Blaming the Client

The intent of this blog is to offer encouragement through observation of my own experience.  Rarely would a critique of my professional peers be a part of that.  But this encounter stayed with me and its implications for those seeking help felt important to write about.

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I recently encountered a small business adviser who asserted that business owners have no idea just how much they don’t know about business. Not only would they not know the right questions to ask, the right issues probably wouldn’t even show up on their radar.

Coming from someone in a service profession, I was a bit surprised by the note of condescension.

I think y’all are smart enough to know you don’t know everything you need to know to succeed.  And wise enough to know that what you don’t know can hurt you. And prudent enough to do your homework before diving into something new. And confident enough to ask for help when you need it.

But when you did ask for help, would you want to work with an adviser who started the conversation with Good thing you came to me for information because you don’t even suspect the half of it! ?  Me neither.

No business adviser, consultant or coach should ever leave you feeling stupid for not knowing the answers before you came through the door.  Work with people who empower you, not those who talk down to you, add to your overwhelm, or disregard your concerns in favor of their own agenda.

And if you are an adviser, consultant or coach who genuinely feels business owners are oblivious to something crucial in which you have expertise – get out and educate people, but do so with generosity, humility, and an open and patient ear.  Don’t do it to save people from their ignorance.  Do it to offer them the tools and information they need create their own success.

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If you aren’t getting the help you need, is it because you haven’t been able to find advisers who are a good fit? Keep looking. Ask colleagues and friends for recommendations. The people with answers to your questions about law, finance, administration and marketing – offered with respect and in the language you speak – are out there.

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