Very rarely am I accused of saying something solely to make someone feel better. I encourage the use of tough love every chance I get. When someone who is considering a position managing people or human resources tells me "I want to do this because I like helping people," I want to tell them to consider a different option.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not an ogre. I like people and I do want to be helpful. I particularly like the people I work with at 2U. To really help them, I know I can never tell them something solely to make them feel better. Among the best leadership advice I have received is to tell employees what they need to hear, especially when they don't want to hear it.