Asking for it!

More please!

“You can’t ask for what you want unless you know what it is…First you have figure out what you want. Second, you have to decide that you deserve it. Third, you have to believe you can get it. And, fourth, you have to have the guts to ask for it.” Barbara deAngelis

Much of the work that professional and personal coaches do with clients is about helping them to clarify what they want, and then putting an action plan in place to get it.

I recently worked with a client, Caroline*, who was stressed out by lack of resources in her role, and working long hours, constant firefighting, without really getting to deliver any value in her role as a manager – a familiar story to many.

She considered the stay or go option, and while she might want to move on to something else in the longer term, this wasn’t necessarily going to solve her problems right now.

So we looked at what the top three things would be to help her manage her current situation better. There were a few things, but the top priority was to get two additional resources, to deal with operational and day-to-day stuff.

Caroline said that any time she had asked for anything in the past, she had got minimal response or action from her boss; she also felt that asking for “help” would be perceived as a weakness on her part.

She also felt these additional resources wouldn’t be approved so we looked at her approach to communicate what she wanted to her boss. If he didn’t approve them, then she would cross that bridge when she came to it.

We also discussed that, if she wanted a specific performance outcome from any other employee, she would clearly set out the expected outcome, and agree a course of action to get there – so why not use this approach with her boss?

So Caroline devised a short presentation outlining

  • The problems being faced at present
  • The key things that needed to be done e.g. extra resources
  • The consequences of not doing these things
  • What she expected of her boss, and some suggestions for how to action them
For example, she often found that her boss would say he would discuss something with the CEO and then find that nothing happened.
So we looked at alternatives, which included her offering, as her boss was so busy, to discuss this directly with the CEO, and see how that went!
Last Friday she took her proposal to the boss, and he approved her resource, and one other to be confirmed by the CEO!
Probably Caroline’s biggest barrier was the belief that he wouldn’t approve them, which was based on her previous experience, and her own perception that perhaps she didn’t “deserve” the help. So with a change of approach and improved clarity for how to help her boss make the right decision, we get two new jobs and she gets improved support – through having “the guts to ask for it” and knowing how to do it!
Liz Barron, Realize Coaching

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