Thanks for stopping by, CJ and I appreciate your comment. I think I see where you are coming from, but let me know if I’m off the mark. The core difference is “power”. My proposition is that it is just not possible to empower someone. If, as I suggest in the article, I deign to grant you power, the power ultimately still rest with me. I can just as easily revoke it, usually without recourse. Indeed, I see this happen in workplaces all the time.
If I act as a coach or in some other way provide you support so that you can hone your ability to do something, there is still a power imbalance at the outset, in that I may start out as the “knower” or the “guide” or “teacher”, however, the issue at hand is that I am not interested in retaining power over you; I am as interested as you are in you gaining mastery and potency in some aspect of yourself. As your ability grows, that particular power imbalance recedes as you become as adept, if not more adept, than me. In any case, you have gained mastery of yourself and your new abilities and you will more than likely be carrying them out in your style, with your own flavour, out of your own creativity and spontaneity.
I am also interested in “mutuality”. Relationships where one believes they are empowering others are not mutual; I believe these are based on dependency.
While I think there is plenty that we can do to others that may disempower them, and we see this going on all over the place (bullying, undermining, personal slights and attacks, abusing etc.), I remain convinced, from my many years of working with people in therapeutic relationships or in the context of change, that empowering comes from within. As I say in the article, subtle difference, but a very important one in how I see relationships with people.