Learning to Say No as a Coach

by Don Smith

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The other day, I got a text from a gentleman who was interested in coaching as he had just become a manager and was struggling in his new role. I told him I'd be happy to help as I have been in management roles for nearly twenty years, and sent him my scheduling link to find a time that works to discuss his goals in more depth.

He replied that he doesn't have Paypal (my scheduler automatically sets up a meeting after payment is received), and could I use something else for payment? I replied that I could do Zelle as an alternative although he should be able to do it even without an account. He tried to get me to use his preferred payment system, but by then I'd had enough.

“Sorry, those are the only two I accept.”

He texted a few more times, and I politely replied, “I'm sorry I couldn't help.”

The guy was probably a scammer, but even if it was real, I wasn't about to jump through hoops to get his business. There's a reason for that. If someone isn't willing to go spend five minutes setting up something as basic as a Paypal account to work with me, I'm not going to be able to help them very much as a coach.

If you do coaching very long, you realize you can't fix people who aren't willing to put in the effort. It's like walking into the gym and telling your personal trainer to lift weights for you because you want to get in shape. It doesn't work, and it's not worth your time. If you charge enough to make it worth your time, you'll end up with a bad review because they won't put in the work and won't get results.

I'm doing a thirty-day marketing crash course right now to help promote my workout challenge which is designed to help save lives. I'm in overdrive on it, working several hours a day on it after I get off work, sometimes until two or three in the morning because it's something I'm passionate about after having a close friend pass away from a heart attack recently.

I'm already getting results because I'm willing to put in the effort and actually do what is being taught. Many of the others who are in the challenge will probably walk away thinking it was a waste of time and money, although it's evident that the ones putting in the effort are already getting results.

A trainer can tell you what weights to pick up, in what order, how to do it, and how many times to lift them, but you have to do what they tell you if you are going to succeed. A coach can help you come up with a plan and guide you through it step by step, but ultimately you have to show up and do the work.

When I was first getting started as a coach, I was desperate to get those first few clients. I did stupid stuff like offering to do private coaching for free or for amounts that I could make working at Walmart for a few hours. Might not have been a bad idea on my first few, but today it'd be silly for me to do so. Giving away services destroys your credibility with people who are actually willing to invest in themselves and devalues your service. I'm not even taking on any new private clients while I'm doing this challenge, which funny enough makes people just want to work with me more when I tell them no.

I've learned to say no. No to people who waste my time. No to people who aren't willing to invest a significant amount of money and time into learning skills that will last them a lifetime. No to the guy who can't be bothered to set up a PayPal account. No to the guy who won't spend a few extra seconds to find my contact information if he wants to work with me. No to the entrepreneur who isn't willing to jump on a call at 6:45 AM if necessary to fix his business. I've got five kids to raise, a business to run, and no time for people who won't take a couple small steps to help themselves.

Who or what do you need to say no to?

Start Saying No


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About the Author 

Don Smith

The Personal Growth Channel founder, Don Smith also runs a technology company, has served on the board of directors for multiple companies, and enjoys seeing people achieve their goals. Happily married with five children, he lives in Springfield, Illinois.

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