Firstly, let me say that being a people pleaser is a great trait.  It’s got you where you are today, and no Coach should be trying to talk you out of being this way.  However, you know that on some occasions you end up biting your tongue and not saying what you know you should, and on others, you say yes to pieces of work that you really shouldn’t.

Learning how to think differently about pleasing people (and saying no) would be a game-changer.  Not to change who you are, but to be able to choose to dial the people-pleasing trait up and down a little bit would be immensely helpful.

To this end, it’s worth considering three things to help you be clear as to your motives.

Opportunity Cost

Firstly, by saying yes to this piece of work, what else are you saying no to? Every decision has consequences and there will be a real opportunity cost to spending your time on this project rather than something else.  When you consider that this piece of work has come from someone else, does it really add more value to your goals and objectives, which you are, after all, paid to deliver?


People Pleaser

Does this approach feel too self-centred for you?  Well secondly then, consider examining why you are saying “yes” on each occasion.  Are you saying yes to someone out of a deep-seated desire to be genuinely helpful and do what is in the best long-term interests of the person asking?  Or are you saying yes because it makes you feel good in the moment to be a helpful person?


False Economy

Alternatively, are you saying yes because of the false economy logic of “It’ll be quicker to just do it than to explain what to do, or to correct it when it goes wrong”?  I say false economy, because it may we be quicker on the face of it if you are just think of this situation in isolation.  However, it may be more telling and helpful to consider that in saying yes to doing this, you are effectively saying yes to doing the same thing for the same person, every time this arises for the rest of your working time together.   If we re-evaluate which saves time in this new way of thinking, over, say, the next year or even three years, then there is no way it makes sense to say yes.

Still a little too self-centred?  Well finally, consider what’s in the best long term interests of the person asking the question?  Are they missing out on a development opportunity by not doing it themselves?  Or, are they cutting corners asking you when they really should be managing somebody else to do the task? If so, then cutting this corner, masks an inefficiency in the way they (or the organisation) is operating which will be hidden and will most likely to grow if you just say yes.

OK, so you might be starting to change your mind about wanting to say yes too often, or to be too worried about pleasing people.  But how, in the moment, do you say No?

Please click on the links below for ideas to implement.

How to (professionally) say no to people

Delegate more effectively