Get Off Your Buts


Get Off Your Buts

By Sylva Leduc, MEd, MPEC, BCC SAGE Leadership Strategies


Buts 2

As a leader it’s imperative to recognize that automatic thoughts and words subtly work their way into our psyche. Positive thoughts and words can bolster results, while negative thoughts/words undermine results.  For Coaching Tips I'll share one of the tried and true exercises I ask clients to complete if they find they spend too much time on their buts.

Yes, I spelled the word correctly with only one "t" because I'm not talking about posteriors. I'm referring to the conjunction used in sentences.

For example, "You did a really good job creating that work plan but I want you to spend some more time reviewing and redrafting it."


People can feel criticized or undermined after someone inserts "but" when giving feedback. Three little letters with immense power to negate whatever came before.

"Buts" reinforce habitual, negative beliefs. When we unconsciously insert "but" into our own thoughts, the results can be equally as debilitating. "I could have met my goals last month, but I spent a lot of time on some extra projects." Here's another: "I'd love to exercise more, but I just don't have the time." Sound familiar?

If we are going to be better leaders, we need to get off our buts!

Try This But-Buster When I coach people who want to change their negative thoughts or responses, I ask them to try an effective (and slightly uncomfortable) exercise.

Try it yourself and see what happens.

Place an elastic band on your wrist. Then, listen for your "buts.” Each time you catch yourself snap the band. Not so hard that you raise welts - just enough to feel the pinch.

Change your "but" to an "and" and restate what you said or thought. See the difference? It won't take too long before you become much more aware of your automatic thoughts and your buts. At least I hope it won't take long. Learning shouldn't be painful -- just memorable!

Coaching Tip:  If you want to be a better leader, get off your buts, and replace them with positive thoughts and appreciative words.


About the Author

Sylva Leduc, MED, MPEC, BCCSylva Leduc is a sought after Leadership Strategist, executive coach, seasoned facilitator, speaker and published author. She has received the Prism Award (twice) for her Executive Coaching. Sylva’s coaching certification is from the College of Executive Coaching, where she is also a faculty member, teaches a variety of courses and mentors new coaches.

Her company, Sage Leadership Strategies, focuses on executive coaching, 360 feedback, onboarding, developing emerging leaders, team programs, retreat facilitation and strategic planning.

Sylva is President of the ICF Phoenix Chapter for 2013.

Office: 480-515-5511 E-mail: