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David Smith

Build and increase your executive presence

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So, executive presence is not innate. While many factors are vague – who can truly define charisma? – there are some concrete factors involved as well…

Executive presence really distills to who you are and how you present yourself to the world. 

Here, we will cover ways you can build and increase your own executive presence. With practice, anyone can develop an executive presence. 

Start working on it now because as you climb the ladder you are going to have to rely on your executive presence more and more. This is a skill that must be continually improved, refined and mastered as you advance through your career.

Now, here are some valuable steps you can take in order to build and increase your executive presence…

Communication Is Key

We’ve said this repeatedly and for good reason. When it comes down to it, a leader is only as effective as their communication skills. To have executive presence, you must be a skilled communicator, period. 

Make sure you are able to communicate well in any situation and across all mediums: virtual platforms, through written communication and in person. 

Make sure you are articulate. Choose your words carefully. Trust in the pause. While silence can be awkward, use it to your benefit, assessing how your audience is interpreting your message. 

Know Your Worth

In our self-assessment, we made it clear that those with executive presence know what they bring to the table. Now, there’s a fine line between confident and cocky so tread carefully but never doubt your value. You bring much to the table with your individual perceptions and experiences. Go in to situations with this mindset and you are golden.

Listening Is Half The Battle

Communication is about so much more than talking. The other half of being an effective communicator is making sure you take the time to listen to others.

People who listen to others and make them feel valued tend to have excellent executive presence. 

Engage with the person you are speaking with, listen to their viewpoints, ask questions and explore new ideas. When you listen, you also demonstrate to others that you don’t have to be the center of attention which in turn shows self-confidence.

Clearly Explain Your Vision

If you are a leader, you likely have a vision for where you are guiding your team. Make sure you know what you are trying to accomplish and then work on conveying that message to your team. Be sure you can explain it succinctly in any situation. Your lengthy boardroom message will not be well received at the dinner table but your vision still needs to hit its mark.

Build Your Network, And Your Reputation 

Having executive presence when you walk in the room is great, having senior staff know who you are before you step off the elevator is even better. 

Be sure to take time carefully cultivating your network. Corporate politics are neither good nor bad and people who possess executive presence are adept at building beneficial relationships. As you build your network, your reputation will begin to grow as well.

First Impressions Matter

Whether you like it or not, the way you present yourself to the world matters a great deal. An unkempt suit and messy hair do not say “follow me”. 

You don’t need to try to be something you’re not, but neatness does matter. 

Try to conform to company standards, ensuring your clothing fits and that your personal grooming is taken care of. You want the reputation you build to be based on your skills and attributes not your lack of personal hygiene.

Closing

There is a common thread that runs through everything pertaining to executive presence…and that is YOU. 

To effectively lead, you must rely on your skills, character, substance, and style.

 Find who you are and be authentic to yourself. 

No matter what the culture of the company is and what their values are, you are the best thing you can bring to the table.

Combining The Traits Of Executive Presence

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All of these traits and abilities can be rounded up into 3 distinct categories: 

  • Character
  • Style
  • Substance 

Your character is who you are, your innermost self. It is made up of all the values and traits that make you who you are. Your character determines how you see the world around you, how you see others, how you see yourself. 

While a person’s character is arguably the most important thing that creates a leader, this is something that cannot be seen by the outside world. Your integrity, courage, priorities, and optimism help to create your character. When you are in a position of leadership, you rely on these character traits and values to lead. You must know who you are and where you stand in order to consistently operate in your role as a leader.

The way people see you and experience you as a person is determined by your style. Often, your style determines the first impression others make of you. 

To figure out who you are, they rely on the way you dress, the way you carry yourself, your speech and your mannerisms, and the way you interact with others. If the way you carry yourself does not shout “leader”, others are less likely to follow you. If others don’t see you as someone worthy of the position or title you hold, they will often tune you out. While it might not be fair, everyone makes presumptions of others based on observations when it comes to style.

Your gravitas, your demeanor, and your social presence are the things that make up your substance. Your substance is how you integrate your character into the way you behave as a leader. As a leader, one must evoke a sense of maturity and wisdom. A person with executive presence must be strategic, confident and composed when interacting with others. Many leaders have been seen as having a lot of style, but no substance. These leaders don’t last long because they’ve got nothing to offer.

Knowing Where You Stand

How do you know if you’ve got a shot at leadership? 

How can you know if you command attention when you walk in a room? 

How can you tell if you’ve got executive presence?

In this section, we’ll touch on how to assess yourself and your standing when it comes to your executive presence. 

Peer Evaluation

While it is important to have confidence in yourself, and to trust what you bring to the table, executive presence is really all about how others perceive you. To perform a realistic assessment and determine where you stand when it comes to executive presence, you must also rely on the people around you for feedback.

First, be willing to accept constructive criticism. The only way to get better and develop in areas where you are lacking is to first understand what and where they are. 

Now, figure out who you want to evaluate you. No, your mother is not a good source here, she’s likely far too biased. Same goes for your spouse. Instead, turn to a work colleague who has no problem being candid with you. Perhaps a peer mentor, a supervisor, or a business partner. If you feel like you have no one to turn to in these roles, now is a good time to start cultivating relationships with them.

Have your evaluator look over the 8 Traits Of Executive Presence in the last section. Once they’ve reviewed them, have them answer what your strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to those traits.

Once you’ve received your feedback, evaluate how it matches up with where you want to be. Are you projecting what you mean to, or are you far off the mark? You might have certain intentions and you might think you are conveying that to others when in reality you are not being perceived the way you think you are.

Adjust where needed but also accept that others will not always see you the way you want them to and that’s fine. Just keep striving after your goals and keep trying to build the traits that come with executive presence.

Self-Evaluation

Sometimes we are not in a situation where we can rely on others to evaluate us. Perhaps you are an entrepreneur with no business peers to turn to. In this case, a trusted friend could work, but that’s not always your best bet. Sometimes, you need to take a realistic look at yourself and honestly evaluate what is going on.

Take a look at the 8 Traits Of Executive Presence and determine where you think your strengths and weaknesses are. When you are through, adjust your expectations and attitudes to better align with where you want to be.

Here is a short self-evaluation tool for determining if you have executive presence, or if it is something you don’t currently possess. 

  • Do you care too much about what others think, changing who you are to please them?
  • Are you someone who seeks validation, chasing after recognition and attention for what you do?
  • Do you dismiss compliments trying to avoid attention?
  • Are you a person who plays it safe? Do you freeze when it comes time to make a decision?
  • Do you brag about all you’ve accomplished, or take credit for work done by others?
  • Are you likely to shift blame? To cover up your mistakes, or try to fix them quickly before they are noticed by others?

If you answered yes to more than a few of these questions, you do not have high executive presence.

 Don’t worry though, you do have the ability to change your situation. You just need to be honest with yourself and be ready to make some changes.

 In the next section we will go over what you need to do in order to build executive presence, so keep reading!

  • Are you a person who does what is right even when you know there will be consequences?
  • Do you often give the glory to the team, knowing that you wouldn’t be successful without them?
  • Can you realize when it is time to let something go even if you’ve invested a lot in it?
  • Are you likely to take risks? Are you willing to tackle the unknown, outside your comfort zone?
  • Do you push into new situations, even when perfect conditions have yet to be met?
  • Can you admit your mistakes? Do you have the ability to learn from them?
  • Are you satisfied with what you’ve done even if you don’t receive validation from others?
  • Can you graciously accept compliments?

If you were able to answer yes to most of these questions, then you likely have a high executive presence. Congratulations – half the battle is won!

Even if you have what it takes when it comes to executive presence, you must still be able to effectively lead, and get others to follow.

8 Traits Of Executive Presence

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Leaders will all command respect in different ways and executive presence is much the same. While executive presence is a skill that can be learned, there are certain traits that can undoubtedly help. 

In this section, we’ll go over some of the key behaviors and traits possessed by people who have excellent executive presence.

  • Confidence – One of the most important aspects of executive presence is confidence. You must appear confident in the way you look and they way you speak, not only in what you say but also in how you say it. Stand tall, make eye contact, and focus on each person individually. Be aware of your tone and the way you speak. You should also dress the part.
  • Charisma – This is the “it” factor that so many people with great executive presence have. Part of executive presence is the ability to captivate others. Making sure each person feels heard, making others feel as though you are focused on them, ensuring others know they matter – these things are all key for developing charisma. Others will be drawn to your charm and force of personality. You can use your charisma to influence and persuade others, which of course is a goal when developing executive presence. 
  • Trustworthiness – To lead others, you have to garner their trust. You cannot do this if you are not consistent and have no conviction. You must be the person others see doing the right thing. Be the one standing up and speaking out against wrongdoings. You must also have integrity, doing the right thing even when no one is watching (because someone always is watching). You must show others that you are worthy of their trust and that you are worth following.
  • Relatability – Like we mentioned when discussing different viewpoints of executive presence, being relatable can be an important trait when it comes to establishing your own presence with people. One of the best ways to get people to notice you is to help them realize that you are the same as them – human. Don’t be afraid to discuss your experiences, your successes and failures. Make connections with others in order to build deeper, more meaningful relationships.
  • Composure – It’s essential to be able to assess the emotions of the people around you. When you can determine how others are feeling, it can help you better navigate situations. This is all well and good as long as you can keep your own emotions in check as well. Managing the way you respond to situations can establish your presence. People who have executive presence do not tend to be rattled by their situation, instead responding with grace and remaining calm.
  • Transparency and Authenticity – Again, another topic we’ve touched on when discussing executive presence. Authenticity is so important when it comes to establishing yourself as a person for others to emulate and follow. People with executive presence are genuine. They are comfortable with who they are, and they are straightforward pulling no punches whatsoever. Other people gravitate toward this, because people like this are trustworthy and relatable. It takes a confident person to be open about their mistakes and to own up to having fears and doubts.
  • Conciseness – For people with executive presence, one of the most important skills is communication. You must be able to convey your point and do it clearly. Clarity and conciseness are key to this. You must have a clear understanding of what you are trying to communicate, and you will likely need to shorten your message. People don’t tend to have long attention spans so you should ask yourself how you can get your message across in 10 words. If you are unable to articulate your message briefly, you need to rework your message.
  • Style – This goes along with what we’ve discussed when talking about leadership styles. People with executive presence rely on their own style of leadership without mimicking other leaders. Rely on your own sense of humor, your own mannerisms. Be authentically you and set yourself apart from other leaders. This will ensure people remember you and the reputation you have built for yourself.

Executive presence

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Many of the factors that set leaders apart are core personality traits

If you are in a position of leadership, it’s likely that you have displayed these traits and they helped to get you to where you are. 

If you don’t feel like you have some of these leadership traits, you might be wondering how you’ll ever manage to climb the rungs of that corporate ladder and we’re here to help you with that.

While many of the things that make an effective leader are natural traits and abilities, there are a few areas that can only be learned. 

There seems to be a lot of mystery surrounding this topic but there doesn’t need to be. In fact, we’re here to strip it away.

As with everything in business, if you’ve been around long enough you’ve seen the good and the bad. You’ve heard people described as having executive presence. You’ve certainly been able to realize when someone in a position of leadership does not command the same authority as others, largely due to the fact that they do not have executive presence.

But even though you’ve seen it in action, what exactly is executive presence and why should you care? 

In this chapter, we are going to delve deeper into this topic. We’ll take a look at what executive presence is and why it matters. We’ll discuss the behaviors and traits that define executive presence. We will serve up some tips to help you assess your executive presence as well as how to further develop and build on what you’ve already got on place.

Let’s get started!

What Is Executive Presence?

As with most things in the arena of business leadership, if you ask 100 different people what defines executive presence, you’ll get 100 different answers. 

Most people can’t quite put their finger on it  because executive presence comes from people who just have some sort of “it” factor, a certain je ne sais quoi or gravitas that seems to make them an excellent leader.

When you walk into a sales meeting or are interacting with a group in some way, you will generally find yourself drawn to a certain person. A person who commands respect, who exudes presence, who just seems like the leader.

This person has executive presence. 

In studies, researchers have found that many different views of executive presence including he actor’s view, the corporate view, and the psychologist’s view.

In the actor’s view, it is believed that executive presence comes from being able to connect with people on a deep level making it easier to motivate them. 

The corporate view reasons that executive presence comes from gravitas, communication, and appearance. A person must have poise and authentic confidence that projects a certain image to others. This image is what convinces others that we are leadership material, that it’s safe to follow us.

The psychologist’s view says that if you are in tune with your innermost self and represent your true self with confidence, others appreciate your authenticity and are likely to follow your leadership.

The reality is, all three of these views coming together forms the strongest executive presence. When looking at the actor’s view, you have to look back on your experiences and figure out how they shaped you as a leader. You can use these experiences to connect with others and build a presence with them. The corporate and psychologist’s views encourage us to take a look at who we truly are and how we are presenting ourselves to others. Without authenticity, no one will want to follow our leadership.

Do you inspire confidence in others? 

In your team? 

Among your subordinates? 

Have you done something to convince them to follow you, to trust in your leadership? 

 

Executive presence really hinges on how you control the room. What impressions you give to others and what effect you have on the people around you are also important. 

In leadership, you want to be the person who commands a room. 

If you are not an exceedingly confident person, you need to find a way to “Fake it till you make it.” You need to dress the part but not in a fake way – remember, authenticity is key.

But why does this matter anyway?

Why Do You Need Executive Presence?

In a recent survey of CIOs, Gartner found that executive presence is the number 2 leadership trait that makes a marked difference in a person’s career.

Executive presence isn’t only about inspiring confidence in people who work alongside you on your team, though. To be put in positions of higher esteem, you must also convince senior leaders that you are worth betting on. You must show them that you have potential in leadership. 

If you want a promotion, to get assigned to a high-profile sales team, to work on the influential research and development team, to climb the ladder in any way and gain opportunity… well, you need to inspire confidence. You need to make others believe in you.

Senior leadership will be making determinations about these positions when you are not around, which is why it’s so important that you make a striking impression on them when you are in their presence. You want the VP to remember that you are the one who had confidence and charisma, that you are the one who commanded the meeting regarding the new project. 

When senior leadership sees that you have executive presence, they are much more likely to give you opportunities. When it comes to placing people in leadership roles, they want people who can encourage others to follow them to get things done and that’s why it is vital that you start to command that attention long before senior leadership knows your name.

There are many people who, in spite of their lack of leadership abilities, have made it to the C-Suite. This is thanks to their executive presence. Unfortunately, many people who are excellent leaders will never make it to the top floor because they have not developed an executive presence.

So, we’ve determined what is meant by “executive presence”, and we’ve laid out why it’s important to start building this early on. 

But, how do you build it?

Glad you asked! Let’s keep moving and look at the traits of executive presence to explain this…

How Leaders Utilize Executive Coaching for Better Business Acumen and Organizational Development

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While it’s imperative your executive coach can help you develop self-awareness and lead you down the path to continuous self-development, there’s one element that’s equally crucial…

Your coach needs to have a thorough grounding in real world business experience.

Let’s face it, you’re a leader and an expert in your field. You don’t want to be explaining the nuts and bolts of running a business to your coach when you should be the one being guided.

Luckily, the most effective executive coaches can help you to sharpen your business acumen and organizational development. It’s just a question of finding the right coach.

The Key Benefits of Business Acumen for Your Organization

Business acumen is not just a necessary evil for someone running a business of their own.

As a salaried leader of an organization, you’ll notice some distinct and tangible benefits from improving your know-how in this area…

  • Increased efficiency should lead to enhanced profitability
  • By understanding the trade-offs involved in various actions, you’ll be able to make more logical and more strategic decisions
  • Not panicking in the face of threats and problems ensures you make more level-headed and superior decisions

These are all areas where a solid coach can help out.

How can they be of even further assistance, though?

How Can a Coach Help Polish Your Business Acumen and Organizational Development?

In order to help you refine your business acumen, a coach needs to understand how your organization makes money, and how it uses that money strategically. Your coach needs to be fully aware of how you contribute to your organization’s bottom line if you want to make an even stronger impact.

Better business acumen translates to better business decisions so which areas need working on?

While I’ll highlight financial literacy first, I want to make clear that business acumen is about far more than formal training in the intricacies of a balance sheet.

Where your coach will help you most is in interpreting this data and thinking at a higher and more strategic level. This, in turn, can improve organizational development where necessary to further drive profits and improve performance.

Do not underestimate the need for coaching in these areas either. Even if you’re already at the top of your game professionally, a solid coach can always fine-tune your business acumen but how is this so?

Well, business acumen is not an innate ability. You’ll need to develop skills you already have in the below areas and learn any skills that are not in place. Your coach is an invaluable part of this journey.

These components are all central to great business acumen:

  • Financial Literacy: If you want to manage budgets and improve ROI, you’ll need to understand the financial metrics of your company. The more you know about how cash is generated, margin and profitability, the better you can drive processes to improve profits. An effective executive coach will be familiar with all these areas. Your coach can step up your financial literacy by helping you probe into what creates growth in your organization and the reasons behind this. Your coach can help you determine what makes customers buy from your company so you can better attract more customers.
  • Leadership: Perhaps the area your coach can work on with you most easily is leadership. You should already have natural abilities in this area if you’re an executive. Your coach will simply bring out the best in them
  • Marketing: Since your coach will be marketing their own business, they’ll be able to assist you with the overview required to make better strategic decisions based on how your organization carries out its own marketing. And we’ll round out
  • Strategic Alignment: The most critical of these core competencies, an understanding of your organization’s overall strategy can help you and your coach to pinpoint gaps and identify areas where improvement can drive the bottom line

Assuming your coach has the ability to nudge you in the right direction of improving your knowledge of the above areas, what kind of elements can you work on during coaching?

Sharpening Business Acumen for Strategy Through Coaching

You can enrich your business knowledge by training in all the above areas. While your coach can assist you, that won’t be the prime focus.

Here, instead, are 3 fundamental elements your coach will work on with you so your business acumen naturally develops.

  • Your Thought Processes
  • Your Management Style
  • Your Leadership Skills

Your Thought Processes

By understanding the overarching frameworks of your organization, you’ll be better placed to evaluate decisions and steps you’re thinking of implementing, particularly useful for organizational development.

Your coach can dive deep with you into what drives your own decision-making process. By increasing your awareness of the scope and complexity of situations with the guidance of your coach, you can assess more clearly how your decisions will affect outcomes.

Your personality is pivotal here and this, again, is an area where your coach will be instrumental in guiding you.

Fluidity counts, too. Your coach will stress the importance of remaining able and willing to improvise when necessary.

Your Management Style

Any good coach will easily pinpoint your management style. They can readily identify any weaknesses here and push you gently toward making positive changes.

From strategic planning to measuring performance, from dealing with employee problems to managing an unwieldy department, how you get things done can directly affect the outcome.

Thinking about your management style is one thing. Working on it in tandem with a sharp executive coach is another entirely.

For both overall business acumen and the ability to affect organizational change, working on your management style is vital.

Your Leadership Skills

Simply mastering people and leadership skills can have a dramatic influence on your business acumen in general. A great coach will excel in these areas.

In addition to sessions with your coach, developing a mentorship network can also help you to drill down on how other executives lead and manage teams.

Working through a range of approaches with your coach can help you establish which would be most effective within your particular organization.

What To Do Next

As you should see by now, strong business acumen leads to wiser judgments and more impactful decisions. This inevitably translates to business success.

The bad news is that business acumen is not very easily acquired.

The extremely good news is that it can be taught and can absolutely be strengthened. Learning along with experience can get you so far. Why not give yourself the extra edge and speak with an executive coach to see how, specifically, you can push to the next level?

You can schedule an appointment if you’d like to talk through any of the aspects I’ve covered today.

How Executive Coaching Can Teach Emotional Intelligence

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As a leader, your personal behavior and emotions can directly impact business results.

If you’re a leader ready to commit to executive coaching, chances are both your behavior and emotions are on point. There’s always room for improvement, though.

One of the most common natural traits of influential leaders is an innate emotional intelligence giving an executive coach a strong platform to build from.

Is it possible to teach emotional intelligence, though?

Before we look at this question, a quick snapshot of what, exactly, emotional intelligence consists of…

Emotional Intelligence: The Basics

According to Psychology Today, emotional intelligence is the ability to first identify then manage your emotions and also the emotions of others.

Daniel Goleman’s seminal text Emotional Intelligence – Why It Can Matter More Than IQ outlines 5 key pillars of EI.

In this book, Goleman touches on Hay Group studies that show up to 85% of exceptional performance in C-suite leaders is due to emotional and social intelligence rather than raw cognitive ability.

Here are the 5 areas Goleman identifies as key metrics for success in the executive sphere…

  • Empathy: Recognizing how people feel is crucial if you’re hoping to lead and manage them. With strong empathy, you’ll also better understand the dynamic underpinning relationships, specifically the balance of power. This awareness is useful at all levels of an executive role
  • Motivation: Clearly, you need to be self-motivated, driven and able to show both initiative and optimism when you’re faced with the challenges of an executive’s day-to-day
  • Self-Awareness: Being able to both recognize and understand your own emotions will go a long way when you’re trying to build upon them. Self-awareness generally translates into enhanced realism and self-confidence
  • Self-Regulation: Remaining in control of your emotions when faced with challenging situations and demanding personalities is another benchmark of heightened emotional intelligence
  • Social Skills: An ability to communicate confidently and successfully involves picking up on verbal and non-verbal cues. With emotional intelligence at the required level, you’ll be able to accept and act upon feedback. You’ll also have the ability to persuade and manipulate others using nothing but words

How, then, can executive coaching improve upon these foundational areas of emotional intelligence?

A coach will encourage you to become more empathetic by making a conscious effort to look at the other person’s point of view. You can run through some exercises where you look back at a situation with full focus on the feelings experienced by the other person rather than yourself. If you fired someone, how did it make them feel and why? Perhaps you passed someone over for a promotion. Again, take the time to understand how it made them feel.

While it’s not easy to teach motivation, you can certainly make a concerted effort to confront challenges more optimistically. Your coach can help you with this. Along with your coach, set goals continuously and hold yourself accountable to them. Rather than blindly fixating on an outcome, double down on the why. After all, if you don’t have a genuine reason for doing something, the chances of success are slimmer than if you’re clear on why you’re committed to that goal.

Drilling down on your strengths and weaknesses is a simple but classic approach your coach can guide you through to improve self-awareness. Be honest about how you manage your emotions. Do you respond poorly to conflict or confrontation? How does this manifest in your behaviors and actions? An effective executive will enable you to turn those weaknesses into strengths with better management of your emotions.

Linked to this is the way in which you self-regulate. Your coach can help you determine how quickly you react to negative emotions since these are usually the most damaging to react instinctively against. You can learn to stave off major decisions until you’ve ridden out a peak of high emotions. If you find yourself complaining or experiencing negative emotions, your coach can push you into planning decisive action instead, show you how you can improve the situation rather than unproductively moaning.

Your social skills, specifically communication, can be sharpened in many ways through executive coaching. You can learn to listen more fully rather than simply waiting for your next opportunity to speak or formulating your answer without giving weight to what the other person is saying. You can practice conflict management and learn a great deal about feedback from an executive coach. Act on the feedback they give you as a direct method of improving your social skills during your sessions.

So, these are some very simple methods in which a coach can help you to hone your emotional intelligence but how does incisive executive coaching actually teach emotional intelligence?

Real Coaching Teaches a Behavior Not a Skill Set

Throughout the 70s and 80s, Sir John Whitmore and Tim Gallwey pioneered a style of transformational performance coaching combining the tenets of sports coaching with the core components of transpersonal psychology.

In Whitmore’s Coaching For Performance, he describes true coaching as “the practice of emotional intelligence”. He goes on to add that it’s a “behavior not a skill set”.

So, if your coach is worth his salt, he’ll be embodying the core concepts of emotional intelligence himself. He’ll also be guiding you to develop better behaviors that will translate to influencing others and working confidently with them at all levels.

Pivotal to improving your emotional intelligence is awareness. It is, indeed, the bedrock of emotional intelligence so we’ll glimpse at how a coach can coax out your potential to optimize performance beginning with awareness…

The Triple-Pronged Power of Awareness

Your executive coach can help you to fine-tune and uprate your emotional intelligence in these 3 broad areas of awareness:

  • Being Self-Aware: You need to understand why you do what you do. By better self-management in the face of internal obstacles, and improving the way you self-manage reactions, emotions, and judgments, your overall performance at work will spike. These are all areas an executive coach can work through with you
  • Being Aware of Others: To manage relationships successfully, it helps if you can clearly and rapidly identify strengths and weaknesses in others. By better understanding their motivations and desires, you can inspire them more readily. You coach can teach you to listen more carefully and to develop these skills to great effect
  • Being Aware of the Organization: By learning to keep individual and team goals fully aligned with organizational goals, you’ll have a team and company in harmony and increased performance along with more enjoyment in the workplace. This is something you might be subconsciously aware of but not implement all the time. An executive coach can pinpoint any weaknesses in this area and help you to focus more fully on aligning these goals

How Can You Learn Emotional Intelligence?

Luckily, this is an easy enough question to answer succinctly…

Implementing the solution is where the hard work lies, but that’s something for your coach to work through with you.

Emotional intelligence is not a hard skill. This means traditional methods of didactic instruction would be an exercise in futility. You would be trying to learn something that can’t be learned using that approach and doomed to failure.

Instead, your coach will employ techniques based on real issues rather than role-play with extensive training and practice using experiential facilitation. In plain English, you’ll be central to the learning process with your coach facilitating.

So, executive coaching can absolutely help you develop superior emotional intelligence, and you shouldn’t underestimate the way that can improve your performance in the workplace.

If you’d like to arrange to speak about executive coaching, make an appointment right here.

10 Ways Executive Coaching Can Help Hone Effective Communication

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Clear and effective communication underpins the running of any successful organization.

If you’re in an executive role, communication takes on many forms. Mastering the art will give you a precious edge in performance so don’t be afraid to engage a coach to bring out the best in you.

With research showing that either written or verbal communication is involved in fully 90% of business transactions, neglecting the art of communication is ill-advised.

Whether you’re communicating internally or with your client base, whether you’re interviewing or trying to get departments to work collaboratively on a project, getting your message across is only half the battle. You need to make sure that message is understood.

10 Ways a Coach Can Help You To Communicate More Effectively

As with any skill, the best executive coach can help you hone your ability to communicate.

We’ll outline 10 key areas where a solid executive coach can work with the skills you already have in place and help you to communicate with devastating effect, an effect that can dramatically impact the bottom line of your organization.

1) Accept Full Responsibility for Breakdown in Communication

Communication is not communication unless the transmission is fully understood.

In your leadership role, you’re invariably the primary communicator. You’re not only responsible for sharing a message, but also making sure that message hits home.

Beyond this, communicating is about more than simply imparting information. You can better understand the people you work with through effective communication. You can also improve your relationships both within the organization and with clients.

With this in mind, if your message has not been adequately understood, communication has been incomplete. You have failed in your job.

If this happens, don’t pass the buck. The easiest thing is to blame someone else. The much tougher but far more effective approach is to ask yourself what you did wrong, and to bear full responsibility for this breakdown in communication.

In terms of remedying the issue, take a leaf from Michael Jordan’s book. He assiduously reviewed all his past games to identify and work on mistakes. You don’t need to go to the lengths of recording your conversations, but take any failures in communication to your coach and he’ll help you work through the problem, help you to achieve a better outcome next time around.

2) Are You Really Listening or Just Waiting for an Opportunity to Speak?

This is an area where an executive coach can really drill you.

Have you heard the expression, “You have two ears and one mouth for a reason”?

I’m saying this not to be rude but it’s a truism well worth bearing in mind when you’re communicating in the workplace.

Ask yourself if you’re genuinely listening to the other party or simply waiting to slip your next point in. Without listening attentively, you’re unlikely to get the optimum outcome for both parties from any interchange.

Your coach can help you here by making sure you feed back what you’re hearing. Not only does this crystallize and clarify things in your mind, it makes the other party feel like you’re really listening to them.

3) Ask Yourself What’s In It For Your Audience

It goes unsaid you need to think about your own needs when you’re communicating. You shouldn’t neglect what you want from any given exchange, but neither should you overlook what’s equally important…

What’s in it for your audience?

Whether you’re talking one-on-one or presenting to a large group, you should always keep the needs and different perspectives of your audience uppermost in mind.

I mention perspectives because these differ according to someone’s position in an organization, their motivations and their various needs. A one-size-fits-all solution rarely works.

By remaining fluid and ready to switch up your style when required, you’ll be better placed to cater to everyone’s needs without compromising your own.

4) Keep Conversation a Two-Way Street

This might seem like a statement of the obvious but it bears keeping firmly in mind.

When you’re communicating, you should pay close attention not only to the words you hear, but you should also drill down on whether or not you fully understand what the other person means.

Equally as important as what someone says is what they don’t say. Reading between the lines is a crucial skill your coach can help you develop and sharpen. You don’t need to be a mind reader but your coach can make sure you don’t miss out on subtle pointers where someone might be implying something by omission.

Delivering a monologue is a surefire way to bore your listener and put them off interacting fully. Your coach will make absolutely certain your listening skills are equally polished as your spoken delivery.

5) Never Be Afraid of Repetition: I Repeat, Never Be Afraid of Repetition

This might seem like the antithesis of clear and effective communication, but I’m talking about a very specific type of repetition here…

By repeating the way in which someone has interpreted what you’ve said back to them, you can ensure that they really have understood what’s been asked of them.

You can also flip this neatly on its head by asking your audience to paraphrase what you’ve said to them. This will make it clear whether or not you’re on the same page. You can then plug any gap in comprehension by drilling down with more precision.

6) Non-Verbal Communication Counts

Non-verbal communication, according to this study, accounts for more than half of an audience’s perception of the presenter. This holds true whether you’re communicating to a group or an individual. It also works in both directions.

You should never underestimate the value of learning the basics of body language. Proper posture, eye contact and movement can seriously enhance the impact of your words. This is another area where your coach can give you a helping hand.

7) Over-Communicate When Sharing New Ideas

It’s commonplace to overestimate just how much a listener understands, doubly so if you’re talking about a complex or unfamiliar topic.

Just because you see a nodding head or hear a “Sure”, that doesn’t always equate to your message hitting home in full.

While you should communicate clearly and concisely, don’t confuse this with needing to gloss over important details too quickly. Over-communicating an idea followed up with summarizing that idea is a solid strategy to guarantee your audience absorbs the full weight of what you’re saying.

An executive coach can work through a number of exercises to check you get this skill on lock.

8) Remain on Point At All Times

While I’ve talked about repetition used strategically and also about over-communication, keep in mind that you should also stay on message at all times. Avoid verbiage. Resist the temptation to add anything extraneous to the conversation.

Your coach can assist you here by keeping you fully focused on the goal or goals of your communication. 

9) Skip The Visual Aids Where Possible

Steve Jobs famously banned all PowerPoint presentations at Apple.

Facebook also instituted a similar veto on visual aids.

Needless to say, both of these global giants communicate brilliantly at the very highest level.

When you sidestep relying too much on props, you’ll be forced to draw your audience in with words alone. Combining the art of storytelling with non-verbal cues can be far more impactful than rolling out a few tired old slides.

10) Think About Whether What You’re Saying Really Makes Sense

Feedback is pivotal when you’re trying to ascertain whether your message is really punching home.

The listening skills you’ve polished with your coach will come fully to the fore here, along with your ability to take on board what your listener is feeding back to you verbally, non-verbally, and with what they are not saying. Put all these elements together and you can determine how much your message is sinking in.

You can say that communication has been truly effective when all parties can agree that “It makes sense.”

What To Do Next

If you’re looking to enhance your communication skills through the power of coaching, put it into practice right now.

Get in touch and schedule an appointment. I’ll help you to help yourself and, in turn, your audience and your organization.

How Trailblazing Tech Companies Use Executive Coaching To Stay One Step Ahead

By | Executive Coaching | No Comments

Really, coaching is simplicity. It’s getting players to play better than they think that they can.

— Tom Landry

The rapid pace and the quickly changing face of business today means finding the best people and keeping hold of them is more important than ever before. Smart companies know people matter.

And that’s why leading tech companies are turning to executive coaches to make that happen for them. Tech companies not only need to stay ahead with their products but also with their employees. Especially the executives.

In very short, for any company to stay ahead of the pack they need the best people. But what the smartest of tech companies do is look for those emerging C-suite leaders already in their ranks.

Let me explain why this is vital.

I started this article with a sports quote. I did that for two reasons. One, the quote is a perfect illustration of how coaching works. Secondly, and most importantly, I want to make this next point crystal clear.

Elite sports teams (whatever sport you like) pay staggering amounts of cash to bring the best player to their team. Millions, if not soon billions of dollars.

Would it not be better if they could grow their own talent and not have to pay this amount, of course it would.

And today’s tech companies face almost the same challenge as top sports teams. Bringing in the best of the best is expensive. Ruinously expensive. And that’s why they’ve turned to executive coaching to help them identify emerging C-suite leaders.

Promote from within, help people realize their personal goals and aim to have loyal, happy people working for you. That’s good business, right?

Okay, so let’s say we’ve identified our future superstars. Brought them up through the ranks, coached them, paid them handsomely and treated them with respect. It’s quite a shock when they say they’re leaving.

If we take money out of the equation — as C-level people are paid handsomely —then we have to search for the real reasons why people leave. And executive coaches who work with leaders on a regular basis can identify these reasons long before they become significant enough for a person to want to leave. How much could that worth to your business? Keep that figure in mind as we shall touch on it again as you read further down.

Executive coaches can also play a role in the recruitment process. A coach can offer an insight into a potential recruit that generally won’t come out in the standard interview process.

In the same way, an executive coach would work with an individual to avoid applying for the wrong job. They can work with companies and help them avoid employing the wrong person. How much does it cost you to recruit a new executive? Keep that figure in mind as we shall touch on it again as you read further down.

The Changing Face Of The Workforce

More and more companies, especially tech companies are investing in their next generation of leaders long before their current leaders wish to retire.

Effectively, forward-thinking companies are creating a conveyor belt of highly qualified people to promote and grow the company.

Succession planning can make or break a company. If left until the last moment then confidence in the company can drop like a hot rock if key personnel leave and there is nobody to step in an fill the void.

Identifying those people capable of becoming the next C-suite leaders is then, as you know of vital importance not only to the company’s growth but essential to their survival.

An executive coach can work with you to develop a succession planning strategy and begin working with those members of staff who have the mustard to make it to the top and lead the company into the future.

Making Sure The Best Of The Best Stay Your Best And Don’t Defect To Your Competitors

We looked briefly at why retention is so important to a company’s success. But for that reason — the company’s success — let’s look again.

When put to the sword almost all CEOs say that retention of key workers is one of the absolute most critical factors in the future success of the company.

Yes, keeping hold of your best people is an area that needs constant attention.

In my experience, one of the main reasons people leave is because of their dissatisfaction with their chances of promotion to the highest level. Almost all executives I coach state this as the main reason they want out — even above money.

Anyone in business knows that it is far more expensive to recruit people than it is to retain them. What are your recruitment costs?

If a business has gone through the expense of recruiting someone, then having procedures in place to retain them is a given.

One of the most effective ways to retain people is to create a positive work environment. An environment where people feel they have a voice, and that voice is heard.

Creating a positive environment is a matter of respecting basic human desires. People want to feel engaged and they want to be recognized and appreciated for their efforts. A happy employee is someone who sees opportunities for growth within the company.

I’ve read more than once and had a HR professional share with me the following information. You might find it enlightening to know that HR professionals rank C-suite development programs as second only to competitive salaries.

In short, if people can see a path to the top within your company then they are more likely to stay on that path with you. Sound like a win-win situation?

Right Time Intervention Strategy

I don’t need to remind you of the rapid pace of change in business. You might know of a firm that got caught out for not keeping up with speed and complexity of change in the business world.

In today’s world though that change is happening lightning quick. It’s almost become the new normal to be in a constant state of flux.

So, when we look at who and what makes a good employee we focus on how fast they can learn, develop and adapt to change. These are critical skills. But even the best people who naturally have these skills can come up short at times. There is an answer.

The answer is using a right time intervention strategy. That means you put a trainer or coach in front of key people so those key people can adjust and implement new strategies at the same lightning quick speed that change happens.

The Not A Second To Spare Specialized Training Program

Those who use modern business practices are aware that the one size fits all training program is almost redundant — save for lower level employees.

In fact, when it comes to training executives the one size fits all is redundant because the range of skills and knowledge executives now need is so vast.

That’s why those companies who remain at the forefront of our minds use coaches to deliver bespoke training needs to executives.

The reason for this is the flexibility that coaching offers as well as the personalized approach.

Each executive is essentially on a bespoke training plan. They get the training they need when they need it.

I wonder if you can see how all the pieces are fitting together?

A business promotes from within, saving on recruitment costs. They offer that new executive a clear roadmap to the top. Along the way, they offer him or her personalized training to keep moving up to the next level. In return that executive has less and less thoughts about moving to another company.

When an executive feels their voice is heard and receives training specific to their needs, they feel valued — Basic human needs are being met.

Each session they have with the coach helps them plug professional development gaps. That means analysising and approaching the best ways to improve those underdeveloped skills.

Not Quite One Hat Fits All But Close To It

Technology combined with the right people means downsizing. Why have three people do three jobs when one person can handle them all.

Downsizing only works though, when the person who has to start wearing more than one hat can take the leap and keep on taking the leaps.

Downsizing means giving fewer people an increased amount of responsibility. To that end we need to make sure we have the right people, and that we support them on the journey.

Coaching allows newly promoted people to thrive in their positions. It’s time to let go of ‘sink or swim’ thinking.

Professional development using coaches saves money in the long run. As well as what we’ve already mentioned about people feeling happy, coaches can also help executives achieve changes in their role in quick time.

When The Heat Keeps Getting Turned Up, Up, Up…

There probably has never been time before that compares with the pressure on today’s executives.

There is more and more scrutiny coming from every direction. And the truth is executives need to be able to handle this pressure.

Of course, that is where a coach steps in. To help develop within the executives, models and tools handle the increased squeeze.

We know that the performance of our top people is under a microscope. So, let’s give them everything they need to succeed.

How To Figure Out… “What I don’t know about What I don’t know”

Many of my clients ask me to help them figure out what they don’t know about what they don’t know.

In days gone by people wanted to get better at something, usually one thing. Say time management for example.

They knew that time management was an issue for them, so they went and did something about it. Simple.

In today’s business landscape people are trying to figure out what they don’t know. You could say this is pre-emptive training.

When I have a session with an executive trying to figure out what they don’t know, it goes something like this:

The person talks to me and tells me what their working day consists of and I ask them questions to challenge procedures and practices that they use.

I’m not trying to give them new procedures, what I’m doing is helping them think about familiar things in a new way.

This process often leads to people realizing what they don’t know. Then, and only then can the best way forward for the training be assessed.

As the employer, it’s essential to invest in people. But having people who are ready to invest in themselves means you have a superstar on your hands.

What Will It Cost You And Your Business?

This next part might be a little scary. Don’t worry we’ll go through it together.

You’re considering using an executive coach. You have a budget and you want to know the cost.

The cost is straightforward. Just answer this question.

How much will cost you the next time a C-level executive leaves the company for a rival?

Top recruitment firms are known to charge 33% of the total salary of an executive they find and you hire.

Think about how much that is going to cost to recruit someone to fill a big pair of shoes.

Of course, there is the option to promote from within. Assuming of course that the people currently working for have been identified as potential replacements.

Putting someone into a position of authority before they are ready can be disastrous. Even if they were internally recruited.

Of course, we have only looked at the cost of recruitment. What is the cost to your business if a vital cog in the wheel is missing?

Does that mean production will stop, or important meetings to seal a new deal is missed…

You know what the loss of a senior level employee means to your business.

To continue this conversation click here and say hello…

New Leaders Council-Atlanta ” Work-Life-Balance

By | Atlanta Life Coach Online, Business Coaching, Executive Coaching, Executive Life Coaching, Goal Setting | One Comment

 

Work- LifeBalance is, at best, an elusive ideal and at worst a complete myth according to the Harvard Business Review. I do believe it is attainable. The idea of balance allows leaders to choose how they will interact with work, family and community.

But what is balance? It is critical to understand what it is so that you can practice it for yourself. What balance is for you may not be balance for the next person. Over time, life changes and we look at balance differently than when we are single versus when we are married or having children or dealing with ill parents. So, achieving balance is like hitting a moving target on most days.

Balance can be in achieving optimal fulfillment in the areas of work, family, fun, health, spirituality and community.

Balance:

  • Is your schedule balanced?
  • Have you planned your approach to balance?
  • How did you fit the essential compartments of balance into your routine?
  • What is keeping you from maintaining balance?

Beliefs:

  • Do you lead with your authentic self?
  • What do you believe about yourself?
  • Where are the incongruences in your life?

Values:

  • What are the values that guide you?
  • Where my values and beliefs in alignment this week?
  • What am I doing to mature your values?

Behaviors:

  • Are your choices and actions causing you pain?
  • How you project yourself each day?
  • Am you saying yes when you know that you should say no and why?

 

Six Simple Steps to Achieving Balance

  1. Decide how much time is ideal for you in each of the important areas of your life.
  2. Be patient with your yourself
  3. Wisely manage the technology you use everyday.
  4. Create a support network
  5. Get your rest
  6. Make YOU your biggest priority

 

 

 

 

 

Executive Coaching- 2016 is the year for to achieve the results you always wanted to experience.

By | Athlete Life Coaching, atlanta anger management, Atlanta Life Coach Online, Business Coaching, Executive Coaching, Executive Life Coaching, Goal Setting | One Comment

Executive Coaching

Do you want to nail this years projections?

Is your business scaling this year and you want to focus on the processes with your goals?

Are you that business person who is looking for support in one key area?

Then book a call or Skype session with me today!!!

David@ispekalifecoaching.com or direct call me at 404-453-9110

Book Your Future!!!