Defining empowerment is tricky – is it something that is bestowed – as in giving power, or is it a state of being – as in having power? In the workplace, power or control or decision-making authority are given. As an individual, empowerment is a state of being. The level of power we have as individuals can vary based on environment, access, family, position, etc. Each of us has some level of empowerment.
Four questions to consider:
- How empowered are you?
- How are your using your level of empowerment?
- How empowered do you want to be?
- What will it take to reach that level of empowerment?
In the world of coaching, coaches are trained to hold clients as fully empowered. That means we hold clients as fully empowered to make their own choices, develop their own strategies, plan their own actions, and move forward in the way they decide.
What if a client makes decisions that are outside of their control?
Sometimes a coach is aware of whether the client has control and can ask about it. For example, if a client defines a goal for someone else, the coach will ask them what is within their control and what their goal is based on where the choice belongs to them.
When the coach is unaware that the decision is outside the control of the client, the client may or may not realize or discover it themselves. For example, a client may say they are going to delegate a task and the coach is unaware that the client doesn’t have the authority to delegate the task as planned. The client may attempt to delegate – successfully or not, may simply drop the point, may get frustrated, or may know how to get the authority. In any of these possible scenarios, because the coach held the client as fully empowered and the client made their own plan, the client also owns the follow-through and outcome. Whether their plan works or not, the client learns options for the future. If the topic comes up again in coaching, the coach will partner with the client to reflect, clarify the learning, and choose their application of the insights.
The competency coaches learn during coach training of “Evokes Awareness” is how the coach supports the client as being fully empowered. The coach partners with the client to consider, reflect, and choose through the coaching process and questions.