The Platinum Rule – Always more Valuable than Gold

The golden rule has lost its shine. Treat others as you would like to be treated is great advice, but if you consider it as the end point of your professional and personal relationships, you’re paying yourself and others a disservice. If you want to show true and honest respect to your colleagues, friends, and loved ones, take one step further and follow the Platinum Rule: treat others as THEY would like to be treated.

Here are three questions to ask and one strategy you can use to follow the Platinum Rule:

  • How can I help?
  • What would be most helpful to you?
  • Would it be helpful to you if I…?
  • T.E.D.S.

How can I help?

This broad open-ended question is a great way for you to start the conversation by inviting the other person to share their perspective. Allow them time to consider and respond. It can be tempting to follow your instincts and do what you assume would be best for them, but by taking a moment and soliciting their thoughts and feelings, you’ll have a clearer picture of the challenges that they’re facing.

What would be most helpful to you?

Sometimes, the person you would like to support has so many things to manage, they don’t know where to ask for help first. This question gives them an opportunity to focus their attention on where you can alleviate the most stress and make the greatest impact.

Would it be helpful to you if I…?

If you think you have a solution that the other person hasn’t considered, this question allows you to confirm your assumption. You’re not presuming that you know best. You are inviting them to check your perspective. If they say yes, great! You know exactly what you need to do. If they say no, you can always ask, “what would be helpful?”

These questions are great ways to begin the conversation on the right foot, but once you’re talking about the issue at hand, it can be difficult to uncover more information while remaining open and avoiding repetition. Use the T.E.D.S. strategy to continue the conversation.  T.E.D.S. stands for:


“Tell me more about how this made you feel.”


“Explain what you usually do in this situation.”


“Describe what success looks like to you.”


“Share your thoughts on what I just offered.”

The T.E.D.S. strategy helps you understand more about the other person’s issues, concerns, and priorities. By continuing the conversation through your open-ended questions, they will naturally focus on what is top of mind. This will provide you with valuable insights into where your help is needed most.

By asking the right questions, you can shine brighter with the Platinum Rule and treat others as they want to be treated.

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