The four Es of making a difference with others

If you manage people or if you are simply trying to make a difference through coaching, mentoring or supporting someone you care about, I would like to share with you some thoughts about four distinctions you should focus on.  I refer to these as – The Four Es of Making a Difference


The dictionary defines enable as “To give someone the means to make something possible

So many people get resigned and give up too quickly when they face big challenges. They view their obstacles as bigger than them, so instead of staying the course to overcome their obstacles they quit or simply go through the motion, which is worst.

In fact, too many people fail because they give up, rather than because they give it their all and fail trying. If you want to make a difference, your job is to enable them to achieve the things they want to achieve but they don’t think they can.

As you listen to the person you are coaching, ask yourself the following questions in order to determine your input:

  1. “Do they trust themselves to get the job done – even if they don’t know how or they haven’t been successful in the past?
  2. “Do they trust themselves to overcome whatever challenges and obstacles come their way?”
  3. “Do they believe they are big enough – bigger than their challenges and circumstances, or are their challenges and circumstances bigger than them?”

Make sure your conversation with them leaves them bigger than their circumstances and challenges.


I didn’t know this word even existed in the English language until I checked the dictionary, which defines embolden as: “To give someone the courage and confidence to do something or behave in a certain way

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather acknowledging and embracing the fear and living up to your commitment anyways. You could say that fear is the pre-requisite for courage. No fear, no courage. Courage is often the most important ingredient in overcoming any challenge or adversity, pursuing any opportunity or achieving any success. Unfortunately, lack of courage is also one of the most frequent reasons for why people don’t have what they want. If you want to make a difference, your job is to empower them to be as courageous as they need to be in order to fulfill their commitments and dreams.

As you listen to the person you are coaching, ask yourself the following questions in order to determine your input:

  1. “Are they being courageous?”
  2. “Are they taking courageous actions?”
  3. “Are they willing to do whatever it takes to have what they want?”
  4. “What are they afraid of?”

Your job is to show the person you are making a difference with that (1) they are able to achieve their commitments, (2) they need the courage to do so and (3) they are completely able to be courageous, act courageously – to bring forth courage.


The dictionary defines energize as “To give vitality and enthusiasm”

Most people react to circumstances. If things go well, they are happy and energized. If things don’t go well they get discouraged and de-motivated. Most people expect the circumstances, including others to give them energy and excitement.

Winston Churchill said:

“Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”

The most powerful people self-generate energy and positive attitude in the face of anything. Self-generating commitment, optimism and hope is real power.

As you listen to the person you are coaching, ask yourself the following questions in order to determine your input:

  1. “Are they self-generating positive energy, inspiration and motivation for themselves and others around them?”
  2. “Are they indulging in self-pity or victim mentality?”
  3. “Are they present to the cost of self-pity and victim mentality, and do they want to change that?”
  4. “Do they feel able to generate optimism, hope and commitment, even in the face of challenging circumstances?”

Your job is to inspire the person you are making a difference with to self-generate a different outlook of optimism and hope, as well as energy, passion and enthusiasm – unconditionally.

The best way to do that is to infect the person you are making a difference with, through your own energy, passion and optimism, in your interactions with them. Don’t merely speak about it, demonstrate it in your own behavior.


The dictionary defines empower as “To give someone the authority or power to do something”

Personal power is measured by how quickly someone can transform their vision into reality or achieve what they want. There is a science and art to creating a vision and strategy, as well as executing and achieving it. Most people fail in the science part – they lack the patience and rigor to articulate their vision, to create a robust plan or to do what they said effectively in order to execute and achieve it.

As you listen to the person you are coaching, ask yourself the following questions in order to determine your input:=

  1. “Are they clear enough on their vision and what they want?”
  2. “Do they have a robust enough plan and strategy to fulfill their vision?”
  3. “Are they taking sufficient action to turn their vision, possibilities and commitments into results and reality?”
  4. “Are they doing what is needed and what it takes?”

Your job is to empower the person you are making a difference with to do what it takes to create and achieve their vision and commitment.

Obviously, all the Es are interlinked and it is often hard to tell where one begins and the other ends. However, if you keep the four Es in front of you as you are communicating with, and trying to make a difference with someone you care about I am sure the conversation itself will present many opportunities to bring these distinctions to life.

Founder and President of Quantum Performance Inc., a management consulting firm specializing in generating total alignment and engagement in organizations.

His work has encompassed a broad range of industries including banking, telecommunications, manufacturing, entertainment, real estate, retail, startups and non-profits.

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