Technical Note | HBS Case Collection | June 2014

A Note on Seeking, Receiving, and Giving Advice

by David A. Garvin and Joshua D. Margolis


This note examines the processes of seeking, receiving, and giving advice by drawing on both academic research and the lessons of skilled practitioners. It begins with a discussion of the potential benefits and costs of advice-seeking and advice-giving. The note then defines and distinguishes four related activities: advising, counseling, coaching and mentoring. Next, it describes the primary stages or steps in the advising process; each stage is examined from the perspective of both advice-seekers and advice-givers. The note concludes with recommendations for practice, listing a number of pitfalls to avoid when seeking, receiving, and giving advice as well as several guidelines and best practices.

Keywords: advice taking; coaching; decision-making; leadership; management skills; Leadership; Interpersonal Communication; Personal Development and Career; Management Skills;


Garvin, David A., and Joshua D. Margolis. "A Note on Seeking, Receiving, and Giving Advice." Harvard Business School Technical Note 314-071, June 2014.