Help versus Assist: Where do you stand?

For Halloween 2014, we talked my son into Assisting us with preparing our pumpkins.

For Halloween 2014, we talked my son into Assisting us with preparing our pumpkins.

As I explore further into the coaching industry, I’m noticing trends. Let’s talk type for a moment, shall we? What’s the difference between a coach, a mentor and a consultant?

A coach: Guides you through various questions and strategies to find the answers within you and helps you come up with a step to move forward. Experienced coaches develop a process for their clients to follow to reach their ultimate goal.

A Mentor: “I’ve already done all the steps. Do what I did and you’ll reach where I am.” It’s a “do what I do” scenario. Mentorship is guidance along a path that they’ve already done and they’ve found success. It’s a leadership role that says “follow me.”

A Consultant: says “here’s how I did it, let me help you do it.” They get their hands dirty; while showing you how to do things yourself, they’re helping you get things done.

I often run into people new to their business, in a variety of industries, who would rather not get their hands dirty. They want to outsource the yucky stuff so they can do the fun stuff. Here’s the problem. If they don’t know how to use the tools of their trade, how successful will they be if their support system falls apart? Their VA stops being their VA, their team members move on, and suddenly “I don’t want to know” becomes “Oh crap.”

Often entrepreneurs don’t want to eat the gristle and get their hands dirty – they want to sell and serve; they don’t want to be marketers, copywriters, website designers, and yet, that is the nature of small business – the solo-preneurship kind of small business where the resources aren’t there – yet – to hire the support of people with certain specific types of expertise. At the end of the day though, they still have to create the substance of their marketing, even if they have a skilled VA to flesh it out, and someone else presses Send or Post.

From another perspective though, what if you’re the independent type for whom asking for help feels gross?

Help is a four letter word.

People struggle with asking for help. Not only help, but permission too.

HELP is a 4-letter word. It tastes bad, feels offensive, and represents a place of weakness, give up, give in, and release of your power to the helper. You feel like you’re giving up your place of strength, losing your voice, sitting on the couch and letting someone else be the boss.

It’s a scary prospect to feel like you’re suddenly powerless rather than the powerful individual you know you are.

In truth, asking for help should represent ASSIST – rather, power UP not power down. Test yourself.

Apply a shift in your vocabulary: Instead of asking for HELP, you ask for Assistance.

What’s the difference?

If HELP equals giving-up personal power, then ASSIST may equal co-dependency; however, you’re still the boss.

Check this out: You need help cleaning the kitchen – maybe you’re a Spoonie who just can’t do it all. Maybe you’re an entrepreneur with 2 kids and a dog and you’re trying to launch your brand. You reach out ask for assistance. At first, the Ask feels awkward because it’s unfamiliar ground, until you FEEL the difference – a friend arrives and you guide them through YOUR process, where things go, how you prefer the task to be done. If, partway through, you need a break, at least then your friend knows your expectations, and assists you in your need your way. You retain your sense of power, you can shout from the mountaintops – LOOK! I asked for HELP! Did you really? – You asked for an assist, retained your need for control, and the crap that needed doing got done. It doesn’t matter if it was the kitchen, a ride, a babysitter, copy-writing, editing content, or an extra set of eyeballs.

If help denotes “someone else’s way” and that causes you pain, go for the assist, feel like you retain control, and get some of your life back.

Where do you get your assist?

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