You Can’t Help People Who Don’t Want to be Helped!

As a follow up to our Leader Intervention and Authentic Feedback blog post, we wanted to offer some additional thoughts. While it ties to leaders in business, this topic really applies to people in general. Simply stated, “you can’t help people who don’t want to be helped.”

Yes, we’ve all likely heard this before and a particular person may come to mind. These people either don’t have self awareness, or, worse yet, they have self awareness and simply don’t care. If you find yourself in these relationships, what do you do?

Well, as the title of this blog indicates, this one is a tough one. Let’s start however with self awareness as it’s more common than I “simply don’t care”. What we find is that in most cases, people don’t want help as they’re oblivious of the problem. For example, it wasn’t until my late 30′s that I discovered I had “control” issues deep rooted in a “fear of failure”. Now, don’t get me wrong, I knew I was one to take charge and give direction; however, I never saw this as being an overbearing control issue. Actually, my daughter reminded me recently of how bad it used to be.

This all being said, at the time, I wasn’t looking for help. I’m sure in some form or fashion people were offering to give me some help; however, I didn’t have the self awareness in order for it to even register that I needed help. Then, I found myself going through, an “authentic, intensive feedback” process which finally gave me self awareness. In my case, once I became self aware, I invited feedback and coaching on a regular bases.

This all sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Well, I too would have read a blog like this back then and said, “I’m doing pretty good” and would have filed it away. So, I encourage you to pause and consider whether more is needed from you personally in the area of self awareness or not.

If you’re up for the challenge, I recommend you simply pass this blog post off to a few people you trust and ask them to sit down with you. In the conversation, express your appreciation for them, reassure them that there will be absolutely no fear of retribution, and let them know you’d like their feedback. If you’d like a few questions to discuss, here might be a few:

1) On a scale of 1 -10, how would you rate me on “openness and candor”? Where 1 is “nobody knows what I think” and 10 is “everybody knows what I think”.
2) On a scale of 1 -10, how would you rate me on “receptivity to feedback”? Where 1 is a “brick wall” and 10 is “totally open”
3) On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate my “assertion continuum”? Where 1 is not assertive, 5 is assertive, and 10 is aggressive.

Normally, these questions will demonstrate some gaps in our self awareness and provide for a vehicle for further discussion. To be most effective, a 3rd party coach is always helpful; however, this is at least a starting point. Once we have an acknowledgement of a “need for help” there are an abundance of directions we can head in coaching.

Moving on, let’s address the situation of someone who “simply doesn’t care”. In these cases, from personal and expert experience, it’s going to take a “life transformational event” such as a job loss, marriage failure, death in family, trip to prison, or the likes to get this individual conscious. Professional counselors would be able to address this topic far better than I, so I’ll leave it at most of the time you’re not going to be able to influence this person to change. My advise in these situations is that the individual, or yourself, likely need to move on. In the process, continue to support and encourage; however, recognize that it’s likely just not going to work.

I hope you found today’s post valuable and, as always, we welcome your feedback on improving. Have a great day!

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