The Necessity of Being Asked

People will not bear it when advice is violently given, even if it is well founded. Hearts are flowers; they remain open to the softly falling dew, but shut up in the violent downpour of rain. – John Paul Richter

Every coach worth his or her salt knows that the more sensitive the subject the greater the trust required between coach and client.

In coaching circles we call this “asking permission to coach” and it is critical to help a client move forward.

If a client doesn’t feel respected, and heard and appreciated, then standard “defenses” will remain in place.

But for progress to happen the Truth must be uncovered. It must be brought out into the light, from the shadows where the difficult truths so often lay.

Anyone can learn from the coach methodology though.

It’s a matter of listening. Careful, gentle, loving listening.

As Richter reminds us above: listen like the “softly fallen dew” so that your questions will find an open heart.

But, you may point out that Richter was talking about advice.


If you want to help someone, listen to what they have to say, both about where they are and where they want to go.

People know, deep down, what is best for them – they don’t need advice. (Chances are that if you have some “advice” burning-a-hole-in-your-head it’s something you need to do.)

What they need is to be loved and truly listening (and asking good questions about the current situation, its creation, authentic desires and solutions) is often the most loving thing anyone can do.

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