Improving your client’s Power Base (and your own)

A major area of study at The Center for Executive Coaching members is power and influence. Our Executive Coaching certificate program focuses hard on how well clients influence others.

We believe that our framework is an effective one:

First, we start with one-on-one influence. Most executives don’t understand the need to vary their influence style and strategy depending on the situation and their goal (In fact, many executives don’t even set an explicit goal before going into an influence situation). The coach can help executives choose the right style for the right situation. Does the client want to convince, get compliance, get commitment, or generate alignment? There are different styles that work in each situation.

As part of this training, executive coaches can develop an entire practice around working with clients to rehearse high-stakes conversations and make them more effective prior to a key meeting.

Next, we shift to how to coach executives to get an idea accepted throughout an organization. You can’t influence “them.” Influence happens one person at a time. Coaches can help executives see the political playing field and figure out how to get enough people on board to make an idea happen.

Finally, we move to helping clients build their power base — up, down, across, and outside the organization. Formal authority is very limited, especially these days. Coaches need to help clients build strong business relationships and alliances. That way, they can get things done more rapidly in their own organizations, and also assure career success if and when they choose (or get asked) to leave.

During this entire process, coaches are challenged to look at their own influence styles and, most importantly, power base. That way, they “do the work” too, and also build a stronger network to develop new clients.

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