When someone asks you for help, start with why.
Why is the situation they’re describing a problem? Why do they want the problem solved?
Why have they not resolved the problem themselves? Why have they come to you?
Why are they bringing this up now? Why aren’t they waiting to address this problem later?
Act as a consultant would. Ask why, over and over again, until you get to the root of the problem.
You do this so that:
- The person feels heard
- You diagnose the problem accurately, so communication is easier
- You have the knowledge you need to give good advice
Sounds obvious, but if you watched yourself on video, chances are you’d notice yourself skipping the why and, instead, making lots of assumptions.
So any time you’re in a position to help, first understand the why. Listen. Then, maybe, talk.