Joanna Lott Coaching

The truth about people pleasing and how to break free

A notepad resting on a desk with a pen nearby. The notepad has handwritten text that reads 'It's okay to say no'.

Overcome People Pleasing as a Coach: Say No to Burnout and Boost Your Coaching Business

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction: The Struggle of People Pleasing for Coaches
  2. Understanding People Pleasing 2.1. The Societal Expectations 2.2. Undervaluing Our Work and Time 2.3. The Challenges of Being a Parent and an Entrepreneur
  3. The Impact of People Pleasing on Your Coaching Business 3.1. Over-Commitment and Neglecting Your Goals 3.2. Undercharging and Devaluing Your Expertise 3.3. Work-Life Imbalance and Burnout
  4. Strategies to Overcome People Pleasing 4.1. Self-Reflection and Understanding Your Motivations 4.2. Setting Clear Boundaries 4.3. Practicing Assertiveness 4.4. Seeking Support from Your Network
  5. The Empowerment of Shedding the People Pleaser Label
  6. Conclusion: Prioritizing Your Needs for Business Success


When successful entrepreneurs meet, one topic that often resonates is the challenge of overcoming people pleasing tendencies. As coaches, we understand the desire to help others and ensure their happiness, but this trait can sometimes lead us down a path of over-commitment and neglecting our own ambitions and business goals.

Understanding People Pleasing

The Societal Expectations

People pleasing isn’t just about wanting others to be happy; it’s a deeply ingrained behaviour stemming from societal expectations, particularly for women. We are often taught from a young age to be agreeable, polite, and biddable, which can lead to a cycle of over-commitment and neglecting our own priorities.

Undervaluing Our Work and Time

One of the most significant impacts of people pleasing is the tendency to undercharge for our services, not valuing our work as highly as we should. This behaviour can particularly affect women entrepreneurs, though it may resonate with men as well.

The Challenges of Being a Parent and an Entrepreneur

For those with primary school-aged children, the requests for our time can be overwhelming. From reading with the children to helping with school trips and events, the invitations often seem to be directed more towards mums. It’s easy to feel like you’re not “doing your bit as a proper mum” if you don’t say yes to everything, but this can be detrimental when you’re trying to build a successful business.

The Impact of People Pleasing on Your Coaching Business

Over-Commitment and Neglecting Your Goals

Saying yes to projects that don’t align with your goals can be a slippery slope. While it’s tempting to help others by “picking their brains,” our time is precious, and we can’t afford to give it away for free.

Undercharging and Devaluing Your Expertise

Being nervous about charging higher rates often stems from the desire to please others and create something that suits everyone’s needs. However, undercharging can significantly impact your bottom line and contribute to work-life imbalance.

Work-Life Imbalance and Burnout

Many coaches, particularly women, juggle additional responsibilities like caring for elderly relatives, further stretching their time and energy. When running your own business, it’s crucial to carve out dedicated time for your work and personal life, but this can be challenging when boundaries are blurred.

Strategies to Overcome People Pleasing

Self-Reflection and Understanding Your Motivations

The first step in overcoming people pleasing is to reflect on why you feel the need to please others. Is it a fear of rejection? Is it a projection from others? Understand that people’s perceptions of you may not be as harsh as you think if you say no.

Setting Clear Boundaries

Define what you are willing and unwilling to accept in your business and personal relationships. Having clear boundaries in place makes it easier to say no when situations arise, such as requests to “pick your brains.”

Practicing Assertiveness

Start by expressing your needs in low-stake situations, and gradually build up your confidence. Sharing strategies with your network can be incredibly helpful, as others may have found effective ways to communicate their boundaries.

Seeking Support from Your Network

Surround yourself with a supportive network of women who uplift you and your ambitions. Having a community that understands the challenges of overcoming people pleasing can be invaluable.

The Empowerment of Shedding the People Pleaser Label

Shedding the people pleaser label is an empowering act. You’re taking control of your business and your life, moving closer to success with each step away from people pleasing. Additionally, you’re modelling positive behaviour for your children, helping break the generational cycle of people pleasing.

Remember, not being a people pleaser doesn’t make you less kind or generous. It simply means you’re choosing to respect your own needs and your business’s needs with the same dedication you’ve always given to others.

Conclusion: Prioritizing Your Needs for Business Success

Overcoming people pleasing is a journey, but one that is essential for coaches seeking to grow their businesses and achieve a healthy work-life balance. By understanding the root causes, setting clear boundaries, practicing assertiveness, and seeking support, you can break free from the cycle of over-commitment and undervaluing your expertise.

Your time, needs, and expertise are incredibly valuable. Prioritizing them is not selfish; it’s a necessary step towards building a successful coaching practice and modelling positive behaviour for future generations.

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Hi, I’m Jo, and I’d love to help you on your coaching journey. I spent 20 years in corporate HR but faced challenges balancing work and family. Refusing to settle, I ventured into coaching, seeking financial success aligned with my values. Overcoming limiting beliefs, I developed strategies to attract clients, leading to the creation of my Reliable Results Path. Now, I support coaches in achieving their goals through my Business of Coaching program. My values of honesty, personalization, and courage guide me, fostering a community of impactful coaches who believe in inclusivity and making a difference. More about me




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Hello and welcome! I’m Joanna Lott, and I’m passionate about empowering qualified coaches like you to build brilliant businesses.