The Spirit of Making a Request

by Dave Veale

I have a request of you – in the next 72 hours you find a hidden talent in three different people. Then make a request of each person to exploit the hidden talent in a way that dramatically supports his or her personal and/or professional growth. Do you accept this request, reject it or would you like to negotiate it?

The art of making a request is one of the 5 Core Coaching Skills within our 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program™ framework. Of the five coaching skills we teach, I find that it is the skill of making a request that people latch on to because, I believe, of the power that a request holds.

A request is a fabulous way to honor a person’s brilliance by encouraging them to play bigger, tackle a challenge or move out of their comfort zone. With a request you can challenge a person to take their game up a level while not shaming or bullying them into doing something they are not ready to do. In fact, when you let the person you are making a request of know that they can ‘accept, reject or negotiate’ your request, you are reminding them that they have the all the power. This means if they accept your request they are ready to fully embrace the new possibility that lies ahead of them.

So, what exactly is a request? A request is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as ‘the act or an instance of asking for something’. From a coaching perspective, I think this definition falls short. A request, in my opinion, is made when we see untapped potential or an opportunity not being fully leveraged within a person. A request, at its core, is a gift of possibility available to the person who chooses to receive, carefully unwrap and appreciate the request you have made.

When is the last time that you told a colleague you believe in him or her and asked them to move outside of their comfort zone – to that place where the magic happens? What’s stopping you from sharing the gift of a well-placed request? I hope you ‘accept’ my request above and become a conduit to support others. As Anatole France so eloquently states, ‘To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.’