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Helping: How to Offer, Give, and Receive Help [Kindle Edition]

Edgar Schein
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

By the bestselling author of Career Anchors (over 431,000 copies sold) and Organizational Culture and Leadership (over 153,000 sold)

• A penetrating analysis of the psychological and social dynamics of helping relationships

• Named one of the best leadership books of 2009 by strategy+business magazine

Helping is a fundamental human activity, but it can also be a frustrating one. All too often, to our bewilderment, our sincere offers of help are resented, resisted, or refused—and we often react the same way when people try to help us. Why is it so difficult to provide or accept help? How can we make the whole process easier?

Many different words are used for helping: assisting, aiding, advising, caregiving, coaching, consulting, counseling, guiding, mentoring, supporting, teaching, and many more. In this seminal book on the topic, corporate culture and organizational development guru Ed Schein analyzes the social and psychological dynamics common to all types of helping relationships, explains why help is often not helpful, and shows what any would-be helpers must do to ensure that their assistance is both welcomed and genuinely useful.

The moment of asking for and offering help is a delicate and complex one, fraught with inequities and ambiguities. Schein helps us navigate that moment so we avoid potential pitfalls, mitigate power imbalances, and establish a solid foundation of trust. He identifies three roles a helper can play, explaining which one is nearly always the best starting point if we are to provide truly effective help. So that readers can determine exactly what kind of help is needed, he describes an inquiry process that puts the helper and the client on an equal footing, encouraging the client to open up and engage and giving the helper much better information to work with. And he shows how these techniques can be applied to teamwork and to organizational leadership.

Illustrated with examples from many types of relationships—husbands and wives, doctors and patients, consultants and clients—Helping is a concise, definitive analysis of what it takes to establish successful, mutually satisfying helping relationships.

Product Description

About the Author

Edgar H. Schein is currently a Sloan Fellows Professor of Management Emeritus and continues at the Sloan School part time as a Senior Lecturer. He is also the Founding Editor of "Reflections" the Journal of the Society for Organizational Learning devoted to connecting academics, consultants, and practitioners around the issues of knowledge creation, dissemination and utilization. He has made a notable mark on the field of organizational development in many areas, including career development, group process consultation, and organizational culture. Schein has been a prolific researcher, writer, teacher and consultant. Besides his numerous articles in professional journals he has authored fourteen books including Organizational Culture and Leadership (over 153,000 sold) and The Corporate Survival Handbook (over 34,000 sold). He is generally credited with inventing the term corporate culture

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 376 KB
  • Print Length: 187 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 157675863X
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers (1 Feb. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005P2A6TI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #96,172 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helping & Humility 24 Oct. 2009
Helping is a behaviour response most of us embrace naievly, occasionally approprietly!
Schein expands this basic skill to something of a science. Helpfully, he explains the power gradient that arises in the Helping relationship, which when linked to our understanding of the role of humility in 'Servant Leadership' and 'Level 5' leadership offers a route to its practice.

Hence, great leaders have learned the knack of offering and recieving help.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wise man is still very modern! 3 April 2009
I read this book with a very thankfull mind. Schein is a very wise man in a time when speed and quick solutions rule. The book offers so much to reflections about your job, your relations and yourself, and it is not a cookbook for better life. It is a book that can help you to be wise and helpfull yourself. Schein says "When my knowledge has helped other people, then I know I know something" I can only say to Schein: "You know many things!"
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 24 Sept. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a superb book. I suppose after many years of learned writings, and practical experiences of consulting, it all comes down to something simpler. This is a process of throwing away all the complexity. This is what it looks like the author has been through.

We are left with the gift of the distilled wisdom of many, many years.

Boiling it all down to the simplest of human relationships, and one of great value and, indeed, love. Helping other people.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 27 Sept. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Insightful and easy to read. A must read for Consultants who desire to deliver efficient and effective service to clients.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.9 out of 5 stars  35 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another classic from Dr. Schein 4 April 2009
By Daniel R. Wilson - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Dr. Schein is one of the great names in organizational behavior. That said, why did he write a book on something as "obvious" as how to help people? It's because helping people is one of the trickiest things in the world to do right. You will agree with me if your attempts to help someone--or your failure to help--ever blew up in your face, or if you have tried to help people who really needed it and they turned a cold shoulder to you.

Dr. Schein analyzes the ego shifts that accompany needing help, asking for help, offering help, providing help, and so on. He explains the tenderness of the ego as it navigates through all of these shifting states.

He also introduced me to the notion of "social economics." For example: if I hold a door open for a stranger as we enter an office building I inwardly set an expectation of a thank you from the stranger. I think, "You owe me." It's dumb, but I see myself in that example. As the stakes get serious with co-workers, bosses, spouses, and friends it becomes increasingly important to be fluent with the social economics of the situation you are in.

This book has increased my sensitivity to the dynamics that surround the art of helping. I am also much more alert to recognizing the "state" of my relationships and to accounting for the social economics that are in play. I don't want to be unaware of a debt that someone has assigned to me, and I don't want to chalk up obligations that exist only in my own imagination.

This is a how-to book with wide applications, and I recommend it highly.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A helpful book 17 Mar. 2009
By Diantha Millott - Published on
Being in a profession where I am employed to "Help" others, (Personal Trainer) it is easy to fall into the trap of just telling people what to do without really helping them. This book dissects our relationships with others, both professional and personal, in order to better understand how to approach them in a more productive way.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful Information About Helping 15 Aug. 2009
By Larry Underwood - Published on
Edgar H. Schein has compiled a helpful guide for those who have difficulty in mastering that somewhat tricky & misunderstood task of (a) giving help & (b) receiving help. Clearly, with personal egos that come into play, there are ways of engaging others in such a way to make the process go smoothly. Of course, so much of that is handled poorly, and good intentions are nullified; the end result is often total chaos.

Typically, people in business who receive "help" from someone who is potentially "career threatening" (aka the boss), may think there are hidden agendas that come into play, and wonder if that person is really trying to help; or set them up for a backstabbing attack. This is an unfortunate, but all too common scenario in many organizations. The key is being able to establish an environment of mutual trust and respect; that creates a common bond between all parties and the spirit of teamwork usually comes into play; the results are usually favorable.

Although the advice given in this book is somewhat pedestrian, it is based on good old-fashioned common sense; and there's not enough of that going on anywhere lately. This book certainly helps!
22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Advice for all 19 Feb. 2009
By Edgar H. Schein - Published on
I am reviewing my own book to let future readers know that this is advice and analysis for the general audience because we are all in the position of offering and receiving help of all kinds all the time. Giving directions, helping kids with homework, getting advice from a friend, taking care of a loved one all have to be understood and managed to insure that the help will be helpful.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding contribution to change agents and helping professionals in every field 6 Sept. 2012
By David Verble - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is the latest by the person who first described the importance of culture within an organization. He has spent his career studying organizations and people in them and working in process consultation and organization and human development. He has contributed a long list of significant works to the literature of the field. This book is not, however, academic or theoretical. It is a very personal statement of beliefs about the role of the helping professional and speaks to other helping professionals at a personal level. It raises questions that can lead the reader to refine her or his perspective on the role of the helper and the practice of helping as both a professional and person to person. What does it mean to help someone? When is help helpful and when is it not? What is the role of the helped in being helped? For most of us helping is a one way process based on good intentions. This work redefines that process as a relationship and describes what is necessary for it to work for both the giver and the receiver. Schein further turns our notions of helping on their heads by introducing the belief that successful help depends on humility on the part of the helper (no matter how good his or her intentions) and equitability in the relationship between helper and the helped. If you are open to some deep reflection and significant new insight into how you operate as a helping person whether professional or personal I strongly recommend this book. It can reframe both your aspirations and your approach. It did mine.
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