Katie Baird's Quick Coaching Moment: How & Why To Say No

Welcome to our Quick Coaching Moment series with Scout Guide Houston Volume 6 member, Katie Baird of Baird Coaching. Once a quarter, our Scouted Expert will check in to share tools + insight she employs with her clients every day. Intended for readers at every stage of their life and career, Katie’s Quick Coaching Moments will cover everything from reflective journaling to beating burnout, offering deeply impactful, industry-leading insight with a healthy dose of good humor along the way. Learn more about Katie and the services she offers here and keep an eye on Instagram for the latest updates on Quick Coaching Moments.

Today, we chat about saying “no.” We’ll let Katie take it from here…


Whether it’s in a corporate setting or otherwise, research consistently shows women have a trouble setting boundaries at a higher rate than men, this also extends to the behaviors of people-pleasing, and avoiding direct negotiations.

Thus, much of my coaching work involves helping highly-motivated women recognize these actions in themselves and realize they have the power to break people-pleasing behaviors and form new, boundary-savy habits. In fact, it’s essential to maximize the their unique talents that will help them, in turn, achieve their unique goals, as such self-actualizing work almost always involves tough choices, hard decisions and the confidence to say “no.” behaviors and embrace their ability to change habits. Contrary to popular belief, saying “yes” to everything rarely rewards the person who is being overly generous with their time or selfless about their needs, as it leads to burnout.

Before you get further down the road to burnout (read more about burnout here), take a breath and start small. Below, I’ve included two simple steps that form the foundation for saying “no.” Ready to learn more? I highly recommend How Women Rise by Sally Helgesen and am always available for coaching sessions.


Experience the Power

We are almost constantly fielding requests: chair a fundraiser, organize a playdate, expedite a client deliverable at work, host the company holiday party. Learning to say no is such an empowering capability – namely because it can free your time and mental space to focus on what matters most or is impactful. But first, you need to experience that power for yourself, not just be told that there is power (and less stress!) in declining an invitation. Start small and say “no.” Then, use that newfound time for something you’ve been putting on the back burner that really aligns with your values or goals.

Shift the Needle

Struggling to say no for the first time? Whether you’re finding it difficult to turn down a project at work or decline another commitment at your child’s school, I encourage you to shift the needle by reconsidering the consequences of your decision. Try asking yourself one simple question before you say yes: “If I’m saying yes to this, what am I saying no to?” Or, more simply, “what gives.” We can’t do it all and that’s okay.


If you’re interested in more tips, resources and support, reach out to Baird Coaching for future-focused, facilitated self-discovery and collaborative coaching. Don’t forget to tell her Scout sent you!