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Help: The stigma of a 4 letter word

When a team member asks for training or support, does your brain interpret it as a request for development or for help?

Many of us associate the word ‘help’ with someone blown overboard, out of their depth, drowning, needing rescuing. Asking for help in a business situation is seen as admitting a weakness.

Yet asking for ‘development’ is the same as asking for ‘help’- but with a positive business spin on it.

Asking for training and support is all about the desire to become better, to deliver more, to keep improving. To be self-aware enough to identify the areas that you need to improve on keeps you ahead of the curve, and is what stops you from being the person who is drowning.

Actively requesting development opportunities and support in building your skill sets is one of the most career-strengthening activities you could undertake. It takes confidence to ask for development; you have to convince your managers and peers that you’re worth investing time and money into; and you have to overcome any egoism about being too senior/already knowing best.

From a company’s point of view, having staff ask for training is a huge boon. It shows that their staff are committed to their jobs and want to do them even better. They have a pool of skills to tap into and develop, which is also a cheaper and more efficient way to bring these skills into the business than having to hire new experts. Development opportunities keep your best staff loyal and engaged;  it is hard to succeed in business with high attrition rates.

Rewire your brain to receive requests for help and development as a positive employee attribute, and offer the support you would like to receive yourself. Train your managers to be able to coach and mentor their own teams and enforce 1:1 time between staff for this purpose.

Your business will change from one where staff perceive asking for help as a weakness (and therefore keep quiet) to an environment where questions are raised, discussions held and great ideas break through. Break the stigma of the 4 letter word.



Enhance provides coaching and mentoring for ambitious Directors.

Call us on 0203 500 6300 or contact us here to find out how we can help you.