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Machiavelli Was Right, Become a Kingmaker
By Colle Davis

Machiavelli wrote The Prince in an era of monarchs and cruel despots (15th and 16th Century). He was advising those seeking a higher station in the realm and who wanted to stay alive. Those serving the King/lord were sycophants, schemers, and hangers-on who had learned to stay in good graces. The French King Louis XIV codified courtly behavior, had it written on cards, and this ‘ticket’ became known as ‘etiquette.’

“To play the game, you have to know the other
person’s rules so you can break them.” – Dalai Lama

In my four decades of working as a coach with executives, politicians, business owners, and others holding high levels of lofty power, I have noted a pattern. First are those who want to become leaders capable of creating policy and profits. These clients climbed the career ladder faster than they thought possible with the help of coaching.

Next, there is a much smaller group with vivid dreams of riding the momentous surge created by their peers’ progress, surviving the setbacks, and rolling with the changes. Over time (years actually), I began to recognize that the smaller group were astute, intelligent, and remarkable people, and they were the kingmakers.
PLEASE NOTE: All due credit goes to Queens as well as Kings. When queens were in power, the term kingmaker was used. I’ll use the term throughout this piece because it describes the actions, not the gender.

Here is the hardest guideline to accept for becoming a kingmaker. There are no rules; this is the path of a modern-day Prince, and there are identifiable behaviors and tools required to move quickly toward the pinnacle of success while remaining intact and unblooded.

“This information covers the Tools of The Game, not the Rules of The Game
because there are NO RULES to The Game. Again, there are NO RULES
except those used by others to restrict themselves. One more time:
The Game itself has NO RULES.” – The Palace Coup by Colle Davis
What skills can you hone as a habitual practice to enhance your kingmaking prowess?

First step: Make a list of everyone you know well enough to call, then contact each and ask them this question; “What can I do to help you advance your career?” This group includes school contacts, people in organizations you may be part of, and people within your organization and industry.
This question is your gift to them. It is an opening for you to ask for their help in the future, and it gives them permission and the confidence to approach you later, and they will remember you and your support. Recruiting everyone you talk to as a potential resource builds an enthusiastic and powerful base.
Aside: Power vs. Control. These words are not interchangeable, though they are often mistaken. Here is the difference:
  • A person with power allocates resources and assigns others to use them to benefit the organization.
  • A control person oversees the resources to ensure their subordinates properly use them.
  • The power person never does the work. The control person shoulders the responsibility of making sure the work is done.
  • If you want power, do not do the work. Instead, delegate the work to the control person. The funny thing is the delegate is delighted with their control and respects the powerful person for giving them the reigns.
Here is a sports analogy:
  • The team manager does not claim to be an athlete because he/she is the leader.
  • The coach is not a player on the field. They oversee the distribution of resources to the advantage of the team. Coaches are the control people.
  • What can you do, or who do you know that can help one of your contacts?
  • Start by contacting each person on your list at least quarterly for the first year. Then, monthly for those who respond in any way.
  • They may give you more contacts to add to your list, and your POWER grows.
  • Keep your finger on the pulse of your large group, and it will give you unprecedented leverage that appears magical to outsiders.
  • With your cadre in place, you become a conduit to make things happen at lightning speed. People will ask you if you know of someone to fill an opening, a contractor to do a short gig, a good coach, or any of a thousand other items facing them. Your group of contacts may or may not have a person to fit the bill, and you can pass on the best people/ideas to those who ask.
Assembling a growing group of supportive and eager contacts makes you the focal point in their lives. You become the go-to person who does not have the answers but has the best questions and some suggestions on how to move forward.

Final caveat.
Being a kingmaker is not for everyone. In my decades of coaching, I’ve met only a half dozen. They are quiet, successful, and memorable people. Their counsel is sought, their suggestions taken, and their friendship treasured.

Work with me as your Coach. You will achieve different results by doing anything different than you currently do. Guaranteed. See the rest of our website or follow us on LinkedIn for more tips and tricks.

I guarantee it will change your life if you spend twenty minutes talking with me or on a Zoom call. No cost, no obligation. When you decide to continue improving your life with coaching, we will create a custom-designed program addressing what you want for an outcome and what resources you need to achieve that goal quickly and elegantly.

Contact me if you want more suggestions on how to reap bigger rewards. Or, if you really want to increase the size of your rewards quickly, hire me as your coach.


For help, contact us for more tips and suggestions on becoming an expert contact me. Colle Davis cdavis@mycoach.com or 804-467-1536 (EST) or set up a complimentary meeting via Zoom.