The last thing you should do is offer support

When your team member comes to you with a problem the absolute last thing you should do is offer your help. 

Stay with me while I explain. 

 You know what it’s like when you’re venting to a friend and instead of listening and empathising, they keep suggesting ways to fix the situation? 

Frustrating, isn’t it? 

Or when someone comes to you with a problem, and you suggest lots of things they could do about it, but they dismiss all of them? 


Our natural reaction when someone comes to us with a problem is to fix it for them. 

Listen, don’t fix

Most people don’t want you to fix their problem, they want to be heard. 

So, the most helpful thing you can do, is to not be helpful at all. 

Instead, give them all your attention while you listen, without interruption or judgement. 

Then be curious and ask them to, ‘Tell me more’.  

When you give your team member the space to fully express their thoughts, often they will find their own solutions and give you the credit. 

What support would you like from me?

When I say giving your support should be the last thing you do, I mean it literally. 

When you’re coming to the end of the conversation ask your team member, ‘What support would you like from me?’ 

Instead of burdening your team member with help they might not need, let them retain responsibility for solving the problem by having to ask for the help they need. 

If they ask for too much accept what you’re best suited for and then another great question might be: “I wonder who else might be able to help you?”  

This expands your team members thinking beyond you being the only area of support.  

Did this post resonate? Reply and let me know either way. 

A wooden sculpture of a hand holding up a tree branch

Where can I buy a copy of Think Like A Coach? 

Think Like A Coach is available in the UK from Amazon and The Right Book Press. Worldwide it is available through Amazon. Links here.

Want practical coach ideas that you can use everyday?

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