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  • Writer's pictureLorri Palko

The Secret of the Empowered Business

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

“Each person holds so much power within themselves that needs to be let out. Sometimes they just need a little nudge, a little direction, a little support, a little coaching, and the greatest things can happen.” ~ Pete Carroll

The real secret for an empowered business is for its leaders to understand the actual source of personal power.

From an early age we get messages that people want us to be our best self. A parent wants their children to excel. A teacher wants their students to reach their potential. A coach wants their players to improve. The message is that our power comes from what we accomplish, not from within.

As we move into our chosen profession, most people in authority reinforce this message. The boss wants employees to do their best.

The question is: For what purpose?

What is the intention for employees to do their best?

  • delivering on the company mission

  • the impact on the bottom line

  • making the boss look more successful themselves

Our True Power

Our thoughts that the power does not reside within us continues until we are in a position of authority. Let’s look at this in the context of being the leader in charge.

The leader has the power to promote, fire, praise, or even embarrass. What the leader does not have is the ability to take away how employees choose to respond.

No one has the ability to take away your power, and no one can give you power.

If you are in a perceived position of power, do you really have the power over others you think you have?

Accessing Your Power

If power resides within, how do we access it no matter our position?

We access our power within through relationships with others, not from others. Think about the child learning to ride a bike with a parent holding on until they don’t. Think about the student who received encouragement from a teacher that they could figure out a problem. Think about a coach that demonstrated confidence in a player in a critical moment in the game. It was the trusting relationship that helped to give the child, student, and player the assurance that allowed them to move forward.

We know that in today’s sports world, the players have significant power. It doesn’t all reside in the coach. Successful coaches spend as much time on relationship building as they do on strategy. It’s not all about the X’s and O’s. Approaching leadership roles from a coach mindset could unlock the greatness within others. The relationship is the third aspect in any child - parent, student - teacher, employee - boss dynamic. Let’s look at relationships in the context of the power triangle.

This model is adapted from Co-Active Coaching: Changing Business and Transforming Lives by Henry Kimsey-House Karen Kimsey-House Phillip Sandahl Laura Whitworth

In this simple triangle, the relationship is the apex of the triangle. The employee and coach make up the base. Notice that the arrows don’t show an exchange between the employee and coach but flow to and from the relationship. The energy goes into the relationship, not to and from each other. We don’t get power from another person and we don’t give power to another person.

A trusting relationship creates an environment where the power within is realized.

The coach puts their energy into the relationship through active listening with a focus on the employee. Asking powerful questions deepens the employee’s thought process and learning. The coach offers support and invites ways to help the employee take action and feel accountable for their choices. It all starts with a coach believing that the employee has the answers within and therefore the power within.

A productive relationship requires the employee to be engaged also. The employee needs to bring energy to the relationship, a desire to improve, an open mind and the ability to be reflective. The employee assumes ownership for the need to move forward and take action. The employee takes responsibility for their choices and accepts they are accountable.

The employee side of the triangle has arrows going to and from the relationship. Why is that? The employee feels empowered and pulls from the power created in that relationship. Yes, the coach may have provided a little nudge, a little direction, and a little support, but the employees believe they are the ones with the answers. They are stepping into their power.

What are the benefits of transitioning from a traditional hierarchical relationship to a coaching model in business?

  • Employees become more resourceful in solving problems. The employee learns skills that are transferable. When an employee believes they can find answers as new situations arise it not only empowers the employee, but it also frees up the leader.

  • Employees are more willing to take risks. The fear of failure does not prevent the employee from taking action and moving forward. This frees the employee to be creative, and they will extend themselves rather than hold back and wait for direction.

  • Employees feel a greater connection to the organization and the collective work of the team. The employee feels a sense of satisfaction with their contributions to the mission.

  • The culture of the organization is one based on mutual respect and trust. An organization that is characterized as having a positive culture improves productivity, efficiency, results, and retention of employees.

When a parent, teacher, coach, or boss embraces the belief that the power truly resides within, and they are focused on the other person’s best interest, the power dynamic shifts to the relationship. Yes, the nudges, the direction, the support are all part of the process and necessary in building that trust. Concern and care become evident. When someone cares about your well-being and success and they are not advancing their personal needs, power is unleashed and great things do happen. The greatest thing achieved is the shift in the internal message that your power resides inside of you and is not the result of your accomplishments. The message you now embrace is I’ve got this!

Let Lorri work with you to understand the real strength of your personal power, for your own success and the success of your teams. Find out how.

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