The Ask For Help protocol allows you to efficiently make use of the skills and knowledge of others. Ask For Help is the act that catalyzes connection and shared vision. Use it continuously, before and during the pursuit of any result.


  1. Asker inquires of another, “[Helper’s name], will you X?”
  2. Asker expresses any specifics or restrictions of the request.
  3. Helper responds by saying “Yes” or “No” or by offering an alternative form of help.


  • Always invoke the Ask For Help Protocol with the phrase “Will you . . .
  • Have a clear understanding of what you want from the Helper or if you do not have a clear understanding of what help you want, signal this by saying “I’m not sure what I need help with, but will you help me?”
  • Assume that all Helpers are always available and trust that any Helper accepts the responsibility to say “No.”
  • Say “No” any time you do not want to help.
  • Accept the answer “No” without any inquiry or emotional drama.
  • Be receptive of the help offered.
  • Offer your best help even if it is not what the asker is expecting.
  • Postpone the help request if you are unable to fully engage.
  • Request more information if you are unclear about the specifics of the help request.
  • Do not apologize for asking for help.


  • Asking for help is a low-cost undertaking. The worst possible outcome is a “No,” which leaves you no further ahead or behind than when you asked. In the best possible outcome, you reduce the amount of time required to achieve a task and/or learn.
  • Helpers should say “No” if they are not sure if they want to help. They should say nothing else after turning down a request for help.
  • You cannot “over-ask” a given person for help unless he or she has asked you to respect a particular limit.
  • If you don’t understand the value of what is offered, or feel that it wouldn’t be useful, or believe yourself to have considered and rejected the idea offered previously, assume a curious stance instead of executing a knee-jerk “But . . .” rejection. (See the Investigate protocol.)
  • Asking in time of trouble means you waited too long to ask for help. Ask for help when you are doing well.
  • Simply connecting with someone, even if he or she knows nothing of the subject you need help on can help you find answers within yourself, especially if you ask that person to Investigate you.

Copyright © 2010 Jim and Michele McCarthy

(The Core is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. For exact terms see The Core is considered as source code under that agreement. You are free to use and distribute this work or any derivations you care to make, provided you also distribute this source document in its entirety, including this paragraph.)