In business (and really in life in general), you are either influencing others or being influenced by others.
Right now in one of my businesses I am working to influence people to become advertisers/sponsors. Meanwhile, all sorts of radio, television, and print media are trying to influence me to advertise. Somewhere in these conversations some of us will achieve our primary goals, and others of us will not.
One of the most fruitful practice areas for the executive coach is in helping clients be more influential. There are specific conversations to have in specific situations that get results, and specific conversations that are neutral or do harm. You need to know these conversations and when to use them for optimal results. And then you need to know how to model them and teach them to others.
At the same time, sometimes when I am observing a meeting I categorize who says what by the type of influence style or conversation each person is having. Doing that, it quickly becomes clear who in a room holds true influence — regardless of title — who is being influenced, and who isn’t really doing much at all.
Note that influence doesn’t mean pushing a point of view across. In different situations, influence can mean listening in a certain way, using facts and logic, involving others to develop a consensus, sharing a vision, offering incentives, or asserting boundaries. Also, different cultures and situations tolerate different amounts of “pushiness.”
By dividing the world into influencing and being influenced, and understanding the subtleties of influence conversations, you can help your clients achieve their goals.