Friday, May 27, 2011

Power Plays: What Does Power Mean To You?

At the upcoming Forté Foundation MBA Women’s Conference I will be moderating a panel entitled “Power Plays” during which successful women from the financial and consulting worlds will discuss how and why the rules for women in corporate America are different.

Tips shared will be helpful and highly sought by MBA women, of course. At the same time, the entire discussion begs a more personal question of each of us: What does power mean to you? And what makes it important?

In my work as an executive coach, I often find that my clients need to take a step back, especially when they’re discussing topics that could be considered business “buzzwords” like power. Stepping back means: a) defining our terms; b) questioning assumptions or beliefs; and c) reflecting more deeply about what’s actually true for each of us.

We could assume that power means more money, a bigger title, a corner office, a more generous budget, or “a seat at the table”. But that may not be true for everyone. For some, power may mean having the ability to control one’s career destiny in keeping with personal values and interests. Or power could mean having the opportunity to be creative as a project lead without too much interference from others. Or power could mean making decisions with trust and autonomy such that no one can easily override your decisions.

Or, power could mean a bigger title to you. There’s no right or wrong. But before we look for the answers from others, I invite you to think about your own definition first.

For more information about collaborative coaching, see our website ( as well as our blog (

Yael Sivi is the Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Collaborative Coaching, LLC

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