The truth about asking for help
Hiring a consultant or coach doesn't mean you're admitting failure...I see this often, when I'm talking with a potential client that's generally happy with their team they'll squirm and start to question themselves. "I don't want to give the impression that we have a lot of problems" they'll start out saying as they backpedal on all the aspirational thinking we were just doing together.
There remains for many this deep-seated fear that asking for help is a sign of weakness, that bringing in help is a sign of failure and leaders mistakenly listen to that fear, determining to do it alone! They use money as the socially acceptable excuse instead of admitting such a feeling, once again they listen to fear instead of saying what they're really thinking.
And I get it. I'm a staunchly independent person. My family can attest that I was determined to solve my own problems since I was old enough to walk. When I was 12 years old I insisted on doing my own laundry because "my mom didn't do it right." I carried that fierceness, to do it myself, into my business for years and to my detriment. And my logic was always tied to saving or not wasting money.
Hiring a consultant, coach, trainer or facilitator doesn't mean you're bad at your job, have failed, or that you have a team that's only full of problems. It usually signifies the opposite.
Asking for help is humbling.
Asking for help is a sign of strength.
Asking for help enables you to make your best better.
Asking for help saves you time, money, and heartache in the long-run.
And asking for help signifies a deeper belief that, you, your team, your organization are worth investing in.
This past summer, with my business deeply affected by COVID and the weight of uncertainty taking its toll on me I did something drastic. I hired a coach. With that investment, I started to experience a shift almost immediately. Because asking and paying for help showed me that I believed in myself and my business. It was an unexpected, yet welcome benefit.
I experienced that shift because I hired the right person to help me instead of going for the cheapest option. I found a coach that met me where I was at, that got me, that had the right balance of speaking hard truths and cheering me own, that complimented my strengths and challenged me to think and act bigger. My coach showed me how to show up for my business in this time of massive disruption, despite the fact that I didn't nor couldn't have it all figured out. She showed me that doing the work is how I will figure it out. She helped me to process through all the thoughts and feelings that cluttered my mind and distracted me from doing the work so I could focus on what mattered most.
In the end, hiring a coach enabled me to break free of the loop I was stuck in so I could make forward progress and rise up to meet the challenges of these times.
When a leader shares with their team that they are hiring me people don't judge them for being weak or a failure. Instead, their team sees them as relate-able, a fellow human - they actually are able to connect more deeply and feel more respect.
One of the biggest mistakes I see leaders make is portraying an image of themselves as perfect. I'm not suggesting that a leader should confide all their fears to their team. But acknowledging mistakes models learning from experience. Just like asking for help models the importance of working together with someone that compliments your own strengths to turn bold ideas into reality.
Saying, we can be better is not code for, we suck! Aspiring to be better is about embracing the gifts of our humanity, we all possess the ability to learn, grow and improve. When we deny this inherent truth of our humanity we are denying ourselves, our teams, our organizations, and our communities the chance to do something meaningful and relevant.
In the end meaning, relevance and belonging are what really matters, and the irony that fear keeps many leaders from experiencing that because they won't ask for help is not lost on me! What about you?