Good assumptions, bad assumptions – How can we really empower ourselves and others?

A few weeks ago, I was chatting to a friend, having just gone through a few days of mayhem. I offloaded to this friend. The mayhem had included three or four majorly difficult things happening all in 36 hours, all needing urgent attention, one of which was my dear mum who needed medical attention.

Everything got sorted and all was ok, but as you do, it felt good to let off steam and explain; ‘I’ve just dealt with a whole bunch of nasty incidents and its all ok now, but phew!’

My friend listened briefly then started praying for me. The prayer was in an earnest, diligent style of prayer, crying out to The Lord for help.

Afterwards I went away having felt happy and positive, feeling empowered that I had dealt with things and that everything was ok, to feeling doubtful, a little sad and slightly anxious.


I honestly wasn’t feeling stress, anxiety, desperation or any of the feelings that it had maybe been assumed I was. I didn’t even honestly need prayer right then. I was more in a mode of thankfulness and elation from getting through some difficult circumstances and everything being ok. I was already chatting to God thanking him.

What I really needed was someone to celebrate with me and also say, ‘phew’ and maybe a ‘well done’, you are brilliant!’ Ok, so we all love to hear that sometimes be honest now!

I’d like to propose that we commonly make assumptions as to where people are at and what they need without truly connecting with them. In this incidence, I momentarily took on some negative assumptions of what I needed and started to doubt the positive place that I had previously felt in.

Imagine, I essentially got disempowered and part of that was receiving prayer!

How can we avoid disempowering people and ourselves?

There are some foundational attitudes that we teach leaders, that develop the ability in them to make positive, empowering assumptions towards those they help. The whole Destiny Coaching methodology teaches ways on how to avoid making negative assumptions that disempower people.

As coaches and coach leaders in training, we actively work on and develop attitudes such as, ‘my coachee is resourceful, powerful, creative and free’. Also, that we as coaches are not the fixers, but facilitators of positive change and transformation.

This is so releasing to leaders, as it means we don’t have to work on people’s problems but simply empower them to find their own answers on the agendas that they bring to us. We are always listening for the agenda that is on the heart of those we coach. And I love this coaching foundational attitude; ‘my coachee can do anything they set their heart and mind to do, with God and in season!’

Having these and other foundational attitudes embedded into the whole way we approach leadership, truly sets us up to empower people!

Firstly, we go on a deep dive discovery process, actively listening at a heart and spirit level, around the agenda of their choice.   If you haven’t experienced this before, it is truly empowering! Having someone listen to you and draw out passion, ideas, dreams and solutions from you that you had no idea were in you. It’s amazing and life giving!

The Bible says to love others as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31). So, as well as learning how to listen this deeply to others, we can empower ourselves by listening this way to our own hearts and spirits.

The key is to believe that we are powerful, resourceful, masterpieces created by God (Eph 2:10). To believe we are free (John 8:36) and naturally creative.

What if we truly believe in ourselves and others?

We can then flip from being an advice giver to asking powerful open questions which stimulate the discovery of ideas. We can flip from feeling we are helpless in situations to believing we can and will find solutions. We can flip negativity to help us see things from empowering, positive perspectives.

Try it:

If I truly am a powerful, precious, resourceful, masterpiece created and loved by God, naturally creative and free, what is available to me now?

What assignments on earth could I apply myself to, to truly steward all that I have created to be?

What do I want to spend my live on achieving as a masterpiece created by God?

In thinking about a particular challenge or difficulty – What would I desire the ideal outcome to be from this? How can I start stepping towards this? 

Asking powerful questions and listening actively draws out incredible answers, ideas, and solutions.

But don’t we have great advice and can’t we tell people the answer?

Of course, we can, but many times people don’t want to be told answers they want someone to listen and empower them.

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.’ Proverbs 20:5

So, in short, good assumptions, assume we are capable, we will find strength.

Carrying these good assumptions is being a true friend to ourselves and others.

Championing ourselves and others is to remember the powerful person we and they are!

Listening to what they have achieved without interruption and celebrating with them, empowers.

Actively listening, showing genuine interest, empowers.

Asking a person how they feel instead of assuming you know, empowers.

Flipping doubt or negative thinking to positive declarations and truths so that the person can align to the truth (if they need to), empowers.

Acknowledging difficulties but not feeling like we have to fix them for the other person (unless the other person is asking us for help), empowers.

Offering help but also being willing to stand down, if help is not required, empowers

Carrying bad or disempowering assumptions is when we don’t believe that the person is capable of fixing their own messes. We assume the person needs our advice, we are quick to suggest solutions without fully listening to the persons story, their feelings and where they are at. We interrupt them, because we want to fix them and feel we know best without hearing them out or asking them how they are getting on. We assume they need prayer or want prayer. We give them encouraging words from the Bible or God without giving them the time and space to express themselves and let us know what they really need and how they really feel. We don’t really see this person as a masterpiece created by God, but rather as someone that needs our intervention. All of this disempowers.

Of course, helping people, making suggestions, praying for them and all these things are not wrong in themselves, they are wonderful. However, when done without truly connecting and listening, or without asking for permission, this can be disempowering. Doing all these things without developing the positive attitudes above, can mean we do them from a disempowering place, believing that we are a person’s fixer.

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that as well as getting outside opinions and help, we have strength and we have and will overcome. Our story of overcoming is our testimony and the Bible says; ‘They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony….’ Rev 12:11

So, don’t assume you can’t, you won’t. Don’t assume you need a powerful person to step in and rescue you, you probably don’t! You are a powerful person! You have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16) and you were made as a masterpiece! Treat yourself and others knowing this truth!

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