I love my clients. They are the most amazing people. One part that I love in what I do is the moment they begin to rediscover themselves and the journey that unfolds from there. I do a little happy dance every time these moments happen and again when I receive feedback. For example, yesterday I emailed a working draft to a client. Today, I this was the beginning of his email:
“Lisa, This looks awesome! I am not sure who you are describing here but he seems pretty talented!!”
I was coaching another client today and let me tell you she is a rock star, but a very well hidden rock star. The more we discussed her history and current activities the more impressed I became. Not only that but when I would relay the things that she has and is doing into value for potential employers she started to come out of her shell a little bit to the point that we ended the call with her full of enthusiasm and excitement.
One item we talked about was the hesitancy of asking for help. She is resistant to asking for help and this is so very common across the board for almost everyone I talk to. It’s like this limiting combination of embarrassment and fear. I told her the same thing I tell anyone who will listen: in general people do want to help, but they don’t know. Another factor is people are generally pretty lazy. Not throwing stones, not making judgments just stating facts.
We live in a fast paced world where we are bombarded with obligations and deadlines that far exceed our time frame to adequately perform each. If we receive a request it may not be that we don’t want to help, just that our time is stretched to the limit so having to carve out extra time becomes too difficult and ultimately we are unable to help. If you can make it as easy as possible for the other party to provide you with assistance than you have a greater chance of your request coming to fruition.
Let me use the specific example that I used with this client: LinkedIn and recommendations. Wow, when I told her I wanted to ask for recommendations you would have thought I asked her to go feed kittens to a python. It was putting her completely out of her comfort level. Nonetheless I assigned this as part of her homework; however, as I am not completely heartless I gave her a basis for a script that she could use.
If you find that you have the same discomfort in asking for recommendations, please feel free to utilize the following:
“As you might know I am in the process of evaluating potential opportunities for the next step in my career. In working with a career coach she has assigned me the task of revamping my LinkedIn profile. To that end I am contacting you for three reasons:
1. I understand the value of recommendations and would like to provide one for you; however I want to make sure it is in line and fully supportive of your goals. Is there any certain area or aspect that you would like me to focus on for my recommendation?
2. My coach has also suggested that I reach out and ask for recommendations. If you would feel comfortable doing so, I would truly appreciate a recommendation from you. If you are not prepared do so, I would still like to offer a recommendation for you. (If you feel comfortable you can even give examples of types of things that you are looking to highlight to future employers here).
3. As I said I am exploring opportunities and I would love to get any advice, feedback or tips that you might be able to offer me. I value your opinion so even if there is an individual or company that you think I should speak to, research or might be a valuable resource I would appreciate your thoughts.
Thanks again for your help. I hope things are going well for you and to talk to you soon.”
The value of this script is that you are not only asking for recommendations, you are also offering to provide value for that person as well. Remember, to receive you must give. It has also put this giving as the first point.
The second value that this offers is opening the door for any additional input that this person might be able to provide in a full range of avenues from offering a tip to prompting a potential connection. No matter what they respond any additional information is always good information.
It also is stated in such a way that it puts the blame on me. If my clients are truly uncomfortable in initially embarking on an assignment I always allow them to put the blame on me. This accomplishes two goals: they perform the task and they do not feel as bad in performing it because it is assigned by their coach.
Sometimes we have the irrational thought that someone might get mad for us asking or think we are being presumptuous; therefore, being able to blame someone else gives you the option of basically saying, “I know, I hated to ask – it was her fault, she made me do it.”
So feel free – use me as your excuse to help benefit yourself, I’m a big girl I can take it. All I ask is that you let me know how it goes. I love doing the little happy dance!
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.