The Essential Outcome of Quadrant 4: Personal Power

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Personal power is the ability to focus the full complement of your

personal resources—your creativity, intellect, and spirit—to create

what you believe is possible. It is personal because it is not power

over or involving anyone else. It’s all about you. Sometimes people

mistake power for force. Force involves throwing your proverbial

weight around to get what you want, whether others want you to

have it or not. Force tends to create winners and losers. Power, on

the other hand, is about awareness, choice, and focus.

Powerful people are aware that they have a full palette of abilities.

They know this because they have stretched themselves through new

experiences to discover what they are made of. The wide array of

development that occurs as clients move through the four quadrants

allows them to experience aspects of themselves with which they are

less familiar. Choice is what moves all of their abilities into action.

Powerful people take responsibility for choosing who they want to

be and what they want to create. Clients who step into their personal

power are naturally respected leaders who become role models for


Personal power rests solidly on the work of the previous quadrants.

The physical, emotional, and intuitive centeredness that

evolved through the earlier work forms the foundation of this level

of development. Clare was stepping into this space as she took the

risk to introduce her ideas to the team. Leading the implementation

of the integrated solution will test Clare in many ways. These experiences

will hone her leadership style and deepen her base of

personal power.

Continuing with our basketball analogy, a leader who is working

in Quadrant 4 is like a truly great basketball player whose style of

play is uniquely his own and who transforms the performance of

the entire team through his inspired approach to the game.

Coaching Tools and Approaches for Quadrant 4

The following are strategies for coaches to consider integrating into

their Quadrant 4 coaching engagements:

_ Ask “What if?” It is the coach’s role to ask a client to look beyond

perceived limitations and imagine what might be on the other

side. Like the elephant that no longer challenges the chains that

restrained it as a baby, clients sometimes need to be reminded

that they have grown in significant ways and are capable of

accomplishing more than they believe.

Clare first suggested the idea of the integrated solution in a

coaching call with Tressa more as a piece of wishful thinking

than a viable course of action. Listening carefully, Tressa could

hear Clare’s belief in the concept hiding under the layer of

reasons why it would never work. As Clare’s coach, Tressa

encouraged Clare to really look at each of the excuses that she

was offering for why the idea would not fly to honestly identify

which ones were real. Through this process, Tressa was able

to help Clare identify the assumptions she was making, both

about what others were likely to support and what she was

capable of. By untangling the story, Tressa helped Clare see

what questions she would need to get answered and what

assumptions she would need to test in order to determine if her

idea had potential.

Quadrant 4 is the place where clients come face-to-face with

the assumptions they make about what is possible. Often the

assumptions are ones that help clients feel safe.As long as Clare

was certain that no one would support an integrated solution,

she felt there was no point in presenting it. If she let go of that

assumption, then she would come face-to-face with her fear of

stepping out and taking the risk. Coaches must work carefully

in this area. It is the coach’s responsibility to help the client

determine if perceived impediments are real or not, but it is

solely the client’s responsibility to choose whether to move

forward with something. It is the coach’s role to hold a space

for the client to make these kinds of important decisions.

_ Weave the threads together. Quadrant 4 is the space in which

the various aspects of development that clients have gone

through—both inside and outside coaching—come together.

Often, the client has some gift or ability that she was not able

to give full expression to because she lacked the supporting

skills to fully realize that aspect of her potential. Clare had a gift

for seeing business opportunities that others missed, yet she

was frustrated in her efforts to really experience the impact of

her unique perspective because she lacked the interpersonal

and leadership skills to enroll others to support her ideas.

Through her coaching experience, Clare was able to bring

online the skills she needed to champion the team’s efforts to

develop new technology to take advantage of market opportunities.

Tressa helped Clare see that she was ready to play that

leadership role. Sometimes the coach has to be the one to say

“You’re ready! You have everything you need to take this next


_ Illuminate the connections. Building the web of support that is

needed to bring new ideas to life requires the ability to see

where the support is needed. It is the coach’s role to ask the

kinds of questions that illuminate the connections that need to

be created if the client is not seeing them.At first, Clare felt that

she really only needed to bring a few of her team members on

board with her idea to get it accepted.When Tressa asked Clare

who beyond the immediate team would be affected by what she

was proposing, Clare started to see that she would needed the

support of IT and other groups to move this idea forward.

When Tressa asked Clare who could derail the integrated solution,

Clare could see that a few key players were tangentially

involved with implementing the idea and could really throw a

wrench in the works if they started to actively resist. Clare was

not expecting to get complete support from everyone, but she

did need to be aware of the dynamics that underlie moving an

initiative forward in an organization so that she could cultivate

as much support as possible. Tressa guided Clare to see the outlines

of the web she needed to build.

Connections can come in all shapes and forms. Even clients

who are implementing much less complicated efforts will need

to take a more holistic view of their situation to see what needs

to be created to provide necessary support.

_ Ask the courageous questions. An element of courage is more

present in Quadrant 4 than in any of the proceeding quadrants.

It takes courage to act on one’s inspiration. It takes courage to

try something new. It takes courage to choose a direction and

pursue it, especially when you are not sure where you are going

to end up. Coaches need to be role models of courage, and

in the fourth quadrant, that means asking the courageous

questions, those that bring the client face-to-face with perceived

limitations. Courageous questions need to be asked not

as a challenge, but as an invitation to see something from a different

perspective. When Clare wanted to wriggle away from

introducing the idea of an integrated solution, it would have

been easy for Tressa to concur that the idea was too farfetched

to consider. Instead, Tressa asked Clare to play with the possibility

that it could be done. This led to some big questions for

Clare that revolved around who she would need to be in order

to step into the role she had described. For Clare, it meant confronting

her fear that she would be shot down for having such

a bold idea. It also meant that Clare would have to have some

difficult conversations.

Courageous questions can also guide clients to acknowledge

what they know to be true and have been avoiding in some way,

such as the possibility that they are in the wrong position or

the fact that the client is participating in something that is not

right for the person. Once answered, these questions compel

clients to shift or move into action in some way. These questions

get at the core of what is going on, the Aha! moments that

open new doors of personal and professional growth and

sometimes make us all uncomfortable. The discomfort is often

fleeting and reveals a profound sense of relief that the essence

of a personal or professional challenge is finally revealed, and

now action can be taken.

Sometimes this can be a scary place for a coach to be. It is

the moment when you see that you have been coaching the

symptoms, and the root of what needs to be addressed is

coming into focus. Clients need to go through the personal and

professional development that the earlier quadrants provide in

order to be ready to see and accept the nugget of truth that will

open the door to new possibilities. This process occasionally

happens as a moment of truth, but it is more likely that clients

will come to their own awareness over time, guided by a series

of courageous questions that are peppered into coaching

conversations. Coaches need to guard against becoming so

comfortable in their coaching relationships that they are unable

or unwilling to challenge their clients to see the underlying

dynamics that limit them from achieving what they want to


_ Get out of the way. By the time a coach and client reach Quadrant

4, they have traveled a long road together. The coach will

have played many roles for the client. He may have held her

accountable for her commitments in Quadrant 1, guided her

through some emotional conversations in Quadrant 2, and

been a confidante for her fears in Quadrant 3 as she tried trusting

her intuition in a more significant way. It is common for

coaches to play a more active role in the earlier quadrants, providing

tools, role-modeling new approaches, and offering possible

ideas or solutions to consider.

As the client moves into the fourth quadrant, the coach’s

touch must become lighter. At times the coach’s role may be

just to witness the client’s success and celebrate his achievements.

The questions become more focused and often more

profound. So much of what the client needs to know now

resides within him, and his real work is to trust this knowledge.

The coach needs to recognize when it is time to step out of the