I attended a workshop by Ainsley Rose at the 2016 TLC Conference in Dallas. During the workshop, he asked participants to order a list of words to create a continuum of influence.
coerce, coach, manipulate, aspire, advise, motivate, persuade inspire
The group as a whole created the following continuum:
This taxonomy goes from an external locus of control to an internal locus of control.
I had some thinking about the words that differed. Here’s my taxonomy and my thinking behind it:
- Coerce — this is when I use out and out force to get someone to do what I want them to do. It is about brute force (whether physical, mental, or emotional). It is strictly about MY will superceding YOUR will. I have the power and the authority to demand that you comply with my will.
- Manipulate — in this instance, it is still about my will superceding your will. But I am on a slightly more equal footing with you. I do not FORCE your compliance, I mold your compliance, often without your explicit consent.
- Persuade — the shift here is to tacit consent. I am still in the one-up position. My will still prevails. But you give consent to it in some way. You are convinced or coaxed in some way into agreeing with me.
- Advise — Your consent becomes explicit here. You have the right to ignore my advice. You become at least somewhat a co-thinker in the process. I am still “one-up”. Synonyms for this include; recommend, admonish, direct, instruct.
- Motivate — this word still seems to imply that I am in the superior position, but now YOU have shifted to the driver’s seat. Not only are you free to ignore my advice, but you are free to steer. I am no longer providing specific directions or steps to follow. I am in a less prescriptive role, but I am still pushing your actions.
- Inspire – In this situation I am still most definitely “one-up”. I am arousing or exciting you to something. I am doing it TO you still. Synonyms here are: provoke, spur, galvanize, cause. As in all of the others, the goal is for you to take action, but I am the provoker of that action completely. You are passive in the verb itself.
- Aspire — Again, I perceive this to still be a one-up position. You “aspire” to be like me? There is a slight shift here, however. Now the verb is something that YOU do. You are the actor in aspire. I cannot aspire for you, you have to aspire for yourself. Synonyms include yearn, dream, strive. This is when I make you CRAVE doing something. The challenge here is that it is still something where I am somehow the model or at least the one who points to the model or ideal.
- Coach — This is a tricky word, but I believe that it lives at the top of this hierarchy. Typically, in general culture, a coach is a teacher or trainer. The coach calls the plays, plans the strategy, and is the “boss” of the team. But in the world of Instructional Coaching, we take a more Rogerian approach to coaching. The coach is the one who hones, who provides a mirror for reflection. When coaching takes this form, suddenly the recipient is the primary actor. YOU decide the goal, the vision. All that the coach provides is sharpening of a strategy to achieve it or feedback about your success along that pathway. YOU are the actor both in the mental work and the ensuing action itself. This is a huge, fundamental shift and one that should not be underestimated.