People pleasing is a topic that has come up many times before on the podcast, but I’m approaching it from a new angle this week to show you once and for all where you’re unconsciously trying to people please and how these tendencies make it impossible to be a truly confident and effective coach.
I had a client recently who broke down the math behind how she operated in her business, and I’m so glad she did because what it showed her was totally mind-blowing. She was presenting the classic desired result of people pleasers everywhere: she wanted every one of her clients to be happy 100% of the time because she had solved their problem. And while it can seem like solving people’s problems is what we’re in the business of, this is not how we get results as coaches.
Tune in this week to discover where you might be using people pleasing math in your own business, and how to instead start using Confident Coaches math with the simple equation I’m sharing with you today. I’m sharing why so many coaches get stuck in this place of trying to solve everyone’s problems, and instead how you can help your clients understand their brains and work it out for themselves.
You are listening to episode 69 of The Confident Coaches Podcast, the one where you break down the equations of people pleasing. Alright, let’s go.
Welcome to The Confident Coaches Podcast, a place for creating the self-confidence you need to do your best work as a life coach. If you want to bring more boldness, more resilience, and more joy to your work, this is the place for you. I’m your host, Amy Latta. Let’s dive in.
Hello, hello, Confident Coaches. How are my Latta Loves doing out there? Friends, we are already two months down. It’s so fun. It’s March. So good. I am so excited to be here with you all today. We are also just one week out from my very first live virtual event. It is on sale right now, Confident Coaches Live: Getting Unstuck. I am so excited and it’s only $97.
Listen, my friends, you can work with me here on the podcast and just have me in your head, have me in your ear every single week. You also get a chance to get some free live coaching and watch me coach people live – I was going to say onstage. I will be onstage. You will be watching via your computer. I’m very excited. I have a whole production team coming in. We’ve been working on it so hard behind the scenes.
It’s the first time I’ve ever done anything like this. It’s very exciting. This is a little bit of my barf club. If you listened to last week’s podcast, this is a little bit of the barf club I’ve got going on right now, is putting on a highly-produced top-notch, hair and makeup, the whole nine yards, a couple of videographers, assistants, still photography. We rented out a space. You’re going to want to be there. Check me out on my social media and find the link and sign up. Get yourself there. It’s only $97 and it’s a half-day live Zoom event. I’m so excited.
I’m also really excited because most of the time, I love sharing either client wins or reviews from Apple Podcasts. But I do get a lot of comments in my Instagram direct messenger. And I’m going to give a little listener shoutout today to Erin, who is @nutri_mom13 on Instagram. Erin is actually local to me. I’ve actually run into her at the store before. I’ve run into her at Red Robin before. And she’s been following me on Facebook for forever and now she’s listening to the podcast as well. She’s a nutrition coach, just like five minutes from me and that’s always so fun.
So, she dropped into my DMs with a little podcast review, and so I just wanted to share it with you. So, thank you, Erin. She wrote this.
She said, “I loved the crappy thinking episode where you compared your thoughts to the stupid things our kids say or want. I love you, but that’s a no.” That was one of my old podcasts where I talked about stop entertaining thoughts that don’t serve you.
Erin goes on to say, “It’s such a good analogy. I’m going to start saying this to my brain all of the time. You are the best.” Thank you so much, Erin. I kind of think you’re the best too.
I love this because sometimes it’s the simplest things that get you the solution that you are looking for and that is a total segue into today’s topic; simple things and finding the solution that you’re looking for.
So, we’re talking about people pleasing today, but we’re going to talk about it through a lens I’ve never talked about people pleasing through before, and that’s math. Okay, come back. Don’t run screaming. We are talking about people pleasers math today. But we’re going to make math fun. And listen, I just think we’re so far removed from having done math on a regular basis that we hear math and we’re like, “Oh my goodness, no. No math thank you. That’s why I’m a coach.”
But I actually really loved math and I was coaching a client in my private Facebook group, my January group. And as I was coaching her through this I was like, “Oh my gosh…” it’s like she’s trying to solve a complicated algebra problem. Her goal is a certain answer and it’s the wrong answer. Like, she’s trying to solve for the wrong answer.
So, my client was getting all caught up in her marketing and on her coaching calls with this thought, or actually this question; how am I supposed to solve this problem for them? She kept getting caught up in the solution. Her brain was so focused on, “I have to solve this problem. How do I solve this problem? I need to come up with a solution for them,” every time she was sitting down to do her marketing or she was in her coaching calls.
So, 100%, show of hands here, whose brains do this? If you’re not raising your hand right now, then you’re probably not the target market for this podcast.
The thought, “I need to fix this for them.” Now, we inherently know that that’s not what we need to do. Most coaches don’t advertise, “I fix your problems for you.” And we shouldn’t be advertising, “I fix your problems for you,” because that’s not actually our job. But your Helga brain, that inner cavewoman of yours, she’s a sneaky little bitch. Yes she is.
You’ll say that on the surface, “No, I don’t fix people’s problems. I show them everything. I hold space for them. And they solve their own problems. They figure out the solution.” But we will sometimes be like, “But only because I tell them what the solution is.”
Deep down underneath the surface, what’s happening is we’re looking for validation that we are a good coach. We’re looking for validation that we’re good at marketing, that we’re good at sales. And honestly, that we’re just good enough in general. Isn’t that kind of the human condition that, we are all struggling with the belief that we are good enough as huma beings. And maybe we can achieve that by showing ourselves and showing our clients that we can hand them the solution that they need for the problems.
It’s kind of like this, “Oh no, I don’t fix my clients. I don’t tell them what to do. But if I can coach them really well, I will be able to show them what they can’t see and offer it up. They still totally get to decide, but it’s only obviously because I’m such a brilliant coach and I totally guided them directly to the ideal solution because I knew exactly what it was that they needed.”
And we get caught up in that. And why? Why do we do this? Because that is not actually our job as coaches, to provide the perfect solution for our clients’ problems.
Now, some of you might be believing that. Some of your brains might be hurting a little bit, so I invite you to stay with me here. I’m going to tell you exactly what our job is and what is the math problem that you should be solving for. We’re going to get to that in this episode.
Because ultimately, a people pleaser needs other people to be okay with them so that they can be okay with themselves. We are looking for outside validation. Validation of our coaching skills, our marketing skills, our sales skills, our human beingness skills.
And here’s the problem with this, people pleasers. Outside validation, it isn’t even a thing. Because validation comes from us. If I’m going to feel validated, I feel validated because I’m thinking a certain way and no one can control how I think. Validation comes from our thinking. Not anyone else’s thinking.
Because somebody I respect and admire can stand right in front of me and say, “Amy, I think life coaching is a bunch of bullshit and this is a terrible way to earn a living.” If I’m looking to them for validation, that’s going to completely undermine me, right? But I don’t need their thoughts to validate myself. I can be like, “I think this is an amazing industry. I love my job. I think this is the best possible thing that anybody could do. I think this is amazing. And they’re just clearly confused. They clearly do not understand.” I validate me.
And yet, we will clearly jump through hoops and do a song and a dance, we’ll be like, “What do I got to do to make you think that I’m good enough or that I’m okay enough so that you will validate me?” And we will wrack our brains to ask the perfect questions that will absolutely 100% solve their problem in one coaching call or less.
Like, the idea that a client would get off of a call still in confusion or unclear or not knowing exactly what they’re going to do next, this is a newer coach’s and even some seasoned coaches’ worst nightmare because the thought will be, “I didn’t solve the problem and I need to solve the problem.” And the only reason we think we need to solve the problem is because ultimately, we are trying to people please. We want them to be okay with us, so that the client thinks you’re amazing, so that you can think you’re amazing.
“If they’re happy, I’m happy. And if they aren’t, oh boy…” that’s the problem with people pleasing. We actually have zero, nada, zilch control over anyone’s thoughts or feelings, but damn do we try really stinking hard to control other people’s thoughts and feelings about us.
We will do all manner of manipulation to try to make sure that everybody on the other side is okay with us, is happy with us, thinks that the coaching is going well, it’s completely connecting with the marketing, thinks that sales call is fantastic so they’ll say yes and they’ll pay me money and then I can coach them and then I can solve all of their problems and then everyone will be happy.
It’s just all around a bad bag of soup, my friends. It’s not good. It’s no bueno. And that’s all what was coming up for my client. Her goal was to believe that she could give her client the solution. This is not a belief I advise any client to practice believing, “I can provide solutions for my clients.”
That’s one thing, “can provide the solution for my client all of the time in every call.” Not necessarily a good belief. The general belief, “I can guide my clients to the solutions that they need,” is one thing. But, “I’ve got to provide the solution for my client right now,” that’s where it gets a little bit hairy.
And I asked her why. I really challenged her, why do you need to give your client a solution? And her belief was that her value as a coach is solving the problem. And then she laid out the math for me. This is the little math problem, she literally typed this out onto Facebook and I was like, “Oh my gosh, it’s like a little people pleasing algebra here. Find the problem plus create the solution equals everyone is happy.
Whoa, did you guys catch that? She’s trying to solve a problem where the answer is everyone is happy. Wait, what? Why on earth? Why on earth would that be the answer we are seeking as coaches, right? People pleasers, this is going to hurt, my friends, but I’m inviting you to stay with me because I am going to give you the mathematical equation you want to strive for.
Because it’s really important that you understand, the last goal that we have should be everyone is happy. That should not even be in the room. This is not what we are going for. We are not going for everyone is happy because growth is not happy. It’s freaking hard. Your growth is uncomfortable as hell. Your clients’ growth is uncomfortable as hell. We are rewiring brains that are resistant to change. We are learning how to stop listening to our Helga voices and instead lean on our Gigi voices.
It’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. It’s much easier. It’s much more desirable for your brain and your entire existence to not do this. It’s so much easier to not do it.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t bring joy into the process. You can absolutely learn to incorporate fun into the discomfort. We have fun in all we do is a motto literally on a sign in my office. Like, it’s hanging on my office wall behind my desk. It’s one of the first things I see every time I walk into my office every single day is that sign.
So, this doesn’t mean that this is grueling and awful and terrible. But happy, that’s not really the goal we’re going for, right? Like, I can enjoy this. I can have fun. But it’s going to be uncomfortable. There’s going to be a lot of discomfort along the way.
So, imagine trying to solve your coaching algebra equation and the only known was the answer had to be, “Everyone is happy.” What on earth do you have to do in order to create that? Just even think about that. Think about this in your life.
I want you to step aside for a moment and think about this in your life. If you’re trying to live your life so that everyone is happy, that’s impossible. Friends, I am a mom with a 21-year-old stepdaughter, I’ve got an almost 15-year-old teen boy, a 12-year-old boy and a husband. There is never everyone is happy around here – the dog – that’s not even a math problem I want to entertain as the mom in charge around here.
And anybody else who has a spouse or has a family or has friendships or has any kind of family dynamics is like, “Yeah, that’s not the goal we’re going for.” So, why is that a goal we would be going for in our business? Why would that be a goal we’re going for in our marketing? Yeah, even in our marketing, in our sales, in our coaching, why would that ever be a goal? Because it’s a near-impossible goal to try to achieve.
Even think about that. What are all of the variables at play that you have to solve for in order to get that answer? We’ve got to read their mind, know exactly what they need to hear all of the time and anticipate their every reaction to whatever you might say. I can’t even imagine all of the other things we would have to try to solve for so that everyone is happy.
Like, listen, I’m pretty damn good at math. But that equation is painful as hell. And just in general, people pleasing in general is always going to involve trying to solve for impossible variables. Like, in your marketing, hundreds or even thousands of different people are going to read your post or listen to your Clubhouse or your podcast or whatever or watch your Facebook live.
And this algebra equation just starts looking really crazy, right? You’re like, “Okay, I’ve got to be enough of this but not too much of that. I need to be strong here but not so strong that I’ve got to make sure I still have a touch of softness over here and I need to be outgoing over here but not overbearing. And I need to share those strong opinions but not so much as to put people off. I don’t want to make anyone mad. I want to be firm but I don’t want to alienate.”
It’s impossible, friends. And trying to solve for all of that so that you can get to the answer that everyone is still okay with me, everyone still likes me, no one will be upset with me. Can you see how if that’s what we’re always trying to solve for, you will never find the perfect equation.
You’ll be bringing in geometry and calculus to try to solve that shit. I mean, it’s basically – technically it might be possible that there’s one Einstein genius in the world that’s figured it out. And they’re not necessarily any better off than you are right now.
So, even my client played around with her equation a little bit of what she wanted out of her coaching and her marketing, but she was still trying to solve for people pleasing algebra where find the problem plus create the solution were part of the formula. And she did come up with a ton of different solutions and possibilities, you know, be willing to only create awareness and uncover their real work and let them have their feelings and love them through that, be willing to feel the discomfort when the solution isn’t what they want it to be, be willing to get it wrong, make a decision and evaluate, trust that the client knows what’s best for themselves, be willing to say the hard thing and risk the relationship, be clear.
And listen, none of those solutions is wrong or bad. It’s more complicated than it really needs to be because here’s really the people pleaser’s math that everyone needs to remember as a coach. The answer is always show them their mind, and that’s all.
The math is super-simple. It’s like, love the human in front of you plus be present plus ask questions equals showing them their mind. And at the end of the day, it is your choice. Try to solve the near-impossible equation of everyone loving you and everyone being happy and everyone being okay with you so that you can feel validated and you can be happy and love you and spend all of your energy in that.
Imagine, as soon as I said that, I had this visual of a giant chalkboard that we see in movies covered in math equations that none of us even understand. You could be that person who solves that math problem. That’s like a Good Will Hunting kind of math solution.
Or you could go for the simple math. You could go for the simplest answer is always the best answer. Love the human plus be present plus ask questions equals showing them their mind. And start with you first, and then them. And you can do this math every day. Start with you first in your self-coaching. What does that look like to love the human that is you? To be present? To take a moment and be present with the human that is you and to ask questions of the human that you are with in that moment, and that is you?
And then, listen to that human’s mind and be willing to look at it and question it and say, “Is this really what we want to believe?” And then, we can turn that math problem onto them in your marketing. What does that math equation look like as you’re writing your post and your email, in your sales? What does that math equation look like on a consult call when you’re talking to somebody and you’re saying, “Hey, let’s talk about becoming a client?” What does that math problem look like in a coaching session with your clients from week to week?
Spend some time with that math and just see how much easier it is when you drop the complicated people pleaser’s math for the much simpler Confident Coaches math. And that’s really what this comes down to, my friends, is just remembering that people pleasing is always complicated. And your willingness to drop the people pleasing is actually so much simpler.
Because when you love you and you are present with you and you are willing to question your own brain, you don’t need other people’s approval and love and validation. You can say those things that are really important to you. You can do all those barf club ideas from last week because you aren’t trying to people please, you aren’t trying to make people love you because you love you. When we keep it simple and we bring it back to the basics, simple math problem every single time.
Remember the Confident Coaches math, my friends, and that will take you far. Alright, my friends, I can’t wait to see what you create, and remember, until next time, go do epic stuff.
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