Power, Empowerment and Freedom in Team Coaching

I’ve been thinking about power lately. Power over, empowerment, power to. Abuses of power, power held lightly, power balanced with love by skilled leaders.

One of the teams I’m coaching these days fights a lot. It’s like they’re scrambling for power. Making quick feints and grabs for airtime. Waiting (or not waiting) to butt in and be heard.

Except no one gets heard. Because there’s no high quality listening happening. Fear and Anger are driving the bus. In fact, Fear and Anger are acting like tyrants, body snatchers that sometimes take over team members and make them shamble around like zombies seeking to quench any signs of life.

As a coach, I want people to have choices, including the choice to say no to Fear and Anger driving the bus. And what I stand for as a leader is dignity, growth and freedom. That includes combining power with love in the right ratios, that lead to transformational, exponential change.

So today after a meeting full of conflict, I decided to take on the zombies who are hijacking this team’s talents. It’s time to “take back the night.” I’m not willing to lose out on talent, and committed to helping every coaching client, individual, team, or organization, maximize their potential.

I told the team, “I’ve noticed different uses of power on the team. Several of you are powerful people with powerful voices.”

“So I’m asking you to take home a few inquiries with you and bring back answers tomorrow:
– How well are you using your power and voice in service of the team? Is the team as a whole getting the results you want?
– What’s more important to you than staying safe or being right?”

And that’s my invitation to you agile coaches and practitioners, to take on these inquiries for yourself, if you’re wanting a change, and these resonate with you.

As the poet Rumi says, “This being human is a guest house, every morning a new arrival.” Let’s welcome the morning and see what it brings.


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