I received an great question from a reader after sending out The #1 Key to Lasting Change last week. I wanted to share the question and my response with the hope that other readers face this same issue.
So what does one do when their circle wants to be supportive, but doesn’t know how? I have people around me who want to help me find work, but either 1) send me postings I am in no way qualified to apply to; 2) don’t know what to do if they can’t write a check; or 3) offer suggestions for job searches that are, frankly, outdated and no longer effective in today’s job market. That leaves me feeling I am in a relationship where I need to “coach the coach”… Suggestions?
Thanks you for such a great question. It is such a challenge, not getting the type of help we need. Because we feel like our own island and stuck in the same spot with all this support—yet none of it making a difference. Your wisdom leads to part of the solution. I think I am just affirming it for you.
From knowing you the bit I do, I believe you feel these people are well intentioned. Yet most people don’t really have any idea what we need. In general (and I think you already do this) it is often easiest to be gracious and grateful for what they offer. Yet, it makes such a huge difference to have one or two people who really get you and get what you need.
I would encourage you to look for one or two people that could be the most helpful and ask specifically for what you want from them. Part of the challenge is often we aren’t clear with these people about what we really need and we just take what we are given. The skill you are building is making clear requests. AT the same time, it’s okay if the person can’t help or isn’t interested. The Creating Growth Partnerships page on the site outlines a specific version of the process, yet you can be much more informal. An important part of the process is offering the mutual support in return. Ask them how you can help them. Making it mutual is vital, otherwise it becomes about “fixing” one person in the relationship. This gets old quickly for both parties because neither of you are broken, just evolving to the next level.
So you are right, coaching the coach is always a great idea! (Albeit at times frustrating.) It’s the best way to get to what you really need.
I hope that helps. I am confident you will find someone that wants to partner with you in this way. Just keep asking.