Ask & Offer

A communication habit to set boundaries for the helping relationship and improve the odds for change.

What to do

When you’re approached for help, start by asking, “What led to this request?” Follow up with, “How do you want me to help?” Finally, make an offer of support.

What a good “offer” looks like

What I’m hearing is that you’re responsible for increasing revenue 10% this year. You’d like my help making a marketing plan over the next month, and you want to meet once a week to discuss what our research is showing.

So you’re having trouble talking to your direct report. You’d like me to tell you when I hear you say something that sounds like moralizing, but otherwise I’ll let you do you.

Forming the habit


I see that a request for help is being made.


Instead of responding, I ask what the problem is and how I am wanted to help.

New action.

I offer help in a way that works for me.

Remember your goal

The reason to Ask & Offer is to help engage your client with their problem. That means responsibility stays with them.