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11.01.23 Today’s Insights from Harvard Business Review: How to Get Better at Asking for Help at Work

11.01.23 Today’s Insights from Harvard Business Review: How to Get Better at Asking for Help at Work
Dear Students,


While Westerners may hesitate to ask for help in professional settings, our coaches recognise that it can be even more uncomfortable, and thus even rarer, for those of you raised in the East to do so. When faced with the choice, many, if not most of you, may prefer to simply not do so. As Western professionals know, however, deferring is not always the best option, and may actually prove to be the least efficient, most frustrating and/or least productive route to solve a problem. In addition, not asking for help from someone who could have provided it initially may paradoxically end up angering that individual, in ultimately requiring more of his/her time and/or involvement later on to resolve an issue that could have been handled more directly or incisively on the front end.


Within this relatively short piece, Rebecca Zucker, a Stanford MBA and executive coach (who has also written extensively for HBR and Forbes), outlines an approach that Mandarin Consulting coaches can use to help students like you to unpack concerns and identify strategies for learning to ask for help more frequently. Zucker’s orientation dovetails well with our MC perspective, through its emphasis on self-reflection and the receipt and integration of candid feedback. Her ideas also reflect the Western value of teamwork as a collaborative (vs simply distributive) effort.


Our coaches are here to help candidates like you to address concerns about asking for help, as early as possible in your Western experience, whether throughout academic projects, while undertaking volunteer efforts or when employed within professional settings. The sooner that ambitious international students like you gain a level of comfort in taking the kinds of steps Zucker recommends, the more productive your interactions with those who can support you will become.