How Helpful is Your Help?
I had the privilege of sitting in on a conversation with Carl George and the Auxano Consulting Services team (auxano.com). Dr. George has long been recognized as one of the leading thinkers and writers in the area of church health and leadership (Prepare Your Church for the Future, Nine Keys to Effective Church Leadership, and others).
Dr. George related a story about how he learned two important questions for his consulting work. He was seated next to a highly successful businessman on a plane who explained that he helped turn weak sales team members into powerful sales associates.
When asked how he accomplished this, the businessman told him he started with two questions:
- What do you want to do?
- How are you getting in your way?
Those are great coaching questions.
The first coach training event I attended with CoachU (coachu.com) provided a similar trio of questions:
- What do you want more of or less of?
- What’s stopping you?
- What one thing can you do this week that will get you at least fifty percent toward your goal?
These diagnostic tools are simple and powerful. They force people to clarify what they really, really want. They empower people to pursue those goals with passion and purpose.
Dr. George said, “I can teach people a lot if they have the self-image to receive it.” If the leaders we work with do not possess the necessary self-image to receive the assistance of a strategic outsider, it then falls to the consultant to edify the client to the place where he or she can receive assistance.
Dr. George continued by giving an example that made this fantasy baseball enthusiast sit up and pay attention. He said, “The speed at which a baseball can be thrown is not the business of the pitcher, but the skill of the catcher.”
He explained, “It’s not how good you are, but how receptive the client is.” Then he dropped one of his priceless gems into the conversation: “Help is not help until it is perceived as help.”
Good stuff, eh?
These questions and examples will stick with me. I plan to deploy them often.
Questions for reflection and application:
- How will you use these diagnostic questions?
- Who are you currently working with who needs to ponder them?
- Think back on your recent interactions with leaders. Which of them were not ready to receive additional information? What can you do to build them up so that they can benefit from the wisdom of a strategic outsider?
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1 Samuel 24:16, 17 When David finished saying these things to him, Saul replied, “Is that your voice, David my son?” Then Saul wept aloud and said to David, “You are more righteous than I, for you have done what is good to me though I have done what is evil to you.” (CSB)
1 Samuel 18:5 David marched out with the army and was successful in everything Saul sent him to do. Saul put him in command of the fighting men, which pleased all the people and Saul’s servants as well. (CSB)
1 Samuel 13:13, 14 Samuel said to Saul, “You have been foolish. You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you. It was at this time that the LORD would have permanently established your reign over Israel, but now your reign will not endure. The LORD has found a man after his own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over his people, because you have not done what the LORD commanded.” (CSB)