Kim Avery Coaching

Top Ten Ways to Say ‘No’ Firmly and Politely

by | 37 comments

I wish I could have it all, don’t you? Unfortunately, that’s not the way this life works. Every day we are faced with choices, and saying ‘yes’ to  one thing means we are automatically saying ‘no’ to another.

To realize your dream of a having a thriving coaching practice and to fulfill your God-given design you will need to make wise choices, God’s choices. This will require saying ‘no’ to a lot of other people and things.

Below you can find 10 different ways to say ‘no’ to the agenda of others so you can say ‘yes’ to God and to building the business of your dreams.

Top Ten Ways to Say ‘No’ Firmly and Politely

  • I’m sorry but that won’t fit into my schedule at this time.
  • It sounds like a great idea but someone else would be much better suited to the job.
  • I know that many people are fine with that, but it isn’t what God is calling me to do.
  • This is not the right time (or season of life) for me.  I’ll be sure to let you know when that changes.
  • I realize I have done that in the past, but I am not able to do it anymore. Please find someone else to ask because I am not going to change my mind.
  • If I had known earlier I might have been able to make that work, but it’s just not possible now.
  • I really feel like the person who thought of that idea (or caused this problem) would be the person who should take care of it.
  • It would be more appropriate for you to take that on yourself.
  • I make a point of not discussing personal information with others.
  • No

The last answer is the absolute best answer.

Why? Because it is true, straightforward and keeps us out of ‘explaining’ mode. The more we explain our ‘no,’ the more people come up with reasons why our explanation isn’t good enough. This puts us on the defensive and can ultimately lead to giving in.

Take a few minutes right now to prayerfully make a list of the things you are going to say ‘no’ to.

Congratulations!  You are well on your way to coaching business success.

What is your preferred way of saying ‘no?’ I hope you will take a minute to share in the comment section below. 


  1. Kim Avery

    Kudos – you made it through the first week of the Challenge. And amazingly, although you are taking just one business building step a day – so many of you are making tremendous strides. Great job.

    Don’t forget that we are taking the weekend off (although you can certainly market if you want to ☺). Enjoy every minute of your well-earned rest.

    I hope to see you back here Monday, ready for another marketing adventure with God.

    Have a great weekend,


    • Heidi Young

      Whenever I say no to something that someone has suggested, they always ask me to explain why. It’s never a good excuse anyway according to them.

  2. Frank Mason

    Today’s main activity was to invite all my facebook friends to “like” my coaching page. I sent personal messages until facebook threatend to ban me for sending too many! Then I posted an invitation to everyone on my wall. Followers are up from 75 to 101 and climbing steadily.
    Thanks for putting on the challenge. I’m enjoying writing my “Coaching – what’s it all about?” series, and have no doubt that it will all be a great help in launching my full time coaching practice.

  3. Mary Lou Caskey

    Today’s marketing- posting on Social Media sites, writing for newsletter and free offer and sponsoring and attending an open house.

  4. Lucinda

    Frank, I love your idea for Facebook and will be doing that in the next week or so — once I get this all set up! Enjoying reading the comments and being inspired with new ideas. Thanks everyone.

  5. Pamela

    I love the last one—-just plain “NO”. I’m guilty of giving an explanation most of the time.

    Today I am following up with the administrators and counselors at the local high school as well as with a few individuals and pregnancy center directors and board members that I met at a banquet this week. I also wrote another blog entry and will post it.

  6. Glenna Hiett

    “I usually would be happy to help you with this but with my schedule, please give me a little more advance notice.”

    Thank you for reminding me that there are things I need to say no to. I will make my list today! I pray I will be more attentive to the Holy Spirit even in the small things!

  7. Connie Skibbe

    It’s interesting that my pastor spoke on this subject this past weekend. As a young adult I was a “yes” person, but I’m older now and have streamlined my activities. I try to keep my husband, adult children, and granddaughter as priority. I’m in an amazing Bible Study with wonderful mature Christian women. I do one volunteer activity at my church and it is something I truly enjoy. At noon today I will be giving a speech at a local radio station’s Christian professional networking group. One more thing that I wanted to say about giving up things in our lives. Sometimes we need to give up activities and sometimes we need to give up attitudes. There are a couple of attitudes I’m working to give up.

  8. Laurie Fontana

    Looking over speeches at one other site.

    Making an intro phone call to 3 contacts that my State Rep gave me yesterday who are in a position to help me make Divorce Coaching a part of Texas Family Law. My Rep., Dwayne Bohac, gave me a great gift of encouragement, affirmation, and commitment to assist me in any way he can to seeing my vision come to life.

    A word of encouragement to all my fellow coaches in their marketing adventure. Talk about your dream, your vision, your call to coaching… to everyone in your life. You never know who or when someone will join you in making your vision come to life.

  9. MaryAnn

    The “no” that I’ve been trying exercise more lately is in response to people I lead in my church community: I like that idea! How would you like to make that happen? As a parent, I’m using “If I had known earlier, I might have been able to make that work, but it’s just not possible now,” or simply, “No.”

    I have soooo many marketing activities beckoning my attention today. After reflecting, I think my efforts will be best spent on a decision regarding my website. I just listened to Fran LaMattina’s talk from PCCI’s LIVE podcast (from January!) on Self-Leadership. My word study this year is on self-control – so I’m learning a lot about saying “no” to myself and not allowing myself to become distracted!

  10. Cate

    Your say No! advise was fun and helpful. I said No! yesterday and felt empowered. Today, I have checked out Blogs in my Niche.

  11. Shelly Guernsey

    I really appreciate this blog content. Sayin No to anticipate God’s best for us carries peace and contentment without the need to explain ourselves.(unless He asks us to).

  12. Shelly Guernsey

    “No, thanks, my schedule doesn’t allow for that.”

  13. Tina Cochran

    I really like this post…especially in the area of marketing I get caught up in “what if this is THE opportunity?” and lose my focus. Learning to say no with dignity should really help. THANKS! I like it so much I had to share it on facebook!

  14. Lisa

    I love your list! #10 is the most straight forward for sure. I have a hard time saying no to good things because I battle the people pleasing syndrome. My cleanest way of saying No without feeling that I am being harsh is “No. This isn’t for me. Sorry.”

  15. Kim Hawkins

    My preferred way is a simple no. When pressed I answer the question with a question: “Why do you want to know?” This makes it more about them and less about me and then my answer can still remain a firm no. One my big things I’m saying no to right now is being added to another email list. My inbox overfloweth! I’ve unsubscribed to several and am focusing on limiting what I subscribe to. There’s so much readily available online, there’s no need to have it all sitting in my inbox waiting for me to weed through.

  16. Kathy Cordell

    When I was going through life coach training we were given the assignment to create statements for our goals, vision, values, mission and purpose. I got stuck on purpose. The more I sat in my prayer chair, the more God continued to whittle down my statement from a large paragraph to just three words. For the last 3 years my personal purpose statement has been; My purpose is ‘to glorify God’. Before I say ‘yes’ to anything or drop anything from my schedule I pray and ask myself if what I am doing is 100% glorifying to the Lord in every aspect of my life. It is much easier to say ‘no’ now and exchange what is good for the best.

  17. Oge

    Thanks for the reminder Kim. Learning to keep God’s purpose for my life has helped me to say no to things that didn’t fit with this purpose. It has truly freed me from feeling guilty at saying no to things I didn’t feel called to.
    As part of my marketing I finished my April newsletter ready to send out tomorrow. I also included a spring cosching offer for my subscribers!

  18. Tracy Flori

    Business building step 5: My peer group from a previous class still meets bi monthly. We all agreed to hold each other accountable to submitting a 1 and 3 month strategic business plan to each other by today to be discussed at our Monday meeting. The power of peer groups!

  19. Renee

    I like the one that ends with “because I won’t change my mind.” Several years ago, someone was not taking “no” when I declined the opportunity to become president of an organization. Because the “push” was so strong, I quite the org altogether and haven’t been back for years. I don’t miss it.

    Thanks for the excellent reminder to say “no!” See you next week=)

  20. Frances Gollahon

    The best way I’ve found of saying “no” is to simply state (with conviction and confidence) “I find that’s not the best use of my resources at this time.” Kim that may have come from you on one of your blogs…regardless, it works, it’s polite and it’s kind to all, including me! “Resources” can be time, money, energy, interest.

    Today for the 15 Day Business Building Challenge, I reserved a meeting room at the library to give my business presentation, created a flyer and got permission to advertise the presentation. The library will do a bit of promoting, too. So now I’ll find another library and repeat it Monday!

    This Challenge is fun and helps me keep my own feet to the fire;)

  21. Holly Brand

    I agree that the best response is a simple, “No thank you. I’m sorry I won’t be able to do that now.” You’re right, Kim–it needs to be explanation-free. We don’t have to feel guilty or defensive about saying no to something that God is not calling us to do. I think most people respect a direct and honest response.

    My marketing activity for today was listening to Mary Sorrentino’s Tech Talk: Creating a Newsletter on Mailchimp (on YouTube). At some point when I am further along in this process a newsletter will be helpful.

  22. Pam Taylor

    WOW! That tracking thing is cool, Susan! And it worked for me the first time I tried! YAY!!! Now…Today’s 5th day challenge: I met with a potential client for coffee. AND I made my list of 5 things I will say “no” to. (maybe…hopefully say not to) UGH. Do I have to fess up about my “preferred” way? I don’t say “no” very often. So, I haven’t developed a “preferred way” and when I do say no, it is with lots of explanation. So, this sounds like a good coaching topic, ‘eh? 🙂

  23. Mark Thomas

    I have used some of these in the past and now you have taught me some new ways to say no. Took time today to list what I could say no to in my life that would free up time and energy for our coaching business.

  24. Sheila Kale

    I usually say, “I am so sorry. That sounds like fun, but I just can’t do it now.” That’s what I’m saying to a wildflower excursion next week. Today I participated in some specialized training for coaches for a denomination that isn’t even my own. Tomorrow I get an opportunity to coach a church group around what I learned today.

  25. Betty

    I usually make an excuse of another commitment. There is always something going on in my life. I really like the suggestions for how to say no. Tomorrow I will be passing out business cards at a Luncheon.

  26. Leigh Ann Hudson, Shine Forth Life Coaching

    Learning about how to do Tech Stuff on Podcasts. So informative!!

  27. Pamela Schoettler

    I am learning that the NO response decision starts with myself and procrastination OR “Is this what is the best use of my time, am I interacting with the appropriate resources or contacts?” Someone mentioned the Holy Spirit. Yes, every time that is who I should be listening to. Also, having identified specific goals for the Glory of God and His calling for me, I can be ready to respond confidently with a gracious no. I think it is a positive networking and advertising opportunity if appropriate, to redirect to another, offer another resource, or let them know if I think of something later on. Kind of freebie coaching advertisement so they know I don’t do that, but I do (what ever your niche is)
    *Action today was to listen to How to make a blog on Your website.
    I have a question that relates to NO:
    There is a strong encouragement to widen ones social networking base ie.Facebook. I have been saying no to many people because I don’t feel their postings reflect my position and attitudes. I wonder will I be judged by association with their pages,walls. At the same time I just nixed “advertisement’ sharing opportunities.

  28. Karen Pyne

    Day 5: When No is my objective, I respond by saying, “Thank you for thinking of me, but I have several long-term commitments that require me to say No to this opportunity.” The person asking does not need to know that those long-term commitments are family, business, or self-care related…and I do not explain. My activity today was working on identifying what should be on that “Just Say No List” and practicing the “No, not now, but I can do that for you at X time” with those who are nearest and dearest to me. Not easy, but boy did I feel a teeny bit of pressure list.

  29. Shelli

    Day 5: While I’ve become adept at saying ‘no’ to people and requests over the years, I have opportunities for growth in saying ‘no’ to longer work hours (i.e., returning to it after the family has turned in for the night – – like now, it’s 11:25 p.m. on a Friday night – – hello?!!), or spending too much time working in front of the computer/iPad. Today, I scheduled a social dinner for next week to meet up and connect with several people in the coaching group I host. I look forward to hearing more of their hearts, their concerns, their joys and laughter.

  30. MIchael Pfau

    Just tell people that it doesn’t fit with the focus God has for me. I think the hardest person to tell NO to is myself!!

  31. Kerry Iannone

    As I’ve been traveling the last several days, I haven’t had a chance to post. I am thrilled to share that I spent Thursday in a coach training seminar and had the opportunity to network with several coaches and many pastors, some of whom are interested in bringing coaching into their churches. Today (Saturday) I spoke to 325 ladies at a luncheon on Long Island and was able to share my heart and my business with them. I already had a visitor to my website who signed up for my free gift and monthly newsletter! I am very excited and am looking forward to meeting even more people at my next speaking engagement in May!

  32. Mark Myers

    Day 5: ‘Balance’ – The challenge for today! Coaching and Graduate-level Teaching? Sounds like a reasonable combination (most would agree). Passionate about both. But need to feel some of that coaching client capacity I have available. However, faculty stuff (preparation, grading, etc.) is consuming so much time. Today is a day to knock out my faculty responsibilities as much as possible but save some time for my business. Felt good by the end of the day as I took time to brainstorm some ideas for a presentation I’m making in June. Very refreshing to give myself that time.

  33. Barbara Solsaa

    Today I cleaned up my website some…not a very exciting prospect but I set it up a couple of years ago, haven’t touched it really and didn’t set up good filters for comments. Spent HOURS deleting spam comments 20 at a time (upwards of 40,000) These comments not only made my website look unprofessional but they also drastically slowed the time it took to load each page and to move around the site. The comments are all gone and the filters are all set. It is still a work in progress but I am much more focused on that right now so I can feel comfortable sending people there! Thanks for this challenge which has me recommitted!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Practice the Presence of God

 50+ Ways to Enjoy God All Day

Get yours today!


Success! It's on it's way.