It’s important to remember that everyone needs help, but not every needs what you have to offer at that point in time. So take your hands off the wheel for a moment and ask the other person, “How can I help?”. You will be surprised at how it helps you to grow and build your relationships.
A decade ago when I was working in soccer coaching, we were holding a large training session for around a hundred kids, and there were several assistant coaches like myself arriving. Our lead coach turned to us and said “Ask how you can help. Don’t wait to be told what to do.” Succinct.
Since then I have repeated the coaching and used the phrase almost every week of my life. I walk into a situation whether at a client or at home and ask, “What can I do to help?”. I am often surprised, even with people that I’ve just met, I can be of service and make a difference immediately. When I’ve tried to force fit items from my list of defined services, it never goes very well.
They key is not the phrasing but understanding the intent.
- Not sure how to plug in? Take personal responsibility and ask someone else.
- Give the control to the other person and let them guide you to be of better service.
- Don’t make an assumption that you know what they need. Ask!
- Then do what they ask. That is sometimes the hardest part. Maybe you did not want to clean up lunch boxes from the last meeting, take notes or chase the kids. You asked, so go with it.
“How can you help?”