Coaching Blog

Coaching Tip: Nine Ways to Say "No"

Posted by Julia Stewart

No!Many people find it really hard say "no". And, as you probably know, some people are harder to say "no" to than others. But not saying "no" when you need to can absolutely ruin your life, so it's important to learn to do it right.

Saying "no" is the first step in setting effective boundaries, which is a requirement for living a great life.

When you have the tools you need to say "no", you can open the door do being, doing and having what you really want. However, depending on how hard it is for you to say "no", you may also need coaching in order to incorporate this skill into your life. I became a coach, in part, to master this skill and now it's one of my coaching specialties.

I'm here to tell you that if you have a hard time saying "no", you're missing out on some of the best things in life, because you're not getting the chance to say "yes" to what you really want. That's one reason why hiring a masterful life or business coach is such a powerful game changer.

Whether or not you've already hired your own coach, here are some tips on how to say "no" effectively to almost anyone, including family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers who nag, plead, bully, etc. You will need to practice them in order to master them.

How much freer will your life be when you only say "yes" when you really mean it?

  1. The simple no. Do your best to say "no" with a neutral tone of voice. No edge, no charge. Simply say, "No", followed by no explanation. This is the most powerful way to say "no". A variation is: "I'm sorry, No." The key is to not offer an explanation. Explanations just invite arguments.
  2. The kinder no. Say, "I wish I could." (If necessary, follow with: "I understand. I wish I could.") This establishes that you're still a kind person, but you just can't. Again, no explanations.
  3. The preference no. Say, "I'd rather not." (If necessary, follow with: "I understand. I'd rather not.") This time, you're being clear that you have a preference and that preference is, "no". No need to explain it.
  4. The conditional no. Say, "I can't do it now, but I can do it ______." (If necessary: "As I said, I can't do it now, but I can do it ______.") This is a conditional "no". In some cases, you may be willing to say, "yes", but only under your conditions. Avoid trying to convince the other person that your condition is right. It doesn't matter who's right. (By the way, you have a "right" to set boundaries, even if you're "wrong".)
  5. The broken record no. If the other person argues, say, "Be that as it may, I can't." Repeat exactly this phrase and nothing else, until the other person runs out of arguments. Again, avoid engaging in any argument or explanation. This is known as the "broken record" response. The person that you repeat it to will run out of steam, eventually.
  6. The oh no. Just say, "Oh." This is useful if the other person tries to push your buttons, which is a common tactic of people who can't accept the word, "no." They most likely are upping the ante in order to engage you in an argument that they are used to winning. "Oh" is disarming, because it gives them nothing to argue with. Again, use a neutral tone of voice. Do your best to stay calm.
  7. The I'm not having a good time no. If the person you're saying "no" to persists, say, "I'm not having a good time and I'd like to end this conversation." If they still persist, say, "I'm not having a good time and I'm leaving."
  8. The stop no. If they still persist, "I'm asking you to stop." Stay calm. Next, "I'm requiring that you stop." Continue to stay calm.
  9. The traffic cop no. Finally, put your hand up, palm forward (think traffic cop) and repeat any of the steps above. This is extremely powerful.

If good fences make good neighbors, then good boundaries make great relationships, great careers and great lives.

Once you've mastered these nine ways to say "no", the energy vampires in your life will slink off to find other victims and the energy that you free up for your own life will be incredible. You'll also start attracting higher quality people. And paradoxically, you'll probably become a more giving person. Trust me on this.

These nine ways to say, "No" will help you build effective boundaries within which you can create your best life. If you need a coach to help you, I still take a few clients. If you want to help others create fantastic lives and careers, join School of Coaching Mastery. Either way, it's okay to call me at 877-224-2780 to find out.

Topics: business coach, life coach, School of Coaching Mastery, become a coach, Coaching Tip, Masterful Coaching, setting boundaries, say no

Coaching Tip: How to Ask for What You Want and Get It

Posted by Julia Stewart

GivingIf you have trouble asking for favors, it could be that your intuition is telling you something important.

Sometimes coaches assume that if clients have difficulty asking for what they want, they just need coaching to get over their resistance and learn how to ask. However, in many cases, it's really the client's inner wisdom that's stopping them. The client may indeed need coaching, but coaching the wrong issue is just a waste of time.

Here's why. Most people have an inner barometer that tells them where they stand with others. This barometer is either instinctive or intuitive, I'm not sure which, but for our purposes, it doesn't really matter. It's the barometer that holds most people back from asking for, and getting, what they really want.

If your inner barometer is holding you back from asking for what you want, what it's telling you is that you haven't been giving enough.

If you're someone who gives your time, effort, attention, care, acknowledgment, money or whatever to others on a regular basis, with little concern for how or when it will come back to you, most others will be happy to help you when you need it. If you just give to get, on the other hand, people will avoid you. And if you're someone who rarely gives, most folks will run the other way if you ask them for very much (except, perhaps you nicest relatives).

Giving without concern for getting is the surest way to get what you want pretty much all the time.

So why don't most people give more? What's this resistance really about? Well, some people unfortunately were brought up around people who don't understand this principle, so they were just never taught, but often there is a fear underlying the failure to give. This fear masquerades as a desire to not be seen as a doormat, or not to be "taken advantage of". Have you ever worried about that?

If you're concerned that giving more will cause people to take advantage or perceive you as a doormat, you've got a different kind of a problem. This is a matter of you and your own boundaries, not that other people are out to take advantage.

Any time you find yourself worrying that people might take advantage if you offer to do more for them, what you're really worried about is that you won't take care of yourself adequately by identifying what your boundaries are and communicating them. If you do that, few people will ever take advantage of you and those that do will be fairly easy to deal with. 

It's up to you to say "No" now and then and once you learn how, you're free to give with abandon and thoroughly enjoy it. Not only that, but people who tend to take advantage of others (known as "energy vampires") will naturally give up trying to get more out of you and focus on some other victim. Whereas people who are givers (Read: People who are good at saying "No") will naturally be more attracted to you and they'll be happy to help next time you need some assistance with something.

So when that resistance to ask for a favor, or a sale, or even a few moments of someone's time comes up for you, ask yourself what's it's telling you. If you haven't been giving enough, you've got some work to do and the first step is to set some boundaries.

To get more of what you want, learn to say, "No". 

Read tomorrow's blog post for ways to say, "No". 

Topics: Coaching, Coaches, coaching clients, How to, Coaching Tip, say no

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