Ferne Kotlyar

Have you ever helped someone out of obligation and didn’t know how to get out of it?  

Ash certainly has. There is one guy at work, Bob, that is a bit of a slacker.  Recently, their boss threatened to fire Bob if he didn’t pick up the pace. Bob immediately came to Ash for help. Ash usually likes helping people, but Bob isn’t easy to help; he is lazy and needy. Ash is tired of helping Bob, but he doesn’t know how to stop. Ash doesn’t want to be the reason that Bob loses his job.    

Instead of helping Bob scrape by in something that he clearly isn’t passionate about, I recommend that Ash help Bob find his passion elsewhere. If Ash can help Bob find something that he is truly passionate about, he is more likely to excel.

Have you experienced a similar situation before? Do you have an interesting case you’d like to share? Reach out! If you want to share your thoughts on this episode or the show, or if you’d like to share your experiences with us, email us!



Episode Transcript

[00:00:05] Kim Ades:
Hello, hello. My name is Kim Ades, I'm the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching™ and you have just joined The Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast. And today is Fridays With Ferne, where my daughter Ferne comes onto the podcast and gives me a case for us to discuss and work through.  

Ferne, welcome! 

[00:00:23] Ferne Kotlyar:
Hello, thank you so much for having me! Are you ready for your case today?  

[00:00:27] Kim Ades:
I am so ready. Let's go!  

[00:00:30] Ferne Kotlyar:
Amazing. So today we have a case about a guy named Ash. And Ash works as a programmer at a really big gaming company. He does super well, you know, he works hard, he is pop of his cohort. And there's another guy whose company, let's call him Bob, and Bob doesn't work very hard and he's been... his lead programmer, just told him that he has to pick up his slack or he will get fired.  

And so obviously Bob's worried, you know, he's a bit of a slacker, so, that... Not threat, but that comment was warranted. And so he goes to Ash-- so Bob goes to Ash and he asks him, he pleads with him to help him and Ash accepts and he helps him and they work together. And essentially Ash carries him through his time, and as they go, Ash knows that if he were to stop helping Bob, then he would get fired, and he knows that he's really carrying him through.

But the issue is that Ash doesn't really like helping him. He's not a good student, he's not really in there to learn, he's just willing to do the bare minimum, to scrape by, to stay hired and he's not, you know, passionate and excited about the project, and he's just really tough to work with. 

And so, you know, Ash doesn't really like helping him, but he doesn't know how to say no. He doesn't know how to, you know, tell this guy that he doesn't want to help him because he knows that his employment, his job, his income relies almost solely on Ash. So, you know, Ash doesn't know how do that, how to let him go and tell him he doesn't want to help him anymore. 

[00:02:19] Kim Ades:
Okay. So we think, you know, when you're telling the story, Ash is self-sacrificing when we think he's doing something nice and good for his friend, but in fact, he's not. He's not doing anything nice for himself, because he doesn't want to be doing this and he's not enjoying it and he's not seeming to get very much satisfaction out of helping his friend Bob, his not so friend Bob, right?  

And at the same time, he's not actually helping Bob to become self-sufficient. So what Ash is doing is creating a problem for the company, for Bob and for himself. And so that's first of all. We need to discuss that with Ash and help him understand that his actions aren't leading to outcomes that anybody actually desires. 

It may seem at face value that the action is leading to Bob keeping his job, but it's leading to an action where Bob is keeping his job where he's underperforming and potentially stay in a position that isn't the best or most ideal position for him. He could be living somewhere else, doing something else, living his passions.  

But instead Bob feels like he has no options and he has no choice, so he stays seemingly unengaged or disengaged and plodding along. So Ash is creating a lose-lose-lose situation for everybody. And that's the first thing that he needs to understand is that while his intentions are good, what he's doing doesn't lead to desired outcomes anywhere. 

And so the first thing that I would do with Ash is say "Hey, what are the desired outcomes? What do you think would be a win-win-win here?" And he might probably say "well, the company wants a high-performing employee". And I would say "do you think Bob could ever be a high-performing employee here? Does he have the capacity? Is he capable? Does he have the desire to be a high performing employee here?"  

And if Ash says "no, that will never happen", then what Ash needs to do is say "okay, so what I need to do then is help Bob find what his passions are and find where his highest performing opportunities are and help to redirect them elsewhere" and let go of helping him with programming, but really be his friend and help him move to a better place for himself, for the company. 

If Ash says "yes, I do think he has a potential to be a high-performing programmer, but I think that he doesn't see it in himself", then Ash needs to reorganize how he helps Bob. But at the end-- yeah?  

[00:04:57] Ferne Kotlyar:
Sorry, I was just curious... so, Bob essentially doesn't have the passion in that area. Like, he just scrapes by, he does what he can to get through, and isn't necessarily interested in, you know, programming, but working per se. He just kind of-- he's a bit lazy.  

[00:05:14] Kim Ades:
He's a bit lazy, but you see, I don't believe anybody's lazy.  

[00:05:19] Ferne Kotlyar:

[00:05:20] Kim Ades:
People are lazy when they are involved with something that's not a fit for them or when they believe they cannot succeed. When they're not getting wins, when they're not seeing themselves winning and scoring and doing well. Right?  

Have you ever been in a class where it was just boring and not interesting?  

[00:05:40] Ferne Kotlyar:

[00:05:41] Kim Ades:
Sure. And so what happens? Like, think about it when you're in a class that's kind of boring and not interesting versus a class where you're totally into it and excited, which one are you a little more lazy in?  

[00:05:53] Ferne Kotlyar:
Yeah, the one you don't care about, of course.  

[00:05:55] Kim Ades:
The one you're not enjoying, the one you're not liking. But also let's say you're in a class and you try, and the teacher kind of, like, blows you off and doesn't give you the time of day and doesn't encourage you and doesn't show you how to succeed. What happens? You also get disengaged, right?  

So work operates the same way. So, for Ash, what we want to really explore is hey, is this really something that Bob isn't into? Is this just not his thing? Or has he never experienced any real wins? And so he's also disengaged and he's just coasting because he doesn't ever think he can succeed. 

So Ash has to distill or sort through those two things. Is this something that Bob can succeed in? Does he have any talent? Or is this really just not for Bob. It's if it's really not for Bob, Ash needs to help Bob gets to another location, another destination, another passion, another career.  

If Bob has some talent, but he just feels like "Hey, it doesn't matter what I do, it just doesn't turn out for me, so I'll just let somebody else do it for me. I'll let somebody else carry me" well, then a different kind of conversation has to take place where Ash says "Hey, I'm done carrying you. I will help you, but here are the conditions". Right?  

"Here's what I will agree to do. I'm not going to do the work for you, I'm not going to carry you. I'll help you if you have a problem. Here's what I will offer you. But I'm no longer doing your work for you. I will always support you".  

So those are two different pictures, right? And really the thing is that Ash doesn't seem to like Bob, because of the way Bob is showing up and Ash needs to understand why Bob is showing up the way he is. 

[00:07:50] Ferne Kotlyar:
But what if Ash doesn't really care at all about him and he's just helping him out of guilt? And what if he doesn't really want to invest time and energy into like, figuring out what his passion is and getting him onto a better path? Because it doesn't seem like Bob is interested in that.

It seems like he's kind of not disinterested in life, but you know, he goes off and does his own thing after work and they just aren't friends. You know, there's no real connection. So why should Ash spend that time and energy into Bob?  

[00:08:20] Kim Ades:
Well, it depends. Is Ash a leader in his company? If Ash is a leader in his company, then Ash needs to behave like a leader and help Bob find the next destination.  

[00:08:30] Ferne Kotlyar:
And if is just one of the cohort? Which is what he is.  

[00:08:34] Kim Ades:
Then Ash could say "Hey, if you really want to succeed, here's what you need to do" and create a different series of expectations and agreements for Bob. "I'll help you if you do XYZ" and XYZ means "if you do this work, I will review it with you. If you get stuck, I'll help you do this, but I'm not going to do your work for you. I'm not going to carry you".  

[00:09:00] Ferne Kotlyar:
You don't think that Ash as... They're in the same position, you know, as a fellow, a peer, a coworker, you don't think he should just cut Bob off and just say "no, I'm not helping you anymore"? 

[00:09:15] Kim Ades:
Well, here's the interesting thing. So why hasn't he done that already? 

[00:09:19] Ferne Kotlyar:
Because he feels guilty. He doesn't know how to say no.  

[00:09:21] Kim Ades:
So where does guilt come from?  

[00:09:23] Ferne Kotlyar:
Doing something bad or feeling like you're doing something bad. Or something that'll hurt someone.  

[00:09:29] Kim Ades:
Guilt comes when there's a lack of alignment between what you do and what you think you should do, or what you do or what you haven't done and what you think you should do. Right? So where there's a gap between what you think is correct and what is actually happening. So, why does Ash continue to do something when he doesn't want to do it? Because he thinks he should do it. Right?  

So now what I want to do with Ash is say okay, well, let's really identify what your true responsibilities are. Your responsibility is to behave in a way that makes you feel proud of yourself, that makes you feel good about yourself, that makes you feel like you are living with integrity and in alignment with your values. And we talk about this week after week.  

And so what does that mean for you here? Is cutting off Bob in alignment with your values? No, you would have done it already. So how do you let go of Bob without cutting him off so that you feel okay about your course of action? And in my opinion, it's either helping him find a new job altogether, a new destination, and leading him away from the company.  

Or saying to Bob "Hey, you know, if you really want to succeed here, here are the expectations. And if you want me to help you, then here are the parameters. Here are the conditions under which I'm willing to help you" and be very, very clear about that.  

So that Ash is doing what he thinks is right and feeling good about what he's doing, because if he just decided to cut Bob off, he wouldn't feel good, he would continue to live with guilt. So what we're always trying to do is line up what somebody thinks they should do that's right for them, what's the right thing to do with what they actually do.  

Sometimes we want to challenge it. Is it really the right thing to do? Is it really your responsibility, Ash? And we might say to Ash: it's not your responsibility. However Ash might say "yeah, but there's a guy who needs a job". Right?  

So we don't want to, you know, take Ash's compassion, and throw it out the window. We like the fact that Ash has compassion. Right? But at the same time, we don't want him to self-sacrifice. We don't want to have him, you know, do things that are not in his own best interests for the sake of Ash. So the question becomes: Ash, what is in your best interest that could be a win or a good thing for Bob? And there's a solution there, right?  

To say "Hey, I feel like you're taking advantage of me. I'm happy to help you, but here's how, you know... what needs to happen in order for you to succeed and how I'm willing to help. And if you don't want to do that, then maybe this isn't the right place for you".  

And really there's an opportunity right here, right now for Ash not to be a peer, but for Ash to step up as a leader.  

[00:12:44] Ferne Kotlyar:
How so?  

[00:12:45] Kim Ades:
Well, people know that Bob is struggling, but if Ash takes Bob under his wing and say " Hey, I'll do that for you. And here's what I'm going to do and here's how it's going to work out", then what happens is Ash gives himself the opportunity to show, demonstrate his own leadership skills. So it could be a win for Ash, should he choose to perceive it that way.  

[00:13:09] Ferne Kotlyar:
Interesting. I like that. So if you were to give them one last piece of advice, what would it be? 

[00:13:15] Kim Ades:
It would be to, first of all, realize that his actions are not creating a win for everybody. In fact, they're creating a lose-lose-lose situation. So that's the first thing that I would say to Ash, is to kind of help them step back and realize something's got to change.  

And so when we keep doing the same thing over and over again, we think that there aren't any other options and we don't know how to change and we don't know, right? We're attached to what we're doing somehow. And so for Ash, the first thing and the most important thing is for him to understand that he's not actually helping any of the stakeholders involved here. So for him to step back and say "okay, well, I've got to do this differently".  

So that's the first and most important piece in this conversation, for him to say "okay, so now I'm open to a different course of action".  

[00:14:07] Ferne Kotlyar:
And then?  

[00:14:11] Kim Ades:
And then he needs to decide. Hey, does Bob have the skill set to succeed here? Or is it futile? And if he does, then figure out a more effective way to help him, one where he's meeting certain objectives and that he's respecting your time. If not, help Bob move to another place and stop carrying the way to Bob. 

[00:14:33] Ferne Kotlyar:
Fair enough. Makes sense. Well, thank you so much.  

[00:14:36] Kim Ades:
Thank you! I hope Ash succeeds with Bob.  

[00:14:39] Ferne Kotlyar:
I hope so too. [Laughs]  

[00:14:42] Kim Ades:
Thank you for this case. Another interesting and challenging case. For those of you who are listening, if you have a case that you want to share with us, please reach out to us. Ferne, how do they reach you? 

[00:14:53] Ferne Kotlyar:
Please email me that's fernekotlyar@live.com.  

[00:14:58] Kim Ades:
And you can reach me at kim@frameofmindcoaching.com.  

And if you have a case that you want to talk about on the podcast, as you know, I coach leaders live on Tuesdays, please send me your cases. We'd love to have you on the show.  

Again, thank you for tuning in, thank you for liking, thank you for sharing the podcast and we will see you next time. Have a great week!

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