8 Techniques that Help People Want Help

You don’t always have the luxury of waiting until people wake up to their short-comings and failures before helping them. Perhaps they’re oblivious or business urgencies require speedy improvement.

You can’t help anyone who doesn’t want help. Trying to fix someone is, in addition, insulting to them and folly for you.

You can, if time allows, help people want help. You can build an environment where others may let help in. Great managers don’t change people. They create environments where people can change themselves.

8 Ways to determine who to help?

  1. Individuals with technical skills but lacking social/relationship skills.
  2. People with social skills but lacking leadership/management skills.
  3. Good employees who can become great employees.
  4. Passionate but ineffective workers.
  5. The formerly engaged but newly disengaged.
  6. The newly promoted.
  7. Those facing new challenges.
  8. People out of balance – i.e. work load and prioritizing.

8 Techniques that help people want help.

If time allows let them suffer until they ask for help. If time doesn’t allow, try a few things on this list.

  1. Go on a journey with them. They may be resistant now but not later.
  2. Describe benefit – it’s the path to promotion, respect, balance, or effectiveness.
  3. Work “with” – not for or against them.
  4. Explain people change themselves. You won’t change them and you can’t help without permission.
  5. Perform a 360 degree evaluation.
  6. Inspire confidence by demonstrating confidentiality, consistency, and respect.
  7. Ask if they will take a first step.
  8. Ask how we can create a win.

Building trust is central to helping someone who doesn’t want help. It’s the underpinning to all eight techniques. Without it you’re doomed.


How do you determine who to help?

Do you think I should include threat of termination on the list of helping people want help?

How do you help people want help?


This post is inspired by and based on my conversation with Bob Hancox and Russell Hunter of Tekara. Visit “Coaching for Engagement,” for free chapters of their book.

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