to communicate messages, results and issues, clearly and on a regular basis. It is often assumed that if professionals do not meet these expectations, they are not performing. Communication takes place at a quick pace and practitioners are expected to react rapidly.
As an advisor, you need to become an excellent strategic or active listener. Advisors need to seek to learn as much about the situation or the context as possible. This does not imply that advisors have to remain quiet and let their counterpart continue discussions as he or she sees fit. Indeed, active listening requires you to ask probing questions, which will enable you to make an educated assessment of the situation, based on the information you have received and your own professional experience.
As a rule, the advisor should speak to multiple sources in order to obtain a full picture and comprehensive understanding of the situation. As a result, you may hear contradictory opinions on the same situation. This does not mean that your interlocutor is right or wrong. Rather, it highlights the existence of different perspectives or interests. Understanding the reasons behind these diverging opinions, their history, and the issues at stake will give you a better understanding of the situation, and help you to offer more effective and relevant advice.
As in other professions, there are some pitfalls that need to be avoided as an advisor. Being aware of them will enable you to identify the issue when it arises and seek appropriate action.