15 Ways to Help Without Getting in the Way

Helping done poorly is destructive.

The need to help says more about your needs than theirs.

Snail needs help

3 UN-helpful reasons you feel the need to help:

  1. Feel important.
  2. Elevate status.
  3. Look smart.

6 unhelpful helpers:

  1. Hero helper. Rushes in to save the day like Super Man.
  2. Egotistical helper. Do it like I do it.
  3. Fixer helper. Now that you screwed up, I’ll fix it.
  4. Meddling helper. Loves to make minor improvements.
  5. Bleeding-heart helper. Loves to hold hands and look concerned.
  6. Savior helper. You’re incompetent or inadequate.

Effective help elevates the status of those being helped.

Helpful leaders are:

Handy but not hovering.

Aware but not interventionists.

Available but not anxious.

The 15 forms of help:

  1. Story sharing. “I remember when I did something like this.”
  2. Partnering. “Lets do this together.”
  3. Lending a hand. “I’ll do that.”
  4. Gratitude for effort. “I’m thankful for your work.”
  5. Acknowledgement of accomplishments. “You’ve made progress.”
  6. Suggestions. “Try this.”
  7. Confidence building. “You’re the right person for this job.”
  8. Perspective giving. “That doesn’t make sense.”
  9. Exploring options. “What else might work?”
  10. Listening. “Tell me what’s going on.’
  11. Cheering from the sidelines. “Way to go.”
  12. Providing connections with experts. “Who knows how?”
  13. Removing obstacles. “What’s in the way?”
  14. Clarifying purpose. “What’s important about this?”
  15. Empathy. “You look stressed.”

The 7 questions to ask before helping:

  1. Where’s the point of frustration?
  2. What have you tried?
  3. Would you like some help? Get permission to give help.
  4. What type of help would be helpful?
  5. What are your priorities?
  6. What are your goals?
  7. Where do you feel resistance?

Frustration and help:

  1. Moderate frustration sharpens focus and increases energy.
  2. Persistent frustration indicates it’s time to step in.
  3. Frustration while you’re helping indicates you’re not helping.

Reluctant helper:

Reject relational dynamics where people come to you before giving it their best effort first.

What forms of UN-helpful help have you seen?

What are the best ways to help?