Move Your Clients to Action Using Soft Power

by Certified Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA

Stop signs. Regulations. Laws. Committees and approvals. Trying to make your client take action. These are examples of Hard Power. What if you could learn how to put people “in an energy state that communicates with and calms other people,” according to author Dr. Martha Beck in her book "Finding Your Way in a Wild New World." This is called Soft Power and it is the energy of yes--of asking others to yield to your positive energy. It can only be used for good. You cannot rob a bank with Soft Power or persuade someone to do something that is not in their interest.

The only way to really understand it is to try it. Grab a partner and give this a try. Once you master dropping into a state of Soft Power, you will be amazed at the customer service you receive, how your clients calmly move forward with their financial plans and how you can calm an upset person.

Karl Dettmann demonstrates Soft Power at his Friendship Luncheon “It Only Takes One” at Central Regional with a volunteer.

Here are the steps: (give it a try—really!)

1) Stand facing your partner with your hands out in front of you like you are going to clap. Have your partner do the same.

2) Pick one person to push on the outside of the other person’s hands.

3) The pusher then rests his/her hands, touching the outside of the other person’s hands.

4) The person with the hands being pushed should not let the other person push their hands together. Tell the pusher to push as hard as they can (without hurting you or him/herself!) on the inside hands while the inside hand person resists. Think about Hard Power (struggle, effort, domination). Notice what happens.

5) Next, repeat the exercise of having the person push the other person’s hands together, only THIS second time, the pusher will go through the following additional steps before they push again.


-Close your eyes and take a slow deep breath

-Imagine that roots are magically growing from the bottoms of your feet, spreading out into the earth far and wide. You are firmly anchored and very strong.

-Next, think about a person who you love with all your heart. Picture his/her face and let your heart fill with the warmth of loving this person so much.

-Now, think of an animal or a child who you love unconditionally. Let the sensation of their love for you and your love for them fill you up.

-Last, imagine a sanctuary—a place such as your home or a vacation spot or a place you like to visit where you feel safe and at peace.

-Let your chest fill up with the love and compassion that these thoughts bring up.

-Drop this warm, good feeling down deep into your body. See if you can drop it as low as your belly button. Let it start to spin and when you feel fluttering, spinning or an energetic sensation there…

6) Tell the other person “ready.” Then, push the other person’s hands together while they resist you just as much as the first time.

It should be incredibly easy to push their hands together. That is because your body is saying “yes, yes, yes…yield to me” and the other body will yield every time. If you don’t believe it, try it again. Keep trying it until you can reach that place of love and compassion and stay in that place. Continue to mentally return. Practice on people who try to restrict you, make errors or are challenging to reason with. (This is how you can resolve invoicing errors, insurance mix ups, strict institutional rules, etc.) Switch places and give the other person a chance to experience Soft Power.

“When you are the person whose hands are pushed together, you’ll find yourself weirdly unable to resist, or even unable to try to resist. It’s not that you feel weak, exactly; it’s that you can’t remember not to go along with the other person. If you’re the person doing the pushing, the first effort feels grueling and difficult. The second ridiculously easy. Most people think the other party is faking weakness,” writes Beck.

How does it work? According to Beck, “your heart and brain begin broadcasting those strong, high-amplitude waves that entrain other people’s hearts and brains.”

Not only does it work, but accessing this place of peace inside your own body feels relaxing and peaceful. Try it and email us with your results!