Micro & Macro Influence
As an executive coach, just about everything I do helps clients improve their impact with others and be more influential in their organisations. Many of their predominant problems are all about influence:
I need to convince my CEO, board, and team that my vision for the organisation makes sense.
I need to convince leadership that I am ready to take on a senior leadership role.
I need to raise £X for my start up, and I'm not currently travelling in the right circles to get that kind of money.
We have a major change initiative that is stalling. I need to get more people on board.
My team is not doing what I need them to do.
Unfortunately, the word "influence" quickly becomes too generic and vague as the word leadership. Substituting one for the other isn't especially helpful if we don't get more specific about what influence means and what skills someone with influence has. For this reason, it is worth taking the word "influence" and break it down into some more granular competencies.
Following are seven competencies where clients seem to land when it comes to coaching them on improving their overall influence:
1. Conversational influence (Micro). These are one-on-one, usually high-stakes conversations in which the client has to influence someone to act, think, or feel differently. Here, we coach the client on different approaches to influencing, choosing the right approach for the situation, and role playing as needed to prepare for objections and other challenges.
2. Stakeholder influence (Macro). Here, the client needs to influence many people to act, think, or feel differently. The approach builds on conversational influence, and adds a strategic component to think about how to get enough people on his or her side to gain buy in.
3. Presence. This kind of coaching focuses on perceptions, attitudes, and behaviours so that the client shows up with that elusive leadership presence. Often it requires perceptual and behavioural coaching so that the client shows up in new ways.
4. Personal & professional branding. Every professional needs to think about and improve their overall brand, about the memorable impressions they leave and how they position themselves to stand out in positive ways. They also have to have the substance to back up the promise of their brand, as with any product or service on the market. Few professionals know how to do this work without the help of an objective outsider, like an executive coach.
5. Network of professional relationships, or power base. How easily a leader gets things done, and whether or not they hear about great opportunities first depends a lot on their network. A coach can help clients improve their power base -- both inside and outside their organisations. When done internally, the client strengthens their political standing and has more informal power to get things done and make things happen.
6. Use of time as a leader and influencer. Time and influence go together. How much time is the client spending in the game influencing others, compared to doing things that are less strategic or that others can do?
7. Scaling ideas. True leaders and influencers make their ideas take on a life of their own and grow. They scale because the leader puts in place systems and structures to sustain them, and make them continue independent of the leader. This competency can be the difference between a solo business and an organisation that lasts, between an idea that one person believes to a movement that lasts generations. For many clients, this is the most profound and valuable part of influence coaching -- taking a small idea and turning it into something bigger and more sustainable that they ever imagined.
I have found the above competencies to be valuable in structuring coaching engagements and helping clients achieve their goals. They help break down influence into manageable blocks of work and get to the heart of the client's challenge. Contact me to chat further.