Written by Kelley Holland:  Words can hold tremendous power. Just one “no” can torpedo a marriage proposal, scuttle a vote in Congress, or terminate a business deal.

Another three-letter word holds even more power in coaching: “Yet.”

Add “yet” to any sentence that begins “I don’t know” or “I can’t” or “I’m not good at,” and it changes from a negative statement to a declaration of potential and possibility.

  • I don’t know how to cook – yet.
  • I can’t run a 10K race – yet.
  • I’m not good at saving money – yet.

Get the idea?

Creating a Growth Mindset


I wish I could claim I was the first to notice the power of “yet,” but many experts got there before me. Perhaps most notably, Carol Dweck, a prominent psychology professor at Stanford, developed the concept of the “growth mindset” to describe people who believe their brains can change and they can learn new things and develop new skills at any age. Neuroscience has actually shown that the brains of people with a growth mindset operate differently from those with a fixed mindset, who believe their abilities are impossible to change.

The best news about the growth mindset – the attitude of “yet” – is that it is attainable for all of us. Teachers can adopt practices that foster a growth mindset in students. And coaches can help clients embrace the power of “yet.”

One-on-One Coaching


Coaching focuses on solutions and on achieving progress toward a desired goal. To promote that process in clients, coaches help them expand their thinking, use their inner resources, and develop the confidence they need to progress. As clients learn to embrace their own strengths, their belief in themselves increases and they move toward possibility. In other words, they move toward “yet.”

The power of “yet” is especially potent when it comes to women and money challenges. Too many women tell themselves that they are no good at curbing their spending, or they can’t keep track of a budget, or they don’t know how their debt load will ever shrink. But if a woman tells herself she doesn’t know how to budget yet, it is an invitation to figure out how.

Still not convinced? Take it from a real expert. Here are Janelle Monae and the characters of Sesame Street extolling the power of a three-letter word.