A Coaching Power Tool Created by Guustaaf van de Mheen
(Business Coach, NETHERLANDS)
Every day demands are made on you. Decisions have to be made, priorities set and interests of your environment weighted against your own interests. Whether you want it or not everybody in their life is involved in numerous negotiations and decisions that effect what they are doing and influences where they end up in life.
Yes, I would say
Go with the flow. Open up to the opportunities others provide you. Be social and let yourself be surprised Go from one opportunity to the other like a butterfly drinks from many flowers. Drink from the millions of opportunities and experiences live provides you with.
The power of yes
Yes provides others with the opportunity to enter your life and to prosper. You can explore opportunities together and make a situation and relation grow. It explores common ground in a positive environment. Saying yes breaks through boundaries within you, within the other, the situation or the relation. By being positive and acknowledging another, creation and growth can start and be stimulated.
I would say no
Focus on yourself and what you want to achieve, base yourself on your strength and pay attention to your perspective only. Safeguard your sanity and assure progress to those elements that are important for you. Influence form outside can create distraction, making you focus on those elements that matter less or are distorting.
The power of no
No provides the opportunity to focus, forces you to make choices. Experience the blessing of limitations. Like a car needs friction to be able to drive, a human needs limitations to understand what really matters. Saying no takes into account boundaries and safeguards you from potential disaster. By understanding your limitations and those of others you form a fundament on which you can build in mutual respect.
Maybe or maybe not?
So what if you don’t want to say yes or no? Do not let somebody push you to choose. Ask yourself, why would you? It is much more interesting to explore objectives and limitations before you make a decision. What are different and common objectives? Describe things contextual. A simple yes or no ignores the many colors life provides in every situation. It can well be that there is an even better option than the ones presented to you at this moment. Create space for yourself and others to explore the other options you might have within the basis of your common objectives and limitations.
Yes if, or, no unless?
Have you explored the common ground? What are the objectives that you share and can you reach them through the suggestion made to you? Are the circumstances fitting within the suggestion and do they bring out the best option to co-operate? How can you make sure that you can create a fundament of limitations, with the ability to create growth on that fundament of common interest and say yes on a clear understanding of the limitations?
Connect limitations to opportunities by adding the word if to your yes or unless to your no. It is adding the limitations to your yes and the opportunities to your no. Most importantly it opens the conversation to your counterpart to create insight and further explore.
When you feel doubtful or overpowered by a choice presented to you take a step back and ask yourself whether the question asked to you is the right question to be asked at the moment. Go back to the objectives you have yourself the context you are in. Then look to the relationship you have with the person (or organization) presenting this dilemma and how you want to develop that relationship. What is there to gain or lose in respective of your own objectives and your relation with the outside environment?
You can analyze yourself at regular intervals and agree on what your objectives are, what your relationship is with the outside world and how the two should merge in activities. Would it be good for yourself to say yes more in this stage in your life and explore opportunities and relationships or to limit yourself and go back to the focus that might be important to you.
Are you more a yes or a no person? What do you like about it and what not? How can you change the parts that you don’t like? For a week evaluate the critical yes and no’s that you give to people in your life and think about other ways you could have answered the options asked to you. Are you giving the answers the depth they needed? Would there be a better answer to the question? Have you sufficiently taken both your own objectives and the relationship with the environment into account?
If you feel you are too much of a yes person:
- Give yourself the ability to plan your objectives by writing them down in bullet points. What do you want to have achieved in a year from now.
- Make a separate list of those relations in your life which objectives you feel are important to you or which objectives are connected to yours.
- Based on these two list judge whether options offered to you fit within what you want to reach.
If you feel you are too much of a no person:
- Think about the moments and times you are blocking initiatives or opinions of others. Or when it happened think about how you could have given a response that was inquisitive about the thoughts of others. What can you ask to explore the options to co-operate.
- List a number of responses that are not blocking and use them for a week. They can be either the open (yes if) response or if this feels more comfortable a more controlling (no unless) response. A response can also be acknowledgement about the idea while also expressing those things that are important for you, without giving a definitive answer. Leave the judgment or decision behind but do give the context.
- Give yourself the ability to improvise on small things. Let somebody else decide where and what to eat, or order the same meal as the person you have dinner with. Exercise yourself in being more flexible with these things and see what they can bring you.
Understanding the two ends of a spectrum and the paradigm in every coaching relationship is important to help mirroring the observations of the other person. Neither the no or yes of a client to its situations by itself is helpful in untangling the client’s problems and underlying beliefs. If the choice is too difficult to answer it is simply not a question that can be answered with yes or no (or a choice between two options). A coach can help a client to look at the dilemma from other angles and can give support in untangling the deeper lying motivation. The yes or no is the end result of created awareness and most of the times the outcome will not be the original two options presented.
When a client comes with the question of whether he or she should leave their job or take another job offer, the mere fact that they come with this question to a coach makes that it cannot be answered that simple. A coach can help the client to step back and answer other questions first, like what are your broader objectives. A coach can help the client to find new insights within what motivates the client really. Analyzing the pro’s and con’s of the two options presented will overlook a true solution and the complexity of lives decisions.
What if a client feels overworked, has a loss of direction or boundaries are not respected by others. If these are problems a client faces it could be a viable route to help the client create more boundaries and get limitations for this client better defined or better expressed. It can help to create awareness and work on understanding and expressing their limitations to others. Another option available is to develop clear personal objectives for their private and/or professional life together.
An exercise that can help is to let the client first name all the things they have to do in their live/on an average day/for their work.
Then let the client think about what they would leave if they needed to reduce the time they spend on work/the things they need to do by half.
Then ask the same question again reducing again by half, and again, again by half leaving roughly 1/8th of the things that the person is doing on a day. For a working day of 8 hours this would be one hour.
This helps to shape what is really important for the client, creates three layers of objectives and sets the priorities within those objectives very clear.
With people who say yes too easy it helps them to let them understand that the best way to say no to something is to say yes to something they want to do more.
The closest to a yes person is the “yes if” answer. If small steps can help than exercising “yes if” answers might do the trick.
Clients who tend to say no often end up in conflict, feel isolated or frustrated or feel often misunderstood. You can create awareness of the importance of relationships, by letting them acknowledge somebody else. For example by letting that person try to acknowledge another person first in every conversation and always answer with: “I understand what you are saying and feedback what the other person mentioned”.
What can help a person who tends to say no is to change from no or yes but, to yes and. In addition you can help a no person by showing this person how to ask questions and name hesitations about the subject. Lastly a no person can sometimes be helped by giving them the ability not to give a reply but listen to the response of others first.
A “yes” person or “no” person are two sides of the same coin. Both have a problem in letting go of existing underlying structures and underlying believes in their lives. It is a challenge to leave existing dogma’s and believes in their selves and how they should be. Creating awareness about this tendency can help uncovering underlying beliefs.
Last but not least: slow down
Take a deep breath and slow down, nobody or nothing can force you to take a choice against your will. Close your eyes and find your inner self. What does it tell you? Only through your own awareness you can find the right answer to all paths life presents to you. Only then your yes can be a true-full yes and your no can be taken with a respect for the needs of the other.