How to Get Help from Someone Else?

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Coaching > Best Practices > How to Get Help from Someone Else?

How to Get Help from Someone Else?
Roland van der Leede, Manager, Netherlands, Member
Most people are a bit reluctant to ask for help, especially in the work environment. That is because we feel uncertain, are afraid to be rejected, or fear for diminished status.
Heidi Grant argues that asking for help is an important skill in modern organizations. So we should get over our reluctance to ask for assistance.

For that the following interesting psychological approach can be helpful. It uses 4 clues to make the helper feel good about him/herself for helping you:
  1. Make the helper REALIZE you need help. Say: "I have a problem and need your help".
  2. Make the helper BELIEVE that you want help. Make the helper see you want help from her and don't want to go it alone.
  3. Make the helper take RESPONSIBILITY for helping. So you'd better ask her personal and in private.
  4. Ensure the helper is actually ABLE to provide the help you need. Be specific about what you need. She must have the skills / resources.
Source: Heidi Grant, "How to Get the help you Need: People are Surprisingly Willing to Give Support - If you Ask for It in the Right Way", HBR May-Jun 2018, pp.142-145

Be Humble When Asking Help
Javier Elenes, Business Consultant, Mexico, Member
In my opinion the key words when you’re asking someone to help you are: BE HUMBLE
By the way you should also be humble when you PROVIDE the help.
I learned this in a business trip when I visited a plant in Tokio which works with the same engine technology. They have a new materials technology, and we have a better manufacturing technology and we wanted to exchange these technolgies.
In a first meeting with a second level in the Japanese organization, I asked an advise about how I should talk with his President and he told me: "be humble".

Trust is Also at the Base when Asking for Help
Jimmy Cheng-Wei, Management Consultant, Taiwan, Member
My experience is that people need to establish a trust relationship in their first meeting(s), and the establishment of trust is related to the environment or background when they meet. For example when there is less relevance to each other, establishing trust takes more time.
Being humble is also necessary, because an arrogant demand for help will immediately undermine the weak trust relationship that is being established.

Belief in Receptiveness from the Helper is Necessary when Asking for Help
Mallika T R, Manager, India, Member
Fundamentally, belief by the individuals seeking help, that they will not be rejected by the helper and she/he is receptive to the needs of the individual asking for help is what puts them at ease.
If this belief is lacking in persons asking for help, then they will be very reluctant to ask anyone for help. Wether the helper is a colleague, boss, senior or a coach is immaterial. The belief in receptiveness of the helper is necessary.

Conditions to Obtain Help
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
Thanks Javier, Jimmy and Mallika for your very good remarks… I agree that
- being humble,
- establishing some level of trust, and
- receptiveness of the helper
are conditions that are needed or at least recommendable to successfully establish a helping relationship.
I think the 4 practical clues from Heidi Grant (shared by Roland) can come in handy to create these 3 conditions.

Daring to Ask for Help
Pierre-Boris Kalitventzeff, Coach, Belgium, Member
For me, it all starts with DARING TO ASK. You need to dare to look at anything that you would not like to look like by asking for help: weak, powerless, dependent, etc.
But actually, asking for help is an act of POWER.
Yesterday my wife said to me: "The dash bin is still outside."
I had my pajama on. She had not asked for anything before.
Usually, what I do is just to go with the flow and witness where the "asker" is. In this case, I would have said: "oh yes, you are right, the dash bin is outside."
Because there is no such a thing as a request.
Asking for help is an act of leadership.
It starts with power, with affirmation, with intention, with acceptance (anything like "I might disturb", "he might say no", "I will look like I'm..." (see above).
Then the form will follow.
Imagine you ask for help with power, each time. And that each time you get the best help you could have had. And that using this helps you to learn.
How powerful you can become!

Seeking Help in the Interest of a Cause
srinivas, Lecturer, India, Member
Nice article and seeking help in the interest of cause which does good to all can be solution to a problem.If a person really cares for the cause which is of ultimate good he is bound to ask for help.

Please HELP!!!!!
Gregory Johnson, Coach, United States, Premium Member
This is an interesting conversation with some good insights on being humble, trusting and believing in someone. Might I add that if the plea for help is coming from within the ranks there are a couple of additional observations:
1. Learn and value the cultural side of the environment or your plea and efforts could backfire.
2. Frame the CUP. What does that mean?
- If you are inviting someone to "help" you, you could be inviting them to drink from a CUP of new ideas or processes.
- Framing is using 10 words to state your idea or ambition at the front end of your pleas for "Help". Simply set it up as though you are about to sell an idea and would like help in bringing it to light through thought or application.
These two points are practical and seed shaping the mentioned humbleness, trust and belief.

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