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The Essence of Calling Out the Power

By Martha Lasley, Virginia Kellogg,
Richard Michaels & Sharon Brown

Coaching for Transformation
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Calling out the power refers to the ways we engage with clients to move them toward stepping into their creativity, wholeness and sense of possibility. We support transformation when we help clients explore their deepest desires before solving immediate problems. Their natural power awakens and grows when they connect with the wisdom of their bodies, their emotions and their intuitive knowing. Th ey naturally evolve from connecting to their own needs and desires, to discovering what’s needed in the world.

Once clients are connected to their power, they perceive, choose and act in ways that are productive for themselves and for all. As they connect to their essence, they become aware of what really matters, develop a sense of purpose and act with clarity.

We call out the power when we sense our clients are ready to step into something much larger than they may be aware of. By voicing what we see emerging in our clients, they oft en shift into a new experience of themselves. Paradoxically, the new, fresh experience can seem like coming home or reclaiming a lost part of themselves.

What do you see in your clients that may be obscure to them?

Example from a nonprofit founder:

Near the beginning of my coaching session, I said, “He’s antagonistic, even incendiary, but he’s politically connected, so I’m thinking about asking him to join the board.” My coach said, “Really?” I was silent for a moment, but what really woke me up was when my coach said, “Incendiary. I hear the five-alarm fire in your voice. I can smell the smoke. What happens if the organization burns to the ground?”

Example from a political activist:

I told my coach, “This topic will bore you.” She picked up on it and forced me to wake up to my limited thinking. Several times, she said, “This is boring.” Instead of treating me like, “Oh, you poor baby…” she said, “Look. This is your life. What do you want to do about it?” She stepped out of her comfort zone, in service of my life. No one had ever done that for me before. She is a very caring, empathic person, and I couldn’t imagine her ever saying anything like that, so it came as a surprise. I was shocked out of complacency and my usual way of doing things. She turned into a warrior for the sake of my life.

And a story from a new executive director:

I made some mistakes when I first joined the organization. I was just beginning to regain the trust of my staff, when my board insisted that I get executive coaching. I thought this was a slam, and was completely resistant to working with a coach—I’ve run several highly successful organizations. I entered coaching very reluctantly. You know what won me over? When I explained the situation, my coach listened, but knew right away that I was covering up the seriousness. He said, “So if you don’t get this cleaned up, it’s game over.” I swallowed hard. He stayed silent. Finally I said, “I need help.” This was a big moment for me. I don’t think I’d ever said those words before and I was surprised at how relieved I felt to say, “I need help.”

Coaching is not “rent a friend.” Instead of just going with the flow, we consciously create a rigorous, supportive relationship. We advocate for shared power and co-create an empowering relationship by determining how we’ll work together. Both parties take risks and seek feedback on how the relationship is working or not working. Together we take a stand for the client’s desired outcomes. Based on mutual respect, trust, openness and honesty, we create agreements and structures that awaken clients to their full power.


Excerpt from the book Coaching for Transformation: Pathways to Ignite Personal & Social Change by Martha Lasley, Virginia Kellogg, Richard Michaels and Sharon Brown. As faculty at Leadership that Works, they certify coaches who offer personal, organization and community transformation. Check out the free Power of Coaching teleclass.

Coaching is life-changing, world-changing work. The coaching programs at Leadership that Works go beyond theories and models and work with clients on a deeper level. You learn how to coach the whole person: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Whole person Transformation.

Leadership that Works

Transforming the world.
One heart at a time.

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