Are You a COI or a COA Person?

I just found some material that ties into a previous post that I did on layers.  Are you a center of influence person, or are you a center of attention person? Don’t answer too quickly; wait until I explain and then think through your answer. In the previous post on layers, I spoke about people’s fears and how they start to build up protective layers because of those fears. Then they build up layers on top of those layers to keep anyone from even getting close to those fears. These layers determine the way people respond and act under different circumstances. This new information provides a great example of how to identify if you have built up layers and maybe don’t know it. It also helps show you how you will think when you minimize the number of fears you have, which in turn, will eliminate layers.

A center of influence person is aware that every thought, emotion, word, and behavior he expresses has an effect. If you are a center of influence person, you understand that you set the tone for your relationships. You take responsibility for how you interact with others and how they treat you. You cannot control what other people think or how they behave,  yet your beliefs and behavior serve to teach others how they should treat you. If you are in a difficult situation with someone, you ask yourself, “What effect did my communication have on that person and that situation?” As a center of influence person, you see others in terms of their needs, not yours. And you acknowledge the way you feel and recognize that you are the cause.

As a  center of attention person, you emanate fear and see other people according to what they have done to you or what they should be doing for you. Emotionally, you believe others should change to meet your needs and wants—that others should fit your ideas and beliefs in order for you to feel complete. The world must conform to your expectations. When it does conform to your expectations, you say that things are going well. When it doesn’t, you are unhappy. When your well-being comes from outside of you, there is always a fear that you won’t get what you need or want. You see the world as having caused you to feel hurt or angry.

If you are a center of influence person, then you operate with very few layers. If you are a center of attention person, then you still have many layers that need to be worked on and removed. It is easy to look at specific situations in our lives and say, “I get along great with people” or “I do think of others.” We think of people we like or situations that are in our favor, and we can easily convince ourselves that we don’t have many layers. But the way to analyze this is to think of people we don’t get along with, people that have different opinions than ours, and situations that are not in our favor. Does your opinion of those people change, or do you try to understand why they think the way they do? Do you blame the situation for why you didn’t do what you were supposed to do? Another way to analyze this is to look at your long-term relationships. Do you keep many, or do you lose most of them? People with few layers keep many long-term relationships because their happiness and self-assurance are not affected by other people. They can easily be around people that have different opinions and beliefs because they are secure with themselves and who they are. They don’t feel the need to defend themselves, so in turn, they don’t violate the relationship.

So how do we remove the layers we have? There are four steps that help accomplish this goal.  1) Start reading  self-development books and gain an understanding of human nature. 2) Work at something and build your self-esteem. 3) Find a mentor that can help you identify your layers or blind spots. 4) After interactions with others, analyze why you reacted the way that you did. The purpose of these four steps is not to learn some new technique, but rather to give you a different perspective. People skills alone will not change you from a center of attention person to a center of influence person. Somewhere in you, there is a layer ( pre-supposition) that is affecting how you behave, and the goal is to root it out. Only gaining a new perspective and being secure with who you are will allow you to be confident in your interactions with others.   

Bill Lewis




57 thoughts on “Are You a COI or a COA Person?”

  1. Great post Bill,
    I met a man yesterday who is well on his way learning and leading. So far he has been unable to get his wife to grow with him. His wife has layers upon layers. She will not read or listen to material that will benefit her growth. Very self centered, and fearful. Any thoughts?

    1. thats a tough one. if someone doesn’t want to grow then there is almost nothing you can do for that person. wish i had a better answer but i have tried that route before and it damages the relationship if you try to make them grow.

  2. New information for a new age. Can’t wait for the day LIFE and TEAM are house hold names. You are a true inspiration to me Mr Lewis. Thank you

  3. This is a very interesting subject. Truth speaks. It takes practice to identify layers. Most of us do not think we are acting as the center of attention person. We think we are thinking of others and truly caring for their needs, yet as we practice and learn about people, relationships and ourselves, our views change because we start looking from the inside out. Observing our actions, our motives and most importantly being aware of ourselves as we interact with others. One thing I have started to do that has really assisted me with becoming more aware of how I interact with others is my own 13 resolutions… For my week one I Resolved to act and react with awareness first by pausing and looking at the situation, kind of like, stepping out of myself and becoming the observer. This really helped me see how instant my first reactions were not correct. This is a lifelong journey, and I am reminded that no matter where we are at….We can always get better! Thank You Bill!

  4. I really appreciate your posts Bill! I enjoyed the deeper insght on “Layers” and how to attack them. We all have them…more evidence that I AM the project. 🙂

  5. Bill,

    I really have had to rethink the way I was reacting/responding to a lot of things in my life when you delivered that “Layers” talk. I have found some benefit from this talk alone, now with this I am seeing the point better. I remember you admitting that there were some points you were struggling to communicate and I can tell you that these newest ones have cleared the path a lot for me.
    I realize that the student can’t tell the teacher how to teach but time will tell if this student learned.

    Thanks brother, I am anxious to apply this.
    Dan Pinkelman

  6. Thanks Bill this blog gives me food for thought and ways to fix misunderstandings.
    A, person may want to get a hold on some Life materials to help them become a better version of themselves. Thanks again and blessings to you.

  7. Wow!! This is a post that I will save and read and reread many times. Bill you see deeper into the way the human mind body and soul works then anybody that I know. I really appreciate your understanding in this matter of human relationships and emotions thank you. I know I don’t have as deep of an understanding as you do but I will will dig deeper and gain wisdom in this field thanks for your help.

  8. Great post Bill. Thank you to L.I.F.E. for creating a safe enviornment/culture where I can work on removing those layers that I built up prior to embarking on this awesome journey.

  9. Truth! Your leadership thinking and willingness to share it with others and help them grow is truly am example for others. Thank you for all you do!

  10. That was an eye opener!!! More areas I need to grow!!!!! Thank u Bill!!!! I really need that!!!! I know the difference now!!!!

  11. Hey Bill thanks for the post! Great stuff as always! You are my FAVORITE PC member to listen to. Your info always gets me excited and I love your sense of humor as well (especially when you were talking about diving into the two different pools hahahaha)! Thanks for doing what you are doing!

    I had a question, on the CD ‘Identify Your Layers’ as well as this blog article you wrote, was the book you referenced The DNA of Relationships perhaps?

    Derrick Knoff

    Team Red Eagles: We Are:
    First to Serve! Power Player!

  12. Bill, I have to admit that in some instances in my life I’m a COA type of person. Often I find it to be with the people who are closest to me who have differing opinions on topics I consider important. Now, on instances where I have an opportunity to meet someone new and start afresh I find myself to much more COI oriented. I build a solid base at that level and try to develope the correct habits with them, upon which the relationship can be built with strength. Fortunately, I can recreate, or perhaps reform, relationships that I already have. It does take the destruction of some old poor habits, and the creation of more solid principle based ones. To say I fully understand this cocept would be a self deceived statement at best. I am just learning me it seems. I am very appreciative of your expounding on this topic, Bill. It has been really awesome, and truly revealing for me. Thank you.

  13. Great article, Bill. Definitely makes one think. I’m so glad we are a part of a group that encourages self-analysis and has the tools to help with such an inside job.

  14. I love it!! I’ve been part of the Team for a bit over a yr now and I so appreciate the transparency in this community. I’m striving to become a person with fewer layers. There’s no place I’d rather be……..!!!!!!!!

  15. Great article Bill. There is a lot of material here that we can use in self evaluation .
    Thanks for leading the charge.

  16. Bill,
    Great post. Makes me think about the layers I had when I worked for the State. I believe one of the biggest lessons I have learned working with you is the need to stop blame shifting. Except responsibility. Evaluate why you think the way you think.
    God Bl;ess

  17. Thanks for expanding on what each of those mean….it is easy to quickly say “no I am not just all about me”….until you really dive in and think through ALL of your relationships (not just the great ones!) Great Blog…thanks for taking the time to write it.

  18. Excellent tie-in with that previous blog post (and live Major to CD talk), thank you for sharing it here in the blogosphere, Bill. You are the epitome of a serving leader, and your Kaizen brothers & sisters in arms very much appreciate your & Jackie’s world class leadership for your tribes + the entire LIFE community, inc. us. God Bless.

  19. Bill, thank you for so clearly spelling out the difference between a COI and a COA person. If we all strive to be a COI we will be happier and we will get real discussion in our countries on issues that affect all of us and really matter for our individual and corporate lives.

  20. Awsome post! I can see where I used to be a person with alot of layers, but through self development and measuring myself up against who God created me to be, versus what others want me to be, my layers are about all removed. Im enjoying who I am becoming and LIFE has made all the difference! Being a center of attention person can be painful– but being a person of influence is so rewarding! Thanks Bill!

  21. Bill,
    Thanks for sharing these words of wisdom about layers. Since hearing you and Jackie talk about this topic, I’ve been prompted to look more deeply into why I react the way I do in different situations. I’m reminded that God sees me inside and out, so I should have no fear of being transparent with others.

  22. I love the layers idea, it takes human relationships and sums it up simply by saying; peel the layers and you will have many quality relationships.”No one likes a banana that hasn’t been peeled!”

  23. Mr. Lewis,
    I know that I have too often been the center of attention.
    I am proud to say with your leadership and that of Brian Powers and Tony Jackson, I have made amazing turnaround in not only my personal life, but my proffesional life as well.
    I look forward to evry opportunity to grow thanks to you all.

  24. Bill,

    I have really enjoyed this journey of self inspection. Your blogs lately have really helped me to think through my relationships with everyone around me which has helped me to realize that my lack of love for myself an my low self esteem has damaged many relationships. My layers of protection that I had accumulated over the years I believe has been holding me back in every area of life. I thank God every day for my father sharing this community with me. I could stand to re-read this several times there are a lot of great nuggets in this article. Thank you for teaching this subject so diligently, this information is a quickening of personal growth and development.

  25. What an excellent post! I used to lean more towards a COA attitude. But through the information available through LIFE I am now, or am developing, a COI attitude. Many thanks to you, Bill and the rest of the PC for making available such thought provoking, life changing information! And thank you for the stellar example of what a true leader is!

  26. Fully agree….always thinking the attention getter was ‘lacking’ somewhere else. See these kids walking around with their behinds hanging out, gages hanging off their ears, etc confirms lack of real, true attention in their lives. The book “Building your Mates Self-Esteem” was an eye opener for many relationships in my life! Great book…recommend for everyone no matter how confident you are in your life…always room to improve and help others improve thru encouragement! Thanks!

  27. Great post Bill! Getting new quality information has dramatically changed my life and my families! By learning how to be a COI person (granted I will be working on this skill the rest of my life) has changed everything! My relationship with husband has grown exponentially, my kids draw pictures of me smiling now, I have great friends, and blessed with amazing mentors. It has not been easy to grow and change but it has been worth it!

    Thank you for having the courage to stand for the truth.

  28. What a powerful post Bill! Your posts are always so inspiring. It’s always great to learn from a terrific leader. Thank you for taking the time to post!

  29. Thanks for the fantastic article Bill! This insight is nothing short of incredible. I’ll take it to task to attack my personal layer, now that I finally realize that I have them. The power of information is incredible!

  30. Awesome post! I just read it to my 16 year old daughter and it went along with some of the dealings she is having with friends. She is a COI attitude and this post was a great discussion on why firends can act in a manor frustrating to her when they are of the COA. I love planting nuggets from these posts that can help her navigate through the teen years and beyond. I learn form these posts all the time but this one just had perfect timing for her.

  31. Home run on this one! What a life we can live if we will expose our thinking to those who can help us peel the layers off! I am thankful for your mind and ability to communicate it to those looking to sprout!

  32. Thank you Bill, this this type of information is great for self examinanation and presonal growtth and development. Thank you for the insights.

  33. Bill thanks for the head pop!! When I read your blogs I hear you in background saying, you got it knucklehead? I got it !! Thanks Bro still thinking of you and Family…

  34. That is a FANTASTIC post Bill!! I Am the project for sure….growing daily to become a COI in all areas of my life..not just some areas!! I loved how the steps needed to take in order to peel those layers off are so simple & things we are doing daily in LIFE!!!!



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