It really depends on the child, the situation and sometimes how I am feeling too.
Both my kids are very different. DS is cautious, a thinker but lazy if you let him. He prevaricates, overthinks and rarely takes risks. He needs to be pushed to try new things. A softly softly approach would see him afraid to get out of bed. A firm pragmatic approach with clear cut boundries and set deadlines works for him
Dd is nt cautious, a risk taker and headstrong. She is decisive, bucks at boundries and won't take no for an answer. A softer approach and natural consequences works better with her.
There are times, however, when the required guidance needs to be different. It depends on what the aim or goal is at the time.
If I'm on the phone and they start playing up, they both know the rules and immediate timeout is the consequence - there is no softly softly. If I think it's time for a bath and either child has a good reason why the bath time should be delayed I am negotiable so long as we're not trying to get ready to go out etc.