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The Art of Building Coalition

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  • Be prepared for several rounds of conversation that may or may not take place in the same day. It is okay if the issues don’t all surface right away and it is okay if the issues are not all resolved in the first conversation… let it unfold.
  • Be sure to express gratitude and acknowledge everyone’s willingness to engage in this type of conversation, and celebrate the ground that was covered even if there are more conversations to have before it is entirely resolved.

PART THREE—The wrap up

  • Let that person know that it does not need to be completely handled today.
  • Thank that person for being willing to engage with you in the conversation.
  • At the end of the conversation, acknowledge something positive about how they were being with you (i.e., did they listen so that you felt heard? Were they open-minded? Did they contribute openly and honestly to the conversation?)
  • Acknowledge that person fully. Recognize and praise any personal risks they might have taken to engage in this dialogue with you. Reaffirm your commitment to each other’s success.
  • If another round of conversation is needed, schedule it now.
  • If you feel the conversation did not go well, or yield the intended outcome, you can try again…do not be afraid to have multiple attempts, as each one adds value and clears blockages.


With that groundwork in place, you have set the stage well for sustainable relationships of influence.  You will want to nurture those relationships over time and recognize that your ability to influence is directly linked to how well you understand what matters to the other person in any given situation or timeframe and how effectively you can link your influence points to motivational hooks that matter to the other individual.

The mindset that will make all of this work is one of SERVICE. Put yourself in the frame of mind that you are continuously looking for ways to be helpful and useful to the other person. You want to find ways to help them succeed, to support them in identifying and removing the barriers to their success, and to realize that by helping others you will reap the benefits in multiples. The very first step, of course, is to identify the key players that it would make sense to approach for the purpose of coalition building. Then, by applying the above process, you will easily build partnering relationships in all the domains that will advance your objectives.

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