3 Simple Questions (to Help Someone Best)

How to best help someone Blog Zilvold Coachig & Training
5 min read

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This week I sat at a table with a friend of mine. He told me about his business and personal challenges.

Do you also tend to want to help someone by giving advice or telling your experiences when someone is sad, desperate, or angry?

We want to help someone with our solutions as quickly as possible. Often this is counterproductive. People don’t feel heard or understood or can’t do anything with your solutions.

In this article, I will tell you what I should ask more often when someone comes to me with a problem. It’s three simple questions:

Do you want me to listen?

People need to be heard and acknowledged. Then it’s best to keep your mouth shut and listen.

-> Reading tip: 7 ways to listen better

Take your time with this and accept silence. Try to restrain yourself to avoid filling in silences by talking about your experiences, giving tips, or asking questions.

What you can do when there is a long silence is to say, “What else?” or “Tell me?“. These are not so much questions as invitations to tell more.

Do you want me to help you?

My friend says I am always enthusiastic and sparkle when we meet. Thank you, Iric! I am curious and like to help others. My blogs are packed with advice, tips, life hacks, and inspiration to help you. I read a lot and always have advice. If not, I can always refer someone to you!

But it can be more useful to ask some questions first.

-> Reading tip: What are Good Questions?

In the article above, I have 38 questions for you. Recently, I heard another good question: “Why is that important to you?“. With this question, you go deeper to discover what else is happening underneath the surface.

Then there is a very simple and effective way to coach someone through the GROW method. In doing so, you jointly identify a Goal, the current situation (the Reality), the Options to achieve your goal, and finally, you make a Workplan.

With personal development, it is not only the intention to reflect on what has happened, what the situation is now, and what the desirable situation is but also to take action.

If I let someone set goals that align with their WHY (their purpose or life goal), I also let them draw up a plan on what to do in the short and long term (or what NOT to do) to achieve those goals. Here you can download a template that can help you with that.

Do you want a hug?

We all need to be connected to others. This can be done by listening, asking questions, having fun, and hugging.

I like to hug. Even people I barely know. My invitation is to hold out both hands, palms up. Then if someone wants to shake my hand or rather not touch me, that’s fine. It is, after all, an invitation to connect.

When you feel connected, oxytocin is released. This is also called a happiness hormone. I feel good, happy, and calm. Oxytocin is also released when you receive a compliment, with a short touch (shaking hands), when you pet an animal, eat dark chocolate, or listen to good music.

A hug in Māori is an Awhi, often accompanied by a traditional Hongi. Then people briefly touch each other’s foreheads and share the breath of life. The meaning of such a touch is that they are no longer strangers but also people of the land (te tangata Whenua). They are included in the group and are expected to contribute.


By asking these questions, you give someone else the choice of how they want to be helped best. You give them control over how they want to deal with their emotions. One person just wants to be heard because they feel alone. The other wants to cry because of sadness or anger and needs a tissue. It is also possible that someone is panicking and does not know what to do. Then it is useful to come up with possible solutions.

How can I best help you? What do you do to help someone? What questions do you ask? Let me know in the comment field below. The other readers of this article. and I are looking forward to reading from you!

Thank you for reading up to here & sharing this article with your colleagues, friends, or family. And please SHARE this article with your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn network by pressing the buttons below so that they can also benefit from these three simple questions to help someone best. You are welcome to copy parts of this blog if you state the source.

Have you seen an error in this article? Let me know! I am grateful!

When Someone You Love Is Upset, Ask This One Question, The New York Times
De 3 gouden vragen, Miranda Bok

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