Who do you need to say “No” to?

Yesterday I had this scenario.  A second meeting with a prospective client named “Mike.” Perhaps you have had a similar scenario…

Our first meeting was in his office, after a referral from a current client.  I met his staff.  I learned their needs.  I clearly explained the value of coaching.  He agreed to a sample session.  We quickly determined his strengths.  He summarized those strengths.  He defined possible focus areas for coaching.   He requested 4 days to discuss the coaching investment before our second meeting.  I asked him, “What will be different in 4 days that will enable you to say yes at that time?”  He had a slippery answer.  Regardless, we agreed to meet by phone for the second meeting, at which time he would say yes/no or define a clear future/ next step.

Then, yesterday, we met by phone.  He wanted me to “sell him on my services.”   I demurred.  I do not yet know the value of coaching to his small business. If he does some work, the  value will be vast.  He may  increase his assets over $100K in fewer than 12 months.  If he does not do the work, the value of coaching will be zero.  He did not like that fact.

After a few attempts back to his agenda, I stated that I was not likely his coaching partner.

There is an energy between people.  His behavioral energy was verbally competitive.  He needed to win the arguments.  So of course I let him “win.”

Rigidity kills relationships.

In fact, rigidity is the #1 career killer.  There are many competencies that can hinder a career.  Low empathy.  Poor communication.  Unclear expectations.  Unwillingness to listen.  Rigidity is the #1 career killer.

Think of someone  you avoid.  Are they rigid?

Now think of someone successful (however you define “success.”)  Are they flexible?

One reason I love my work is because I get to select who I work with.  I would much rather work with someone who is flexible, open to defining their future, than someone who is rigid.

A related example is the often quoted passage from Steve Jobs at Apple, that, “I am most proud of what we said “no” to at Apple.”

Throughout recorded history, which is only 650,000 years, the most successful people have focused on their goals.  They/we have said “no” to distractions.

A coaching question for you may be, “Who do you need to say “no” to today?