A Client Story: Learning to Influence


As an executive coach, I am privileged to work with some exceptionally talented people.  I get to see them learn and grow their leadership skills.  It is a very rewarding and insightful experience.  Last week was a great example.  I have been working with this client for about 6 months and she has made terrific progress.

Needing to influence

We usually start each meeting by discussing progress or reflections from our last meeting.  Her role requires her to influence a broad variety of stakeholders, at various levels inside her company and across the industry.  I listened carefully as she told me about successfully launching a new technology initiative.

She wasn’t doing this to brag or show off.  As usual, she was very excited about her learning.  In this case learning to influence.  She explained, “Influencing requires giving up ownership.  It doesn’t mean giving up leadership.  When I owned it, I didn’t allow anyone else to participate.  I have learned to appreciate others think differently than me.”

Finding her way

The most exciting thing for me is I haven’t told her this, she is figuring it out for herself.  My role is to light the way and be there as a guide.  My clients have to embrace the opportunities to learn.  And I get to learn with them.

I asked if there was a moment when this came to her?  There wasn’t, it has grown over time and started with listening to the other person.  It helped her realize they had something to add that can help her.  As she heard more insights from others, it helped her grow her confidence.  This allowed her to be more comfortable reaching out to share her ever expanding perspective and listen for more insights.

Creating a leadership movement

Not only is my client learning, she is creating a leadership movement around her.  Her peers are now much more likely to reach out and share what they are working on.  They know she will listen and they will learn something.  It is a leadership transformation in progress.

I am sharing this story to not only to illustrate we all have the ability to learn, grow and achieve amazing things.  But also to share with you how lucky I am to be an executive coach.  Watching my clients grow into inspiring leaders is incredibly rewarding.  It doesn’t always work out this way, but when it does, there is no other role I would rather have.