What's your natural tendency -- to give support or challenge?

Too much of either is not good.

Watch this video to hear how I recently missed the markor read the summary below ...

Earlier this year, I was talking to a client who'd recently purchased the business from her father. She was in the process of hiring a new professional and had a candidate she felt strongly about. But she still had some lingering questions. She was concerned if she asked them, the candidate would feel uncomfortable.

I encouraged my client …

This is your company. You are hiring someone to assist you, the team, and your clients. You want someone who's a great fit. You have a right to ask all of your questions, even if some cause discomfort -- because you need all the relevant data to make the best decision possible -- for you, the team, and her.

After I encouraged my client with these words, I asked her how that felt. I hoped she'd say she felt encouraged, since that was my intent. But instead she said she felt scolded, then laughed. I felt the wind go out of my sails. The impact I'd hoped to have was not the impact I made. I apologized. My client said, "I know you're a Pioneer Voice."[A 5 Voices reference. See graphic below.] "You encourage with challenge." She was so right!

Because we have the share language of the 5 Voices and tools like this, the Support Challenge Matrix, she wasn't hurt by the high challenge I gave her. She was also able to give me clear feedback so I knew my attempt did not hit its mark and why. She needed  -- rightfully so -- more support in order to feel the encouragement I was delivering through high challenge.

The  Support Challenge Matrix is my favorite tool because I tend to encourage with high challenge. And most people need a high level of support to receive that challenge as I intend it -- as encouragement. Knowing this gives me something to aim for.

As this experience with my client demonstrates, I don't always hit my mark. But because I know what I'm aiming for, I can be intentional and succeed more often than I used to!

Consider this:

  • What's your natural tendency -- to give support or challenge?
  • Too much of either is not good. Aim to calibrate both -- high support and high challenge.
  • The best way to know how you're doing is to do what I did -- ask others to plot you on the Matrix.
  • If they need more support or more challenge to help them be at their best, ask what that looks like -- specifically.
  • Then be intentional to apply what they share.

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Melissa Mitchell-Blitch

About the author

A former CPA, my career started at a Big 5 accounting firm. As part of the Family Wealth Planning group, I saw the challenges of family business and family wealth. Those challenges often overshadowed the enjoyment of working with family. I was convinced there had to be a better way, but could not find anyone who could help navigate the intersection of family, business, and wealth. Determined, I left my career in finance and earned a Masters in Psychology.
In the almost two decades since, I have learned how families can thrive -- even when business is personal. Let me help you, your family, and its business thrive.

Let's talk about what matters to you.

I am based in Charleston, SC and serve clients across North American and abroad.

To schedule a consultation and see if we are a good fit to work together, please contact me directly via phone or email.