Do you use your Power to Empower?

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Do you use Your Power to Empower?

As Leaders, we need to be conscious of the power we hold over our learners

In a privileged position of authority, it’s important to keep not only the individual’s care at the forefront of our decisions, but to shift the power of our role towards empowering each individual; giving them ownership of their own learning journey.

Thank goodness modern times have evolved leadership from the old autocratic styles to a more inclusive and inviting behavioural approach. Many now recognising autonomy and self-directed learning as imperative for growth.

In some contexts though, namely sport, it is still common practice to accept a coach-driven approach, whereby one person holds all the power.

Our intentions as leaders can start from an honourable place of wanting to ‘give back’ and ‘impart knowledge’, but are we really helping them by giving and imparting?

How will learners grow in

  • decision making
  • taking risks
  • learning from mistakes
  • coming up with their own unique, novel solutions
  • self-regulating

if we are using our power to be ‘The Knowledgable One’, giving corrective feedback and trying to control the complex world of human development?

A common mistake among those who work in sport is spending a disproportional amount of time on “x’s and o’s” as compared to time spent learning about people. Mike Krzyzewski, Basketball
How about using our power to empower?

Let’s move from dealing with knowledge, to dealing with people

Does empowering our learners mean we let go of our responsibilities?

Actually, the responsibility deepens in navigating a careful balance between:


    Building a trusting and stable relationship with each learner


    Overseeing group dynamics to facilitate and guide when needed.


    Detaching from learners so they can attach to their experience, working independently of you and interdependently with each other.

“The children, who are at the centre of attention for the learning activities, are also some of the primary tools, resources and systems for enacting it.”   - Matthew O’Neil
what kind of relationship do you have with your learners?

Are you upholding the rights of their learning journey?

3 Comments on “Do you use your Power to Empower?”

  1. This is so important… i empower my players to make decisions on the court and then we talk about how those decisions worked out and what the other options were. I see myself as a guide/facilitator. I don’t yell instructions from the sideline. Another parent stepped in for me as I couldn’t make last week’s game. I wrongly thought he would mainly just call subs, apparently he yelled instructions at the players non stop which confused and upset them. He’s not a bad guy that’s just how he chooses to coach, the players would no doubt get used to that after a few games and be fine. My question to him would be, will they be better players? Better decision makers after a season with you where you make every decision for them, or with me where they have to think for themselves? Needless to say they were happy to see me this week…

    1. Brilliant example Kerry and great questions, I wonder what his response would be? I wonder if he was even aware of what he was doing. Seems it’s still a ‘default’ way of coaching to be in charge, motivate and make all the decisions - Tough gig 😉

      Interesting to hear of your learners having the facilitator approach first followed by the instructor. From experience, it’s hard work introducing a different approach to those who are used to being told what to do. But worth the journey to see confident, creative players emerge from being empowered.

      Keep up the great work Kerry 🙂

  2. Pingback: From Decision Maker to Decision Facilitator - GPL GAME PLAY LEARN

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