Accessing and reactivating your own resources and focusing attention on competencies is an essential and important element of executive coaching. Developing a greater sense of self-efficacy and self-determination can help you stay motivated in the face of challenges and setbacks. Conversely, feelings of powerlessness and helplessness can lead to learned helplessness, which is when people give up trying to improve their situation because they believe that they cannot control the outcome.
The term empowerment stands for the achievement of goals through strength. Self-disposal and self-empowerment are fundamental pillars in self-strengthening and the development of the ability to trust yourself—to grow with this trust and self-confidence in leadership.
Empowerment is a key strategy for increasing autonomy and self-determination. Empowerment can be both a process of self-empowerment and the professional support of people to overcome feelings of powerlessness. To enable empowerment within an organization, there must be a culture of trust and a willingness to delegate responsibility at all levels.
Empowerment is now specifically about building on the strengths that exist within, strengthening self-empowerment and self-power, and deriving benefits from this for use in personnel management.
Empowerment has always existed—and of course beyond professional executive coaching. But all “good” executive coaching is also empowerment if it causes a strengthening of the client’s self-control. Empowerment is not simply a process of transferring power, energy or courage from the outside, but it does have clear aspects in terms of content and process.
Empowerment means that existing but little or incompletely used resources and competencies are discovered, cultivated, valued, developed, confirmed, strengthened and expanded. The goal of every coaching session should be empowerment. This means that even if the executive client is challenged in a serious or fundamental way, they can focus on activated resources and be able to experience and maintain a state of empowerment after the session.
Power is the driving force of life, the very essence of existence. But it has a rather bad image, as it is often associated with egocentricity and abuse. However, if power is understood as the ability to influence the behavior of other people, it is the overall image of a leader that has a lasting and durable effect.
For this reason, it makes sense to distinguish between “exerting influence” and “exercising power.” So, if you are aiming for a career with lasting influence, you should let your desires and visions be expressed. Show enthusiasm. Talk about your motives, values and concerns. Bosses who do this often come across much better because they show their employees respect, appreciation and gratitude, first and foremost. And who would say “no” to a little recognition? On the contrary — employees have a right to it. As a leader, you can achieve an incredible amount through recognition.
Executive coaching in the business context always encounters power; power of definition in structures and in processes; power in expectations, attributions and confirmations. But social systems are not static, even if the images we usually make of them, “still” images, are more like photos than a movie. We see organizational charts, but not what is permanently changing in terms of process. What’s more, organizations have to be perceived and described in their process and development orientation. Business coaching places itself in the organizational context by combining confidentiality and transparency. The conversations between coach and executive are confidential—but the coaching is not secret because it is used by the company and its effect is noticed.
Empowerment in executive coaching is a highly effective tool for organizational success. When used correctly, it can help individuals and groups reach their full potential. When expectations, desires and resources are aligned, everyone benefits.
Empowerment uses the setting of professional coaching in the organizational context. Thus, the expectations, desires and resources of leaders are connected with the organizational environment—team members, stakeholders and peers.
Empowerment is a key element of executive coaching. It relates to individual expectations and impacts interactions. It gives clarity to the development of identity. When we feel empowered, we feel motivated and inspired to achieve our goals. We feel like we can make a difference. When we feel disempowered, we feel stuck and powerless. We need to feel empowered in order to move forward in our lives and careers.
How can the effects of coaching as empowerment be observed and described? Certainly, primarily and before all other stakeholders, the executive will report back on whether they experience and use coaching as empowerment. Sustainability, transfer, pattern formation, permanent resource orientation and long-term effects will also be important to evaluate. Simple and short-term scalings are helpful for the assessment.
A 360-degree feedback method is a useful way to gauge the effects of medium range. The long-term effects of coaching as empowerment are best elicited in a follow-up about a year after the coaching collaboration has been completed. Here, it is particularly worthwhile to distinguish between broad impact and deep impact. At the same time, scaling can be used to look at developments that affect self-development, self-control and self-transformation.