How To Ask For Help Professionally - Gulf Business
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How To Ask For Help Professionally

How To Ask For Help Professionally

Requesting help may not be easy, but don’t hesitate to ask for guidance from the right people, writes business coach Dawn Metcalfe.


Unless you are very lucky, you are not all-knowing and can’t do everything. We all need help from time to time.

While personal and perceived environmental pressures might make it seem difficult, asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a way of getting stronger. Most people are honoured to be asked and eager to support those who ask. Nonetheless it can seem difficult.

This week Dawn Metcalfe brings you 11 tips on how to ask for help properly and professionally.

1) Ask at the right time
Don’t wait until you are already so frustrated and angry that you don’t ask in the right way.

2) Don’t take it personally
If the person you ask says they can’t help you, don’t assume it’s because they don’t want to. They may be so busy that they feel they can’t give you the attention needed.

3) Remember this is a clever move
Asking for help doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It means you have identified a gap and are working on fixing it. On top of that just asking helps to build relationships and sends a great message to the people around you that they don’t need to suffer in silence.

4) Find the right person
It might be your boss, your partner, your team, a coach, a friend or your kids. Just make sure it’s someone you trust and who has the skills you need.

5) Do the ground work
Know what it is you really need and be specific- is it advice on a particular problem or a longer-term relationship? Let people know exactly what you need so they know what is expected.

6) Put your request into context
You’ve probably spent a long time thinking about what you need and it’s clear to you but it might seem random and confusing to them.

7) Meet your commitments
If someone has helped you and, as a result, you’ve agreed to do something then make sure you do it. If not, you’ll find it harder to get help next time.

8) Pay it back (and forward)
It is unlikely that the person who helps is doing so because they want you to return the favour but, if they ask and you can, do so. Be prepared to help others too; we’re all in this business of life together.

9) Don’t push it
Asking for help is a great strength as long as you use it when you really need it and not just to avoid doing things you don’t like doing yourself. People aren’t stupid; they’ll soon realise if you cross the line. And they’ll care.

10) Let them know how it went
If someone has given you their time and assistance then let them know what you did as a result and how successful it was.

11) Thank them
A lot. Say it, mean it and show it.

Dawn Metcalfe is the managing director of Performance Development Services (PDS). Find out more at


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