Coaching with Sid

How To Coach Your Clients To Step Into Their Power?

sent by Siddharth Anantharam    |   March 23, 2023

sent by Siddharth Anantharam
March 23, 2023

I’ve been coaching powerful leaders, entrepreneurs and coaches for the better part of this decade.

And one of the most important things I do as their coach is to remind them how powerful they really are.

Because the truth is even some of the powerful men and women leaders can feel POWERLESS in situations. And this massively impacts how they serve their teams, partners, clients or families.

In this newsletter, I’m going to share the 2 inquiries that help me coach my clients to discover their true power.

Most people have a conventional understanding of power linked with authority, control, dominance, influence or status. As a result they struggle with accessing it.

The primary reason why people feel powerless is because they misunderstand what true power really is and where it comes from. Limiting beliefs, fear, self doubt and lack of direction all creep in.

True personal power is much more than that – and here are 2 inquiries that will help you explore this with your clients using the lenses of western psychology and eastern wisdom.

Inquiry 1: How powerful do you think you are?

This is often a starting point for my exploration with my clients.

You will be surprised how even the most powerful people on the planet will either avoid this question or downplay it.

This is because growing up, in a lot of cultures, we are taught things like,

“Powerful people are evil.”

“Power corrupts and you don’t want to become a bad person”

“If you are powerful, you are arrogant or selfish.”

These might apply to our conventional understanding of power. But when I introduce them to what true power really is, their world changes.

Here are 2 definitions of true power that really speak to me:

The first is from Janet Hagberg’s book Real Power: Stages of Personal Power in Organizations where she offers a perspective rooted in Western psychology,

The extent to which one is able to link their outer capacity for action (external power) with the inner capacity for reflection (internal power). 

In other words, the more we go within and allow insight and wisdom to influence our actions, the more ‘real power’ we have.

The second is from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras which is one of the most ancient Indian texts and a source of timeless Eastern wisdom that says:

True power is the spontaneous flow of energy and emotions when our intentions align with our actions. 

Do you see the 2 elements that are common in both these western and eastern perspectives?

In order to tap into your true power you need:

  1. A clear intention that is internal to you.
  2. Aligned actions that are external to you.

Coaching Tool:

With this new understanding of power, we look at situations in my client’s life where they either felt powerless or truly powerful. I dig deeper to help them understand their own intentions and actions in those situations.

– What situations in your life make you feel powerful / powerless?

– What would the most powerful version of you BE or DO in this situation?

– How can we clarify your true intention in this situation?

– What actions can you take that align with your intention and help you move forward?

Inquiry 2: Where do you draw your power from?

Power is that from which you draw your sense of who you are, your worth, purpose and strength. Knowing where you draw your power from can be a moment of incredible awareness for anyone.

Janet Hagberg in her Real Power model shares 6 developmental stages of personal power.

Adapted from Janet O. Hagberg (2003) Real Power: Stages of Personal Power in Organizations.

While the first 3 stages reflect an external power (drawing power from sources outside us like our relationships or our achievements) while the final 3 stages reflect inner power (drawing power from our reflections, purpose and our inner wisdom)

The higher stages of power are not ‘better’ than lower stages. Each stage is developmental in nature and comes with its own learnings that opens the door to the next stage.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras describes inner power as a combination of 2 ingredients both of which need to be harnessed to reach our full potential. 

Coaching Tool:

Helping your clients discover where they draw most of their power from can be a moment of great insight.

Some questions to explore with them are:

– Where do you draw most of your external power from?

– Which sources of power can you leverage even more in difficult situations?

– What would it look like from you to move from finding power externally to finding it inside you?

The truth is, every one of your clients is already powerful in their own way, before they work with you as their coach.

Can you remind them of their true power and help them step into it, whenever they need it?

And oh, where do you draw your power from as a coach?

Share your reflections with me in the comments below. All comments are welcome both resonant or dissonant.

Always rooting for you!

-Coach Sid

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