Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent” and yet, living according to this statement isn’t as easy as it sounds. Luckily, these days, it’s finally accepted that empowerment coaching, including through online platforms, is a formidable way to discover your inner power.
Many of us struggle with challenges like low self-esteem, chronic self-doubt, and fear of change that we can overcome by connecting with that inner power. By not letting these issues go unchecked, we can then all live to our full potential.
The Ins and Outs of Empowerment Coaching
So, what is empowerment coaching? Simply put, it’s when a coach guides someone to believe in their skills and knowledge such that they feel and act in control of their life. In fact, having a sense of freedom comes up in both existential psychology and choice theory as one of our basic needs.
As this overview of empowerment theory from the American Journal of Community Psychology explains, a skilled empowerment coach doesn’t just focus on an individual’s strengths and qualities. They also guide that person to understand how their social, political and environmental context influences them and vice versa.
In other words, only by understanding how we interact within a system, can we truly embrace what is within our control. Once understood, a coach can guide their client through the transformative process of matching strengths to goals and co-defining a self-directed path towards whatever success looks like for that person.
4 Steps to Becoming an Empowerment Coach
When joining an unregulated industry such as coaching, it’s particularly important to present a credible and professional profile. Not only are clients increasingly aware of renowned certifying bodies such as the ICF(International Coaching Federation) or the European equivalent, EMCC (European Mentoring and Coaching Council), but as a coach, you also want to stand out.
- Get your certificate
When looking for an empowerment coaching certification, the ICF or EMCC websites are good places to start, as they list accredited courses. That’s not to say that you can’t find another governing body, but simply make sure it’s recognized in your potential field of focus.
While it might be tempting to view this certificate as a tick-in-the-box, it won’t just teach you coaching techniques. In reality, the most valuable part is the self-discovery and self-reflection you will practice both alone and with other fellow future coaches. In short, the right course will push you to review your fundamental beliefs about yourself and life.
- Define your Niche
Most of the top courses also support you in defining your future focus. It’s actually a fantastic opportunity to bounce ideas off your fellow students to match your values and career goals.
To give you some ideas, though, defining your niche is about understanding your passions and what type of people you enjoy working with. Perhaps you’ll choose to focus on leaders in multinational companies, for instance. Alternatively, you might be more aligned with housewives at home who feel helpless and disempowered about life.
- Detail your business plan
Once you know your potential target group of people, you can work through how to connect with them. This then becomes your marketing plan from which you can also calculate your revenue goals, financial plans, and required budget, as described in this Investopedia overview of business plans.
- Get yourself out there
It sounds obvious, but many coaches struggle with promoting themselves. After all, we just want to support people, not put ourselves out there, but people need help finding coaches.
When it comes to promoting yourself, you’ll need to review the various platforms. That includes digital ones, which are increasingly the norm.
Traditionally, people worried about creating rapport online. Although, it’s actually easier in many cases because people can sit in the comfort of their own homes while undertaking coaching. Moreover, people who live in geographically remote areas finally now have access to online coaching.
Naturally, creating an online presence requires a slightly different skill set. Furthermore, you’ll need intuitive and effective tools for sharing documents, worksheets, online journals, and exercises.
While there are many apps that now offer such capabilities, Quenza is an all-encompassing platform that allows coaches to create tailored journeys for their clients with only a few clicks. Suddenly, keeping track of your clients and their progress has become fast and efficient. Gone are the days of desperately looking through piles of folders for that one client document. For just $1, you can explore all the platform has to offer for 30 days.
How Does Empowerment Coaching Compare with Life Coaching?
When looking at the question “What is empowerment coaching”, you might wonder where life coaching fits in. Essentially, an empowerment coach is a type, or subset, of the life coaching field.
Both types might take tools from positive psychology as well as humanist, adult developmental, and cognitive psychologies. Nevertheless, when it comes to an empowerment coach vs. a life coach, an empowerment coach is more systemic.
So, life coaching gives you techniques to maneuver life’s problems. In contrast, an empowerment coach gives you the self-belief to create and deliver actions to live the life you want.
The table below summarizes how empowerment and life coaches compare:
|Empowerment Coach||Life Coach|
|Focus||To awaken inner power within the context of the social and environmental situation||To guide through life’s problems|
|Approach||Can be any combination of humanist, adult developmental, cognitive, and positive psychology||Similarly, can be any combination of humanist, adult developmental, cognitive and positive psychology|
|Benefits||Client feels in control of their life and actions||Client feels equipped to face any problem|
|Types of Questions|
1- What’s stopping you?
2- What’s in your control?
1- How can you reframe the situation?
2- What are you grateful for?
|Lens to view||See clients as naturally resourceful||See clients as capable of self-healing|
How Empowerment Coaches Support Clients
As the word suggests, empowerment is about getting power over one’s life. On the one hand, the benefits of empowerment coaching lie in the fact that people focus on meaningful goals. On the other hand, coachees explore how to achieve those goals within their social context.
In other words, empowerment coaching goes beyond simply instilling self-esteem and resilience. It enables people to generate an impact within their professional and personal spheres. They do this by changing their beliefs and learning to influence others so as to break free of limiting social and environmental constraints.
Why All Leaders Need Empowerment Coaching
Whether you’re a leader or a coach searching for a niche, you might consider the question, “Why is empowerment important in leadership?” In short, in most cultures, empowering leaders enables people at all levels to make their own decisions.
As this paper on servant leadership and empowerment summarizes, there is empirical evidence to support the fact that empowering leaders generate greater productivity. Linked to this is increased engagement from everyone within the team, group, or organization.
Of course, we can’t all become a Richard Branson overnight, with his style of learning from mistakes, or a Sheryl Sandberg with her “lean in” philosophy.
Nevertheless, a good place to start for managers and leaders is to consider using the GROW coaching model when giving feedback. The more you move away from telling to asking, the more people take responsibility for their actions and personal change.
The Empowerment Coaching Process
Every empowerment coach is different, and there are many strategies for engendering empowerment. Nevertheless, the most respected empowerment coaching model is the one detailed in this article on The Process of Empowerment Model that appeared in the American Psychologist journal.
In summary, an empowerment coach starts by guiding their client to define meaningful goals. Within that, they explore limiting beliefs and the context within which the coachee operates to then detail potential actions.
Coaches use various tools, but a useful one to explore social and environmental context, for example, is the wheel of life template. Another inspiring tool for coachees is the Best Possible Self Exercise that you’ll find in the Quenza expansion exercises.
Most importantly, clients work on observing new actions they put in place so that they can then reflect on their impact. Overall, the process enables someone to shift from:
An external locus of control – where they believe they have no impact on their lives, as everything is governed externally; to
An internal locus of control – where people believe they have control over their lives.
The Empowerment Coaching Style
Coaching is an intricate blend of behavior, style, knowledge, and presence. Alongside that, it’s about letting go of the ego and the need to fix people. How they then do that to develop their empowerment coaching style is different for everyone.
Although, there are common traits such as being client-centered, highly compassionate along with strong deep listening and questioning skills. The aim is to be supportive rather than directive.
Typical Questions from An Empowerment Coach
Asking empowerment coaching questions is one of the most impactful techniques. Through questioning, coaches encourage self-reflection such that people can review and challenge their beliefs.
Some examples of empowering questions include:
The Pros and Cons of Self-Empowerment Statements
The right self-empowerment quotes can inspire and ignite courage and passion. For example, renowned coach Tony Robbins reminds us to “stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited about what could go right.”
In general, such statements allow clients to refocus their attention and energy. Moreover, they enable them to visualize a different future such that, with time, their subconsciousness makes it happen. In essence, it has replaced negative thinking with a more empowered way of viewing the world and themselves.
For more quotes and inspiring statements, check out our coaching quotes. And here are some examples to give you a pre-taster:
Don’t be afraid. Be focused, be determined, be hopeful, be empowered.
You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.
—Maya Angelou, poet
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
—Arthur Ashe, tennis player
I take the path that leads me in the direction I want to go.
I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.
Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.
—C.S. Lewis, author
Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
—Winston Churchill, Former UK Prime Minister
Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope.
—Martin Luther King Jr, American minister
Fortune does favor the bold, and you’ll never know what you’re capable of if you don’t try.
—Sheryl Sandberg, executive, philanthropist, and writer
Take a chance. It’s the best way to test yourself. Have fun and push boundaries.
—Richard Branson, entrepreneur
How Quenza Supports Empowerment
Quenza doesn’t just offer a platform to manage clients and backend paperwork. It provides a range of exercises and expansion activities as well as a communication chat function.
These exercises, such as You at Your Best and Strengths and Pride, allow clients to connect with their inner power. Moreover, the Strength vs. Weakness Focus lets them balance out their negative focus with a more empowered view. As a result, you have a strong foundation from which to guide your client to move forward.
As a coach, you’ll feel empowered because you have more time available to support your clients with less time spent on paperwork. Moreover, everything is easily customized to offer a truly personalized journey for your clients.
Why not see for yourself and get the one-month full-access trial of the Quenza app for only $1?
Final Thoughts on Empowerment Coaching
The benefits of empowerment coaching are that people gain self-belief as well as the ability to impact their lives. It’s about shifting from feeling helpless that everything is decided for them to having a sense of control over their actions and outcomes.
When considering an empowerment coach vs. a life coach, the main difference is that an empowerment coach helps people understand how they fit into their universe. On the other hand, a life coach offers a more general overview with tools for dealing with life’s problems.
Either way, through empowerment coaching questions and other tools, all coaches can enable people to see the world and themselves differently. Through this new lens, clients can enact the change they wish to become more fulfilled. In the end, we are all about supporting people to live their best life possible.
- ^ Perkins, D. D., & Zimmerman, M. A. (1995). Empowerment theory, research, and application. American journal of community psychology, 23(5), 569-579.
- ^ Professional Coaching Association (2022) International Coaching Federation. Available at: https://coachingfederation.org/ (Accessed: 24 May 2023).
- ^ EMCC global (no date) EMCC. Available at: https://www.emccglobal.org/ (Accessed: 24 May 2023).
- ^ Hayes, A. (2023) Business plan: What it is, what’s included, and how to write one, Investopedia. Available at: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/business-plan.asp#toc-elements-of-a-business-plan (Accessed: 24 May 2023).
- ^ Eslamdoust, S., & Mahmoudinazlou, S. (2023). Servant Leadership, Followers Job Satisfaction, Empowerment and Performance: The Moderating Effect of Gender. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 11(3), 8-22.
- ^ Cattaneo, L. B., & Chapman, A. R. (2010). The process of empowerment: a model for use in research and practice. American psychologist, 65(7), 646.