Asking for help: How can it be empowering?

“I’m the one that helps others. I’m not the one that receives help?” Have you ever told that to yourself? I know I have and I can’t count the number of coaching conversations I’ve had where this comes up.


I’ve heard this from every gender. Very often, people will explain to me that it’s because “they’re a woman" or "they’re a man" or "non-binary” that they need to be the one that’s independent or the one that helps. I gently challenge this when it comes up. If I’ve heard it from all genders, it can’t be because of your gender, can it? 

Now, there’s lots of nuance to this and I won’t go into all of that here (though Brené Brown’s Men, Women, Worthiness and Shame audiobook is a great place to start). 

And look, I get it. When we’re asking others for help from a position of disempowerment or from a place where we feel like we’ll get pity or sympathy (the worst) then we’ll do everything to avoid it. 

We (my clients and I in particular) want to be the strong ones. The rescuers. The protectors (see the Karpman drama triangle). We want to be the ones in charge. 

But... what if there was a way to make getting help empowering? What if asking for help can lead to feeling in charge?

How can asking for help be empowering?

You see there are two different energies or ways we can ask for help. 

There’s “Help, do it for me, you put in the effort. It’s too painful or difficult for me to try”

This version of asking for help feels extremely vulnerable. Partly because you don’t believe you can do it. You fundamentally doubt yourself! There’s also a real risk of rejection that can feel very painful.

If we’re helping others in this way as we’re used to being the leader, being the rescuer, being in charge then it’s very difficult to conceive that we might be able to receive help in other ways.

When we only know how to give help one way, it follows we only know how to ask for it in one way too. 

And very often, those of us (myself included) who are giving help in this way are usually running from this smaller, scared part of us. We’re usually so worried about it. We’re so worried we try and hide this inner vulnerable part. 

Firstly, we all have an inner vulnerable part. It’s OK and if you coach with me, you’ll probably learn how to embrace it and use it to help you thrive. For those that aren’t currently coaching with me, know this: there’s another type of help. 

One where you’re asking to learn.

This is one where you’re looking for teachers. One where you’re taking charge. In this version, we say: “I want to learn can you tell me how to do that” Or “I’m not sure about this, what is your perspective?” There’s a sense of direction and you’re owning your own development. In this version, help is like collecting information or research. You’re simply fact-finding from others.

This is brilliant because there’s no need to believe or not believe in you. You’re just finding out information. There’s also zero risk of rejection because there are always lots of ways to find out information!

So, if you know deep down you probably need a bit of help but you don’t want to feel like a victim, then this is a great way to ask for help. Your protector and rescuer part of you will probably agree too. 

Coaching is exactly this. Getting help in a way where you’re in control. So go get some intentional help. Go lead the way. And, if you want to do that with me, check out my profile.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London SW1V & NW1
Written by Rebecca Cockayne, BA. (Oxon), MSc, GDL | Delphi Coaching
London SW1V & NW1

Bex is a coach who loves journeys. She's done a lot and has been on many internal and external ones. She loves to help people long their path too.

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