How to Help Another Get Into Action

If you notice that someone is stuck, avoid the temptation to tell them what to do or how to do it. You run a very good chance of creating more delay as they resist (as we all do) being told what to do.

Instead, help them get into action by noticing what’s going on and coaching them with some simple, direct questions.

  1. Notice. State what you see with as little judgment (in words and tone) as possible. “I notice you are stuck in this project.” Wait for their response. Allow them to correct your impression of what you are seeing.
  2. Permission. Get their permission before you proceed. “May I offer some help with that?” Stop if they say no (and most say yes).
  3. Result(s). Ask them to restate their desired results.”What would you like to be true at the end of this project? How will you know you’ve been successful?”
  4. Next step. Have them pick a next, specific, doable step. “Given your desired result(s), what do you suppose is your very next step?” If they say, “I don’t know,” try encouraging them, “I am sure you can come up with a very good answer.” Or ask, “If you did know, what would it be?” If they remain unable to see a next step, ask permission to share a suggestion. Stop if they say no. If they say yes, offer one possible next step that will help move them from where they are to having their desired results.
  5. Follow through. Very important: help them follow through. “By when will you complete this next step? Will you need any help? Would you like a simple check-in? Would you like help when it’s time for the next steps?”


In your corner,


PS: Yes, this works with family members (all types), too. 🙂

Leave a Reply