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Thank you is more than you think

My friend has a foster boy of about 17. He came over one day asking for work and I asked him with the brutal job of repairing some drywall, sanding, and painting alone. It’s torture, I know! He visited, usually while I was gone, of-and-on, for a few weeks doing nothing but clocking hours. I don’t know why; he has a relatively fair fixed bid, I think my friend was counting hours 🙂

Finally, one day he asked me to come and judge his work. Each area that needed improvement that I pointed out his reply was

“Yeah, I know”

or

“Yeah, not that look somewhere else”

Finally, I asked him if he really wanted help knowing when he was finished and he looked at me with a puzzled adolescent look and said, “Yes, of course!”

We then had a long conversation (long for a teenager, it was only a few minutes) where I pointed out how I felt every time I offered a suggestion or help and he already knew the answer. It made me feel like my help was not necessary and irrelevant and encouraged me to no longer offer help.

Fortunately, as a coach, I understand when people say phrases like “I know” or “Yeah, Yeah” what they mean is yes, thank you for your help I get it now but is said in a self-preserving way. While the speaker may have an opinion that this turn of phrase is helpful, the reality is that is is very off putting to offer help and be told: “I know”.

Instead, we should merely say “Thank you”. When I first discovered this tip I was surprised at just how often I wanted to reply with ‘I know; myself!

Remember, a legitimate thank you is one of the most powerful phrases we have. Use it; be generous and forthcoming with your thanks for all the help you receive. You will find, the more thankful you are for the help the more help you will receive!


Ennis Lynch

Ennis Lynch

Ennis Lynch is a Professional Coach Based in South Florida. His primary area of coaching focuses on coaching Software Engineering Leadership. On occasion he does Agile Transformation work as well but prefers coaching at the Team and Individual level vs. the organizational level.


If you have ever wondered: is professional coaching right for me and you are a Software Engineering Manager, Director of Engineering, Director of Software Engineering, VP of Engineering, or CTO reach out for a free initial coaching session. See if coaching is right for you. Initial coaching sessions are the real deal, no hard-sells, no "here is what you would get if you paid". Individuals that receive a free coaching session will get a normal private professional coaching session of 90 minutes (30 minute onboarding + 60 minute coaching) and it will be up to you to follow-up if you want to continue with help on your journey.


Ennis is always gathering research through a team building exercise called the Ball Point Game. If you are interested in a team-level exercise and want to participate in a research project to further the field reach out. The exercise is free in South Florida (and really fun)


Ennis Lynch

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