In Art Of Coaching Podcast, Podcasts

“What a letdown! I expected more…”

We’ve all felt this way when something fails to meet our expectations.  It’s one thing if it’s a product we bought off Amazon or an over-hyped movie, but what if it’s something bigger?  What if a misstep in communication hurts us professionally or negatively impacts a personal relationship?  

Today’s episode is your how-to, practical guide to setting and managing expectations.  If done well, we can preemptively address potential misunderstandings and conflicts and allocate more of our resources where we need them most.  

Over the course of this episode, we’ll discuss:

  • The reasons setting expectations is critical from a psychological standpoint
  • Practical steps to earn trust with new colleagues 
  • Aspects to consider when establishing new boundaries in a personal relationship
  • Speaking points you can use tomorrow with your team to jumpstart buy-in

This episode was directly inspired by questions submitted by our listeners.  If you’d like to submit a topic for us to cover in a future episode, visit  If you want a deeper dive into anything we do or want hands-on guidance on a personal issue, we offer live events and virtual one-to-one mentoring.  For options email us at – we’d love to help!

Today’s episode is sponsored by Momentous.  Let’s be frank, most supplements are BS.  The industry is full of overhyped charlatans that underdeliver products that do not work.  Not Momentus.  Their mission is to provide practical nutritional support for people who want to improve their health and fitness.  Their supplements go through the rigorous process of NSF certification, so you can trust what is on the bottle is what you’re ingesting.  They’re a longtime partner of ours for good reason – they believe in the same things we do.  Fundamentals NOT fluff.  Visit to SAVE 15%!

This show is sponsored by Better Help.  Are you someone who’s social battery can run low?  Many of us struggle at setting boundaries and allow ourselves to get worn down, especially when we’re trying to help others.  Not recognizing when it’s time to seek help yourself can have dire consequences.  Luckily, our friends at Better Help can help!  They made it very convenient, as it is entirely online and suited to fit your schedule.  All you have to do is fill out a brief questionnaire and they’ll match you up with a licensed therapist who will listen and help you recharge.  Go to and receive 10% OFF YOUR FIRST MONTH!

Come join us for The Apprenticeship In Calgary, Canada June 22nd & 23rd!  Whether you’re a people pleaser that knows you need to be better in conflict, somebody who wants to improve how you interact with your staff, or a parent who wants to connect better with their kids, this event is for you!  We go over: persuasion techniques, power dynamics, how to control your emotions during a conflict – and most importantly, we do it in a fun way.  Rich with feedback and opportunities to connect with people from other professions, this hands-on learning experience is something you won’t find anywhere else.  Sign up before April 21st to take advantage of our Early Bird Discount and SAVE UP TO $200!  This will be our last trip North of the border for a while, don’t miss out!


Brett Bartholomew  00:10

Hey, quick personal note here. So

Brett Bartholomew  00:11

I’d appreciate if you tune into this. And maybe I shouldn’t share this. But I’d really like to just fight running a company that is largely focused on communication and understanding power dynamics and human interaction,

Brett Bartholomew  00:24

I fall short a lot. My wife and I have been together for 13 plus years, we get in arguments, we fight, I lose my cool sometimes in many areas of my life. And for a long time, I felt like that made me a failure. And then what I realized is, it’s exactly what we talked about at Art of Coaching and why our products exist, none of us are ever going to be good enough at communication. My doctorate doesn’t mean that I’m going to be a perfect communicator, the fact that I write books on this doesn’t mean that I’m going to be a perfect communicator. And if you already feel like you’re good enough in your professional life, well, then I just asked you to consider if you’re where you want to be in your personal life, do you interact with your spouse, or your partner, your significant other, the way that you want to do you always show up for your kids the way that you want to? I think if you’re being honest, we all fall short. And that’s where our work can help. We don’t do a bunch of pie in the sky solutions. We’re real people who have real flaws just like you. But we take a research backed approach and an experience led approach to help you improve in those areas that matter most. So if you want to improve as a communicator, whether it’s for your job, whether it’s for your loved ones, or whether it’s for yourself, personally, check out what we do at We have virtual mentoring that you don’t have to leave your house for. We have live workshops where you can connect with other humans, anything that sits at the intersection of relationships, leadership, or entrepreneurship, we have solutions for so join us. We’re a bit of a group of misfits, we’re imperfect. But I can promise you this, there’s no way you’re going to get involved with any of our programs, and not come away with actionable insights that transfer to every part of your life. So reach out to us once again,, or you can email us to direct We would love to help. 


Brett Bartholomew  02:11

Hey, if you’re somebody that has been wanting to improve your health for a long time, but you just don’t know what supplements to trust, what brand to trust, and frankly, it’s just turned you off to all of that, I get it. But one company you want to check out is Momentous. Momentous has been a partner of the Art of Coaching podcasts for a long time and with good reason. They believe in fundamentals, not fluff. More importantly, everything is limited ingredients independently tested, it shipped internationally, they just do things right. So if you want to know what’s actually in your supplements, you want to trust that you are actually ingesting what it says on the bottle, and you don’t want to take risks with your health. Go to now and as an Art of Coaching podcast listener, you can save 15% on anything. Again, it’s If that’s too much to remember, just go to their website and you can use code Brett15. So, again, if you want to make sure that you are putting stuff in your body that has tried, true and tested, go to now

Brett Bartholomew  03:29

Welcome to the Art of coaching Podcast. I’m Brett Bartholomew, and at a young age poor communication nearly cost me my life. Now, I help others navigate the gray area of social interaction, power dynamics and communication so they can become more adaptable leaders, regardless of their profession, age or situation. This podcast is for everybody who is fascinated with solving people problems. So if you’re in the no nonsense type who appreciates frank conversations, advice you can put to use immediately, and learning how others navigate the messy realities of leadership. You’re in the right place. I’m glad that you’re joining us. Let’s dive in.

Brett Bartholomew  04:16

I want you to imagine something for a moment, reflect on a time where something whether that was an experience such as a vacation going out to a new restaurant, a product you bought, whether that’s a tool, a car, a laptop, whatever, did not meet your expectations. didn’t meet it. What did that feel like? How frustrated Did you feel that you wasted time, money or energy on something that didn’t get back to you in the way that you expected? And you really have to internalize this. Just think about that. Maybe Maybe you even started contemplating, I know I’ve done this, what I could have accomplished if I had gotten that time back. 

Brett Bartholomew  04:55

I remember one time I went to a conference I thought it was going to provide a ton of value and it just ended up being a very big waste of time. And I remember, I don’t get much time with my family. This was at one point in my life where I was just working constantly. And I just sacrificed all of that to do this. Man, it was just frustrating. I’ve thought the same thing to even if I get like a speeding ticket, we try to be really smart with our money. So if you get a speeding ticket, I remember I was moving for a job. Three, I got a $300 speeding ticket going through West Texas. And I thought, man, you know what I could have spent that on. I didn’t go out to get sushi this one night. Now I could have done this. So we get frustrated. 

Brett Bartholomew  05:35

Now, maybe for some of you that trade off is no big deal. But too many when our expectations are not met, or they’re not managed, that can set off a cascade of negative feelings, thoughts and emotions, right? So here’s the thing. We had a listener reach out and remember, all of you can reach out and send in questions. If you want a podcast episode on a certain topic, a deep dive, just go to And the question this week was grounded around the idea of, hey, I went into a new job. I really wanted to do well, in this leadership position. However, the staff that was already in place was pretty jaded, there was a lot of turnover. And I just feel like no matter what I do, I can’t make headway. And they’re just distrusting right off the start. We had another person say, when I speak, I often feel constrained because I only have 30 or 60 minutes, I put a lot of expectations on myself. It just always feels like I’m letting people down. How can I gain peace of mind, and not just feel like no matter what I do, I’m going to not live up to my own expectations. So there was a clear theme of setting expectations. Now, over the course of this, I’m going to give you a lot of speaking points. We’re gonna talk about various principles, I’m going to do my best to talk about some aspects of how to do it in the professional world, some aspects of how to do it in your personal life. But I also want to set expectations, there’s only so much we can accomplish with one episode. And my goal is to keep these things highly practical. 

Brett Bartholomew  07:06

Alright, so a quick reminder that if you want a deeper dive on anything we do, or you have a personal circumstance, that you’d really like hands-on guidance with, or our most up to date methods. We offer live events and virtual one to one mentoring. And we have worked with hedge fund managers, strength coaches, members of law enforcement, doctors, physical therapists, even those who work with troubled youth. So you can just reach out to us at info@artof And we’ll go over options. Again, that’s We’d love to help. 

Brett Bartholomew  07:39

Okay, so we know that by establishing clear expectations, if we do it well, we preemptively address a lot of potential misunderstandings and conflicts. The overall goal is just smooth execution and deeper relationships, whether that’s with your staff, your loved ones, what have you. And so the key word here is really one of efficiency. You could also think of alignment, and all these things that allow us to save time and resources and really underscore our capability to manage or lead effectively. 

Brett Bartholomew  08:09

Okay, so let’s knock out some of the obvious but often undiscussed, meaning the reasons as to why setting expectations is so critical, from a psychological standpoint, why it’s worth your time, even if you think you’re really good at it already, to continue to go back to the well and work on this. One of the more obvious ones, is improved clarity. When we set expectations, it provides a clear framework of what’s to come. And that reduces cognitive load, we all have so much on our minds, we’re all so busy, we’re overwhelmed, we want to reduce cognitive load, we want to know what to pay attention to what’s going to be on the exam, we just ran our three day facilitator course where people can come out and train with us and go teach all over the world. And there are numerous days that there’s content we have to cover, because what surrounds the core content is important. But I also have to make note of, hey, you’re not going to be tested on this aspect, you are going to be tested on this aspect or everything you do in this next practical exercise will be something you need to do again on day three. So pay attention recorded if you want to, I try to make sure that I reduce that cognitive load. Because when we know what to expect, our brains can more efficiently allocate resources, right to help us process that information, prepare responses and adjust behavior. So that clarity is really, really huge, because getting somebody’s attention is hard enough. Now, if you’re clear, you can allow people to selectively channel it. I’ll give you another example. 

Brett Bartholomew  09:42

When we do our Speaker School course it’s coming up in June. We tell people right off the bat, Hey, your first talk is going to be impromptu. We’re going to do it within the next two hours. This is not supposed to be a great talk. This is supposed to be a chance for you to almost just get everything out that you want to get out within a timeframe will help you shape it will help you organize your thoughts and ideas. But right now we almost need just a garbage talk. And That immediately puts a lot of our attendees at least they’ve said, at ease because they’re like, Wow, I’m, I feel like I don’t even have to perform, I can just get up and say a bunch of things and not be mentally constrained by all this information. So there’s a lot of options there. Within reducing cognitive load, it also reduces sorry for the repetitive use of that term anxiety. 

Brett Bartholomew  10:35

Alright, heads up, this is your last chance to join us in Calgary on June 22nd and 23rd, whether you’re a people pleaser, that knows you need to be better in conflict, whether you’re somebody that just wants to improve how you address your staff, how you talk to your kids, how you get over self limiting beliefs, or just how you enact leadership in general, this event is for you, we go over persuasion techniques, power dynamics, how to control your emotions under conflict. And most importantly, we do it in a fun way, you get a lot of feedback, you get a lot of opportunities to connect with people from other professions. And overall, if you’re somebody that just believe you learn through hands on approaches and interacting with others that have diverse perspectives, you will enjoy it, I promise you, we keep the small group, highly interactive, very practical. And most importantly, you’re going to take away something that transfers to every part of your life, whether it’s parenting, business coaching, you name it, again, this is going to be June 22 23rd, it’s the only time I’m going to be in Canada this year, and really, for the next 18 to 24 months. So go to art of Now, that’s art of Within reducing cognitive load, it also reduces sorry for the repetitive use of that term anxiety. And so a lot of these are interrelated. When your audience knows what to expect, it doesn’t matter if it’s our toddler who prior to recording this, I just utilize this. I said, Hey, buddy, I need you to help mommy at the grocery store. And then when you come back, we’re going to drive down to the airport, it’s going to be a little bit of a long drive, but we’re going to bring some of your games along with us. He’s like, okay, I get it now. Whereas anybody that has kids knows if you don’t tell them what to expect, and even if you do sometimes, but just bear with me, let’s not be contrarian on everything. If you don’t tell them what to expect. Those kids have poor emotional regulation, they haven’t learned that yet. So it’s like, when are we going to be there? I wanted toys I wanted this. If you do give them that expectation, can say, hey, remember, buddy, what were the five steps we said we needed to do? Okay, we’re gonna get in the car, we’re going to be on the road for a little bit, then we’ll get out your toys and have a snack and you’re able to just you’re outlining what’s going to happen. You’re outlining what you’re going to cover how they’re going to engage. And the more you can preemptively address a lot of those questions and concerns that otherwise occupy their minds, the better. So here’s the practical exercise, right? Whatever your context, just think, if I was in their shoes, what would be the main things that would be worried about? And then because you don’t want to just you’re gonna have your own bias, we all have bias, reach out to a family member or friend or somebody else and say, Hey, if you came to this, I’m just trying to check my blind spots. What would you be worried about? And that and that takes time? That’s a very, very worthwhile exercise.

Brett Bartholomew  13:32

When we started our Business Mastermind for lack of a better term, it’s called the coalition. Before we even worried about a website or anything, I thought, Okay, what would I be worried about? And I immediately I’m like, I always had a bad taste in my mind of mastermind stuff out there. I’ve talked about this before, when I wanted business advice, it seemed like the only options were stuff that was just focused on, be get rich do this, all these things or have the it just seemed all very superficial or very exclusionary be in one industry, or you have to just want this one thing. So I’m like, that’s what we need to address right off the bat, that this isn’t for just the get rich sell this, you have to be in this industry cloud crowd.

Brett Bartholomew  14:16

I want everybody to know that regardless of their experience, level or expertise. They’re welcome. And there’s different levels. And we’ll address that

Brett Bartholomew  14:24

I want them to know what the calls are going to be like. We have four different types of calls and meetings. We have some that are more themed, like how to scale your business when you’re at this point. Some are more check ins,

Brett Bartholomew  14:36

where are you at? What What have you accomplished within the last 20 days that’s really been big for you, whatever, we have all these pieces. So you get out in front of this stuff. That is critical, critical, critical, even if you’re in a new relationship, just being able to say hey, I’m not somebody that holds on to the past. That said, you know, my Last partner was a bit jealous. So it may take me a minute or two, to get used to the fact that you’re so open. I know I had to do this with Liz, when I was in college, grad school, I don’t remember. But we’ve all had a jealous partner. By the way, we’ve all been a jealous partner. I’m not trying to paint anybody in any kind of light. But I do remember there was a time where I had to be very careful who I talked to, or anything like that, especially because I trained female athletes for a living. And that can make somebody outside of the industry at that time insecure. So when Liz, my current wife and I got together, I just remember, she almost was just laissez faire, she didn’t really respond. And so I’d say, hey, just so you know, like, I didn’t mean anything by that, or I didn’t I remember like, I tried to smile a good bit. So I had smiled at a waitress and she said, Do you want anything to drink? And I’ve got the deep fakes on this stuff for artificial intelligence are going to be bad if anybody decides they want to cancel me. And she was like, I don’t care. Like I know you. I mean, that’s not a concern to me. So I try to bring that up, because we get so many different questions about application. And we get people that ask us about relationships, or entrepreneurship or leadership. So I hope that’s helpful. Just get out in front. And don’t feel like it has to be some big, nuanced monologue, just say those things. 

Brett Bartholomew  16:18

One other piece that I’ll say is I just presented at a clinic, and I just tried to let people know, hey, I’m aware of how I can come across, I know that I have intense features, I know that I speak in a relatively direct and intense way, I do that as a gesture of respect. And this is just my communication style. I’m not trying to come off as punchy, or rude or combative. So if I am coming off that way, please just know that’s not the intent. And just raise your hand if it’s off putting beyond a point where you can’t focus. And I’ll try to adjust because I just need to remember sometimes to change my tone. Somebody came up right after that. And they’re like, I love that, you know, because I’m somebody that doesn’t do well with direct communicators. And that just really helped ground it, because I don’t know you that well. And so recognizing, you’re not going to be able to do that for everybody. And there’s certainly not an expectation for you to just kowtow to everybody’s insecurities. But the main point is just let them know how to receive you. Let them know how to receive you, because that’s a huge piece there of their own emotional regulation. And, and uncertainty, right, we want that ease of the unknown, a peace of mind, setting expectations of what you are going to be able to accomplish, whether it’s your first 30 days on a job, within a 60 minute presentation, in my case, within a 40 to 60 minute podcast that gives you peace of mind. And this is something that took me a while to get comfortable with. And remember, tips and strategies and phrasing is going to come right now we’re just talking about psychologically, why you want to double down. So I used to think anytime I was brought in to speak or do an in service, I would just go overboard in terms of I tried to bring it all I tried to bring so much information, so many different applied activities. And I would get really down on myself. If I felt like I didn’t make an immediate change. Or I don’t know, I don’t even know what response I was always looking for. I know that I just wanted feedback in some way, shape or form to know if I was doing my job well. And then I just realized some of what I’m trying to do is just not realistic. And I’m a natural born giver. But there was also some times where there is an asymmetry, I’d bring my all, but maybe an audience wouldn’t. And then you’d feel guilty if you didn’t get the results you want. So that’s something else that I say, if any of you have me come to speak, and I recommend you do this, if you speak or present or doing services for others, just get out in front and say, Hey, I have 45 minutes, 60 minutes, I’m not going to be able to cover everything. But this is what I’m going to focus on today. So if there are additional questions, and there should be because part of the idea here is we’re going to bring new information, inevitably not all of it’s going to be able to be covered in surgical level detail, reach out to me afterwards, because I’m happy to talk to you about everything that we have that can go deeper. So I just want to encourage those of you that maybe don’t manage your own expectations. Well remember that, especially if you’re not somebody that’s ever done a podcast or led a staff meeting or done an in service or given a lot of 30 to 60 minute talks. Sometimes you might be judging other people and it’s like you, you’ve never really done that. So you don’t understand just how hard that can be to distill that. And that takes time. So gives you peace of mind just saying, Hey, I’m going to set some boundaries here is what we’re going to cover. 


Brett Bartholomew  19:37

And then finally, you know, it builds trust through alignment. When you set expectations you get out in front of things that helps with relatability whether it’s the example of me giving, hey, I’m a direct communicator, or these are the things I’ll be able to go over or I’m not gonna be able to cover everything in my book conscious coaching, but we are going to cover the overarching concept of conflict resolution and persuasion today. All of that helps create associations, opportunities for callbacks to certain material. It also says to the audience, you respect me by taking the time to even address any expectations, you respect me enough to get out in front of this. And that’s, that’s meta communication that’s really framing how you want it to be received and showing that you, you are somebody that is thought about them. Don’t underestimate that. You create consistency, as well. Right? And that’s critical. And overall, just making sure that you think, Alright, if there’s a checklist, have have I shared information. And you don’t need to do this every time. But if I shared information about my intent, the values or principles that underpin this, the why behind the work, right, that gives them context to say, Okay, this is where Rebecca is coming from. This is where Clint is coming from. And there’s some transparency. And that allows your audience to really see themselves in that journey. And this was something I just have to do, too, when I was training athletes saying, Hey, today is going to be a bear. And I know how it feels, by the way, when your body’s beat down. I’m not you guys. But you know, I competed in the sport in college, I’ve certainly felt that before. So I’m going to do my best to give you adequate rest. And we’re all we’re stretched out at the end. But I just need you to go through hell with me today. Same thing when I go and do I remember the first time I wouldn’t spoke for an organization that they had said that at a previous speaker they had brought in that talked about power dynamics and communication. And it wasn’t great. So I felt like I was paying for the sins of the father, I remember I went in, I said,


Brett Bartholomew  21:39

Hey, I understand that you’ve had other people come talk to you about this, I’m not going to speak on their work, because I don’t know them. Here’s my promise to you, you’re not going to leave today without these three things. And if you do feel like you didn’t get them at the end of it, come talk to me, and I’ll make sure I do better. I just need you to go on this journey with me. So I can’t, I’ll do my best. But if you don’t want to engage or interact, and then you said you didn’t get anything out of it, I just need you to assume that accountability as well. Right. So you might phrase that differently, there’s no perfect way. Just say what’s meaningful to you with that, so that it facilitates deeper meaning, and resonance. That’s what allows people to engage. So finally, you know, what you should know is setting expectation just mitigates conflict. And that is the thing that most people hate more than anything else. A 2007 article, and apologies to the authors, if I mispronounce it by Schneider and soukous noted that when we’re talking about the social domain, any communication between people, whenever individuals interact with new acquaintances, we always bring our expectations into those things. And that’s, that’s what guides our interaction. So the translation there is that we judge really, really quickly. And for those that have read my first book, conscious coaching, which just turned seven, by the way, you can find it on Amazon, I talked about this concept of emotional appraisal or judgment where essentially without getting too into the weeds, there’s a part of our brain called the posterior cingulate cortex, and it interacts with the amygdala and others, I promise not to get too into the weeds. But the bottom line is, it is the same part of the brain that is active when we make bets when we assign value to an object, such as the latest smartphone or a set of golf clubs, or what we think of a speaker who just jumped on stage. And this is important for you to know, because you want to be aware of your judgments. This is tied closely to what’s called the Pygmalion effect, which is in for those of you that are in the research space, you might have also heard this, or heard of this called the interpersonal expectancy effect. All it refers to if you’re somebody that’s not interested in the research at all, is how our expectations of others, Percy, like how our expectations of them, how that impacts how we respond to them and interact with them, and then in turn, how they respond to us. So okay, I don’t like this person. They seem like they’re full of it. So when I ask a question, there’s probably going to be a little bit of snark in my voice, or that may come across, and then they’re gonna snark back to me, or I might perceive it as a snark, because I don’t like them. It becomes this self fulfilling prophecy. So have you heard from somebody, Harold is full of it. And then you watch Harold, I don’t know you download a webinar or you watch him speak. You see a social media post, and you already have this in your mind this negative stuff that somebody else said. And then Herald is inherently imperfect. you internalize that and it just keeps that feedback loop going. Let’s ground this in a different circumstance related to the listener that reached out. Imagine your workplace has faced a lot of turnover. I mean, really high turnover rate. And within that there’s been minimal positive change. They keep telling you it’s gonna get better. We’re going to bring somebody in. Well, that That leads to this pervasive sense of skepticism, really, amongst a lot of team members. And so let’s say a new colleague, we’ll call him Alex is set to join the team, you get the announcement, the email, whatever it is, and you still, you know, you’re like, alright, well, who’s this guy, we’ve seen a lot of these people come and go. And so the team’s initial reaction to Alex is one of skepticism and indifference, those past experiences have led to just assuming, alright, he’s not going to stay along, he’s just going to toe the company line, we’re not going to get much. And so eventually, like, a lot of times, what happens is the team preamps disappointment by setting low expectations, not really getting emotionally involved. And I know this is something that one of our facilitators dealt with, they just thought, Okay, I really care about these people, I really care about this organization. But the organization, there were some skepticism, and they’re not from everybody. So no matter what she did, it was just there was very tough for them to buy in. So continuing to go with this case study, imagine Alex starts. And the team’s engagement is really minimal lack of enthusiasm, people not showing up to certain meetings, or skill improvement sessions, whatever, it they’re not overly hostile or overtly hostile, rather, but they’re just, it’s marked by this form of almost benign neglect, I don’t care, I’m not going to invest in this relationship, because it’s futile. Well, the impact that has on Alex then is now Alex or you, you enter this environment with, with these expectations, you start to feel isolated and undervalued. And then eventually, you can become cynical and just not be motivated, right, you’re like, I’ve


Brett Bartholomew  26:38

tried this, I’ve tried that, none of it works. And then you do start contributing less, right? Or you do start contributing ideas that aren’t well received, but you’re just reaching for anything. So the end result of that coming full circle into what’s called the Pygmalion effect, is that self fulfilling prophecy? The team’s low expectations, and their lack of support leads to a self fulfilling prophecy. So he reflects Alex’s behavior reflects those expectations, so on and so forth. Now, if Alex doesn’t quit try, and he just keeps working harder to bring great ideas or earns their trust, that is no longer the Pygmalion effect. All right, that isn’t it. So again, thank all right, I went to this event, I had low expectations, therefore, I’m not really going to engage, because I just feel like I anytime I’ve been asked to share a story or get up in front of the audience and introduce myself, I’ve been made to look foolish. So I’m gonna withdraw. Wow, now I see the presenter or the host of the event is not interacting with me much. Or maybe, you know, they’re, I feel like they’re picking on me, that’s going to lead to me continuing to demonstrate this negative or avoidant behavior, which changes there. Right. So that’s what you want to avoid. And I really want to speak to you that maybe you’re doing this stuff and you don’t know. You have to think about that. So the main take home on this point, before we transition into a new part of the pot is episode is expectations are very much self fulfilling prophecies, I’m going to say this, again, expectations are self fulfilling prophecies, what we expect of people, situations, circumstances events, is often what we get that’s influenced by an article in 1984, written by Baker, but it’s very common sense. I want you to ask yourself, where your expectations of a thing are contributing to that and ask others. 


Brett Bartholomew  28:34

When we had somebody that came to our recent apprenticeship event, or one of our more recent ones, he shared that it surpasses expectations. And I said, Well, what were your expectations? And he said, Well, when I know that you work on communication, or whatever, I just, I don’t know, I don’t really, I don’t see much of that stuff out there. So all I can think of is what you see in motivational seminars or whatever, I never thought I’d have the opportunity to come role play, learn all these tactics, and just like really get a lot of practice for situations I deal with in my work life. So in essence, I guess it’s just a lot more practical than I thought it would be. 


Brett Bartholomew  29:09

And so I remember I used to take offense to that now. I’m just, hey, I’m grateful. And I need to think of a way to speak to it better so that people like don’t have that. So I’ll ask him, What could I have said, which is great advice for many of you as somebody that maybe you converted, and and say, What would you have said, but then just also be ready for the answer of them saying what he said, hey, it was mainly me. I don’t know that there’s anything you could have said I just wasn’t at a point in my life where I would have received that message. So you know, if you subconsciously look for evidence that somebody is angry with you, a product may not be for you. Somebody is a fraud or they’re smarter than you or you think somebody’s aggressive, lazy, whatever, you are going to be more likely to find evidence of that. That’s confirmation bias. That is very problematic. Also, probably thematic, by the way, when we do that with kids, or people we perceive as difficult or egocentric, just because they challenge us, or make us feel insecure. Right? That’s, that’s an issue. And I think about the kid thing too, because I just remember, we, our son goes to daycare, and I was having a conversation with somebody, I’m like, How do you like working here, and this was a daycare that we went to in Georgia, as person, I was just like, I just feel like kids are different. I used to love that and just went on and on about negativity with the kids. And I just thought, why are you working in a daycare, if you bring that attitude in here, especially with these, these little humans, and they don’t know how to monitor their attitude, and they don’t know how to perceive you, or or check that perception, you’re gonna get that you’re gonna get kids that feel uneasy and uncomfortable around you. So, all in all, setting expectations is a way to really prime that purpose, prime people’s upset perception. And priming is a really important term here, because of how much our judgments and evaluations are influenced by the initial messaging we receive and all those pieces. And if you follow Robert Cialdini, he talks about this as pre suasion. Right? So it’s not just about reducing anxiety and building trust, by setting those expectations enhances safety. 


Brett Bartholomew  31:16

Alright, so how do we do it? One, right, whether you’re transitioning into a new leadership position, or listen, start by listening more than you speak, to understand their concerns and their aspirations. I just got this question again the other day from somebody that said, if you took a new job today, what is the best advice you’d give to somebody? And I said, listen, he said, I know. But that advice is given a lot. And I said, but it’s not followed a lot. Okay, you’re looking for a magic term. When I say, Listen, I mean, you’re taking notes, you’re really encoding this. I’m sitting there so that everything everybody says I’m writing down phrasing, I’m writing down words, I’m connecting the dots with themes. Because this then allows me to be able to translate what I’m going to say in their, in their terms. This was a core part of my book conscious coaching and something we say in general, 3-R approach, research, relate, reframe, if you want to be more convincing, if you want to build more buy in, if you want to be able to build that trust in a way that is not snarky, or superficial, or saccharine, or any of that, then you need to understand their concerns and have everything you speak to relate back to that. And they will know if you’re making it up. I promise you, they will know if you’re making it up. So don’t performatively just use their terms. Think about that. So when you listen, and you’re writing terms, and you’re doing that, you say hey, I remember and we’re correct me if I’m wrong, that you said one of the issues is blank, blank blank. First of all, is that correct? Yes, that’s correct. All right. Here’s what I’m suggesting. One of the ways we can address blank is by doing this. Now you’re getting in the weeds with them, okay? 


Brett Bartholomew  32:58

So when you listen, use that as a springboard to be able to relate and reframe your core message. You’re not doing it well enough. I don’t care how well trained you are, I don’t care how amazing you are. I do this for a living, I don’t do it well enough, you really have to remember, none of us do this stuff well enough. You have to be obsessive about trying again and again and again. Okay, so when you listen, you lead with compassion. You listen with openness. It’s critical. And you want it allows you to also be more detailed and transparent. Think about that. One of the biggest issues that people have in the workplace is they’re not clear on their role. They’re not clear on their What do you expect from me? What is my role? What do you want? And even if your role is multifaceted, being able to at least tell them what you don’t want, what they shouldn’t focus on any of those pieces. That is very, very important. And there’s a jump off exercise you can do right there. Think about everybody on your team or anybody you need to address. What do you not want it? Similarly, if you’re in a new romantic relationship, what do you not expect if you’re somebody that wants to spend time with your partner, but you want to get it across that they can definitely do their own thing? Just say, Hey, I am not one of those people that needs to have you around every moment. I know you have your life, I know you have your friends. But it would mean a lot to me. If just two nights a week, we could spend time together like this. That’s important. Okay. For those of you that are taking new roles, or might in the future, here’s some other speaking points you can use. Right? So you get in and this is how you get ahead of it. You could say something like I get it. I’m the new person walking in. There is absolutely no reason for you to take my word on anything just yet. But I am here to earn your trust. I don’t expect it. I’m here to earn it. So I’d love to know what a pressing concern is that you have that I can address right away. It can be that simple. There’s another option. Now let’s say we want to focus our messaging on communicating our vision and values clearly You could say, Hey, I recognize that you’ve seen a lot of people in this position come and go, all of them had their big plans. I’m sure you’ve seen some PowerPoints, I’m sure some of them broke it down on a whiteboard. I very much do not want to wallpaper over issues with grand visions or anything of a sort. I just want to talk about what’s actually working, what’s not working, and realistically where we can go from here. So let’s get that out on the table. Let’s lock that in. And then we’ll continue to build off those things.


Brett Bartholomew  35:32

And listen back to that, put your own spin on it. Remember, these are not me saying, Hey, I’m the best in the world that this is just me as a communication strategist. As a Communication Coach, try not to be vague, trying to give you things that you could consider. Now let’s speak to let’s give an example of being transparent, right the matter like speaking point, that’s themed by being transparent about changes in expectations. You could say something along the lines of You don’t need me to tell you that changes can be unsettling. I’ve been in your shoes. And I’m not saying I’ve experienced that, like you. But I’ve certainly experienced my fair share of change. I am not here to shake things up just for the sake of it. So if you can help me figure out together what needs evolving or refinement and why I’m absolutely open for any suggestions or concerns you have now a way that I use this recently, where would I I remember, I was getting into the weeds with a presentation and it could very easy, it’s actually gonna be related to a topic I’m going to discuss on the podcast, it was why we need to understand the concept of complexity, if we want to be better leaders, communication strategists and the like. And, and what I had to say, just because I knew I was getting into the weeds is listen, these next couple slides are going to be bit deep. But I need you to trust me on something, I don’t leave my wife and my family just so I can come here and like wax philosophical. If I’m telling you something, I promise it matters. And more importantly, it’s very much related to the solutions I’m going to give you at the end of this. So please give me the benefit of the doubt. And let’s dive in something like that. 


Brett Bartholomew  37:10

Where am I? Now I want to see I had some notes here. I’m not going to do all of these. Let’s see. Let’s say we want to do one on modeling the behavior you expect. I will not ask you to do anything I’m not willing to do myself. So if there is a gap between my actions and my words, please call me out. And let me know an action that I can take now or this week to show I’m very serious about this. Getting to make sure that I’m not being a hypocrite. Where I try to do this is even when we do our role playing and improv stuff at the apprenticeship, I jump in, there’s some days where I absolutely crush it. There’s days where boom, it got me to, but then I can laugh it off. And either way, because failure is a learning opportunity. And we very much want this environment of experimentation people. They like that. They’re like, wow, I don’t have to put on a show here. Let’s see each support. Sorry about supporting resources. Last Last phrasing example. I understand that many of you feel like you haven’t had the support you needed. And that’s certainly not a buzzword to me. I want to know what support means to you so that I can provide you with what you need to get the job done. Tell me what’s missing. I’m not going to be able to fix everything overnight. And there might be some things I can’t do. But I can definitely start somewhere. And I want to know the nitty gritty of what you feel like you need to do your job more successfully. Now inevitably, we’ll get questions like what if they say they need like $100,000 And you don’t have the budget? Fine, but you address that. And that’s another speaking point. But don’t get too caught up on that right now. Just think about how you would phrase certain things, put the time in to craft a message. Do that, I mean that that alone can be more proud. Please, please, please. And I’m being edgy here because I just I want some accountability. Don’t just listen all these fitness and health or financial podcasts and do the work there. And then not do it on communication. It’s so huge. All right. 


Brett Bartholomew  39:06

Some other tips very practical. When in doubt, ask, you know when when goals, wants, needs, fears, etc, are all better understood, or people feel like they gotta voice those. You reduce misunderstandings. And that ties back into that research relate reframe. Please recognize so that some people don’t know what they want. They don’t but making them or trying to encourage them to put a voice to it is really important. So once again at our apprenticeship, part of the initial hour is hey, please, please tell us your name. What specifically brought you here? Is it frustration with colleagues? Is it you want to communicate better with your spouse? Is it you want to have more confidence in conflict based scenarios is that you wanted to get over anxiety is that you wanted to lead your team better. And then also please just tell us what we can do to help you the most So typically what people say is they they stand up. Hi, my name is Miranda, this is what brought me here. And you can help me by just being very direct with your feedback. I’m not somebody that needs sugarcoating. I want to be challenged. So don’t feel like you’re going to hurt my feelings. I have enough people that beat around the bush at work. That is our ideal person, our ideal person that comes to these as people that are like, I’m ready to do the hard stuff. And I want to get around other honest people who want to do that as well. Like, that’s where I know personally as as Brett and as the owner of art of coaching a lot of my wife, Liz, like, okay, that’s our person. That’s it. If somebody conversely says, Well, I don’t know, my boss made me come. And I just want to see, I don’t know, I want to see what it’s all about. I’ve heard a lot about Brett’s, I want to see if it lives up to it. I’m sitting there thinking, okay, you know, we have some work to do. So put your own spin on those things. 


Brett Bartholomew  40:50

Another way that you can apply that asking is how you create certain online forums. So if you have a, let’s say, you speak you do in services, or you have a program at making people put down like, Hey, this is what I want. This is where I’ve been let down. These are speakers we’ve had in the past that are these are things speakers in the past have done that our audience didn’t respond well to hear things they did respond to, right, getting an idea of what people don’t want is a great way to but you can put that through their forms. An example there, when people apply to our coalition, one thing we ask them straight off is, what does success look like to you? And we make it known you don’t need to have a grand vision, but what are what are at least two ways, you know, you’re going to be successful that way. It’s like listen, if somebody goes to the end of six months with us, or four months, and they’re like, Well, I’m not a millionaire yet a millionaire yet. So I, I this wasn’t good. Being able to go back and say, hey, just to be clear, one, sorry, you’re not a millionaire yet. That’s hard to do in four to six months. But mainly just understand that our interpretation, when you filled things out that one or two ways you will feel or or what’s the word I’m looking for, recognize or feel like you’ve been successful is did you get around other people like you? That’s what you wrote? And do you feel like you got over the hump with this project you’re working on? It does seem like you’ve done that? And if they’re like, Yeah, I guess you’re right, right, there’s just a way to be able to go back and, and speak to those things, because most people don’t have realistic expectations of themselves. And they’ll channel that back to you. I’m going to say that again. 


Brett Bartholomew  42:25

Sometimes people don’t have realistic expectations of themselves. And then they’ll channel that back to you. So that goes back to a time I remember presenting, I tried to get out in front of something and said, Hey, I’m not going to be able to cover everything on power dynamics, but I am going to be able to cover these three things. So please just recognize if you have questions about this, I’ll do my best to answer them. But we’re mainly going to focus on these three things. And I remember later on, somebody said, Well, you didn’t cover all of those. And I thought you’re gonna do that. And I remember it. Alright, you obviously didn’t hear what I said, I’m gonna all take accountability, maybe I should have repeated that. But mainly, I just need to take a breath. And so I just I tried to ground it and say, Hey, I’m sorry, we weren’t able to go over that. We do have other outputs. And he was like, Well, I don’t want other outputs, I wanted you to go over this. Now I really have to work on my end, this really happened. So I what I just did is I took a deep breath. And I said, Okay, what is it, you’d like to know, I’m happy to go over one of those pieces. But beyond that, this is my profession. So I’d ask you know that there’s some middle ground here, if you want to go deeper? Here’s our information. We have services for that. Okay, so you you want to be able to address these things, because most people are, I don’t want to say they’re lazy. But most people will not take accountability. They tend to use fun, a lot of fundamental attribution error, and they’re like, Oh, well, you’re the problem you didn’t address my needs. 


Brett Bartholomew  43:48

And so you have to have barriers without talking color, ask yourself and this goes back to priming. Have I used a wide array of verbs, metaphors, analogies, with the adjectives that I’ve used? If I, if I’m setting expectations appropriately, there does need to be a certain kind of framing via that word choice. Right? Have I made this vivid enough and it can be something as simple as this is a critical point, do not miss this or you’re going to be lost. And the next part of the workshop, I being able to just signpost that. And that goes back to now I’ve reduced cognitive load. Okay, I’m locked in you brought me back. You brought me back, I get it or just sitting here saying, Hey, if you don’t manage expectations, and I’m gonna make this up on the spot, it’s let me see if you don’t make an effort to manage expectations. It’s kind of like going through life like blank and expecting blank or it’s like jumping into a relationship and just thinking Have I made this easy to understand from 360 degrees? And if you feel like you’re struggling to do that Maybe just say, Okay, I made I made a point there. I’d love to know how you heard that or how you would describe that and whether, you know, how do you relate to that? How would you put that, in your own words, even something like that is very helpful. So what did we’ve talked about? We’ve talked about asking, talking in color, getting out in front of weaknesses, flaws, drawbacks, anything like that telling people how you want to be received, or how you intend to be received, or would like to be received.


Brett Bartholomew  45:27

We’ve talked about how much getting out in front of things shows respect. So I’ll finish this with this. Here’s questions to ask yourself and your team. Okay, so that you can put yourself in the shoes of other people that struggle managing expectations. Have you ever considered? Have you ever considered a time where you thought you were clear and comprehensive? In setting expectations? Maybe you feel like you did everything I told you today, which was just a sampling. And yet it was still misinterpreted by others? Where do you think that misunderstanding occurred? Why did you not emphasize the point enough? Were you not repetitive? Good? Do you think that you could have used a visual aid to drive at home? Do you feel like maybe you talk too much, and you didn’t give them a chance to ask a question, therefore, they didn’t hear it in words, or phrasing? That was you more easily comprehensible to them? Right? 


Brett Bartholomew  46:27

So also think about a time. And remember, you should ask your team, this, your staff, whoever your friend would think about a time where you a situation didn’t go as planned, in hindsight, how could have differently how could have spending a little bit more time on the front end, change that outcome? How could he have done that, maybe you just need to put a couple of slides out in the front, that was something that I did is I was like, Alright, I’m usually pretty good about setting expectations. But let me get things out in front. So that even if time is short, or maybe I have something on my mind, there’s a signpost there, or at reemphasizes something. And this is really huge, too, when you’re trying to get clients, just making sure that you speak to those things and get out in front of them. 


Brett Bartholomew  47:09

Let me see, what else do I want? What assumptions This is an important one? What assumptions do you regularly make about your audience or your team’s understanding and the acceptance of the expectations you set? So going back into that we had somebody bring us in one time, and it was great, good point, I’m just I’m gonna be brief here for the sake of time, and they were like, we don’t understand why people don’t assume positive intent. When it comes to communication. I’ll repeat that they said we were having trouble not understanding why people don’t just assume positive intent. And it’s led to a lot of issues within our staff, because people tend to get sensitive and they should just know, their team has their best interests at heart. Well, there’s a lot of fallacies in that. There’s a lot of psychological nuance and reasons why that doesn’t happen. And they wanted me to focus my presentation on that, which I thought was a great idea. And it is a great idea. But what I had to do is think about, okay, what can I realistically cover and get across. And even though they need to understand root causes of why it’s not likely that people will assume positive intent, I still need to give them tools. So how it will be more likely that they will assume assume positive intent. And so that’s what I had to focus on. But it’s a very, very important thing for you to do your own fact finding as to Hey, like, why don’t you think they accept this? Or why do you feel like this isn’t kind of working? How you want? A couple more? How do you ensure that your personal biases don’t color, the way you set expectations, this can be hard. 


Brett Bartholomew  48:47

And I’m going to share a flaw here, there have been people that I’ve had very negative interactions with, and I’ll see them speak or I’ll come across them on the road. And I mean, negative interactions, and they’re just rude. They’re rude. It’s, you know, I’m somebody that when I initially created Art of Coaching, the goal was to give Well, part of the goal was to give other multi passionate people, a platform, a record label, a company that they could be a part of, formally or informally to also do that, right. Like, this is why we have our facilitator program. You could be a dog trainer for a living. But if you have a passion for psychology, and you’re like, well, it doesn’t fit in to my business, because my business has to be this around dogs. But I have I have advice that I think is transferable. Can I do it under your umbrella? Sure, absolutely. And so I try to have that kind of attitude. But there are people that I run into that are just like, they have to be top dog. They got to make sure that and they’re just they’re combative, they’re insecure, right? So I’ll see them I’ll have a negative association. And I’ll not I’ll just say I’m not going to watch your talk. And I have to stop myself and say, Hey, you can learn something from everybody sit here. And you know what, maybe they’ve changed That’s important. That is very important. So whether you didn’t like somebody’s book, Look, previous interaction, give them the benefit of the doubt try again, try again. And just to be as practical as possible, and I recognize sometimes I overdo this, even just thinking of something, there was somebody I saw this past weekend that it just I told Liz, I feel like and I don’t know why. Maybe this is an example of the Pygmalion effect. But this person has been different around me for a long time. And it’s bothered me just went up and said, Hey, I want you to know that I respect you. I also want you to know that I recognize and maybe this isn’t the case, and I’m being there’s a assumption here, I recognize that sometimes my passion can come off a different way. But I feel like ever since blank interaction in 2020, blank, there’s been some kind of friction here. And I don’t know if I did anything, but if I did, I’m, I’m sorry, because There certainly wasn’t any intent. And it caught them off guard. It was just like, ah, and and I don’t know, you know, if they’re listening to it now, what they thought of it, but then they were just like, yeah, no, we’re good. And it seemed like they were reflecting on what they could have done, that may be contributed to that. And the idea is that it leads to a deeper conversation. But you just you really want to make sure that you’re not reinforcing these things, you’re letting your personal bias color it. 


Brett Bartholomew  51:23

Okay. And then finally, have you considered how cultural and individual differences impact how people receive those expectations you’re trying to set? Right? There could be some people that might think, Alright, you’re really trying to get out in front of this. I, what are you trying to hide? Are you overcompensating, you can’t control for that. You can’t, you know, the fact and you just need to remember if somebody is taking the time to set or manage expectations at all, and you don’t perceive that or receive that as a gesture of respect. I gotta be careful how I phrase this, but I also am just gonna say it like it is, you’re in the wrong. If somebody didn’t respect you, or somebody has mal intent, you can’t I guess you can’t say mal intent all the time. But like, if somebody doesn’t respect you to a degree, you just need to realize that they’re not even going to take the time to do that. And if you go into everything, even that points, and well, that’s not true, Brett, you know, there’s a lot of people that will try to butter you up to this get you feel comfortable on closed sale, sure, but we can’t cover all of those things. Okay, we’re right now talking about a situation where somebody has come in, and they’re trying to help your team or vice versa. And you’re, you want to give them the benefit of the doubt. So going in immediately, just saying this person is an asshole they’re going to take advantage of me is not a great win. It’s cool, keep 10% of that in your back pocket. But at least give it a chance. That’s important. That is important. And also just recognize not everybody owes you that respect right off the bat. Okay, and this is something I told a team member of ours, it struggled with this, I said, you need to remember that no matter how much you set expectations, and no matter what your background is, we say it all the time, you’re not an expert, unless somebody invites you into their life is one. So it’s going to go beyond setting expectations. You need to get into their inner circle, you need to find go out with them as an individual, buy them lunch talk to them, you’re not always gonna be able to deal with these things in groups, the most powerful form of influence is one that’s indirect, or that person feels like they’re in charge. Okay, you have more than enough reflection opportunities here, you got a lot of work to do. And I say that with a grin on my face. You know, I love and appreciate all of you listening. I could use your help, though. episodes like this, and many others take a lot of time. And this is always free to consumer, right, we don’t put it behind a paywall. We understand that you have a choice of listening to podcasts, we’re grateful that you listen to this. But if you could please leave a review that matters. It helps us not get buried by the algorithm. You know, it helps a great, great deal. And better yet, if you have somebody that you feel like could really benefit from this, please share it, share it. That’s the only way people hear about us. And I’ll be frank, if we don’t have your support. We can’t keep doing it. Right. There is a reality that in the future, just like you guys have to budget your time. We have to do ours. We do this to help. I do enjoy doing it. I don’t have any expectations of you. I just would really appreciate it because it matters. And it’s the only way we can weren’t continuing to do it. All right, we’re we’re trying to get to 3 million downloads. We’re on our way, but we do need your help, subscribe, listen, share it send to a friend. All right. Until next time for myself and the rest of our team. We appreciate you and we’ll talk to you soon.

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