Executive Presence: A Learnable Skill You Must Not Underestimate!

Executive Presence: A Learnable Skill You Must Not Underestimate!


As pointed out in an article from Business Insider, executive presence is ranked as a top attribute sought after by organizations looking for first-class leadership. The article cited research conducted by the Gartner firm that ranked executive presence #2 on a list of the top 20 leadership traits that make a difference. Technology skills – which we all know are extremely valuable – only ranked at #12, which further confirms the extreme value placed on executive presence.

The Missing Link in Your Career Advancement

Furthermore, Sylvia Ann Hewlett – a recognized expert on the subject – explains in her book EXECUTIVE PRESENCE: The Missing Link Between Merit and Successthat leadership roles often elude women and professionals of color because they may lack or underestimate the importance of executive presence.

To be clear, she’s referring to leveling the playing field, not saying that minorities are the only ones who overlook the critical value of EP. The unfortunate fact is that all high potentials – including those in the majority like white males – fail to pay enough attention to their executive presence.

Just a month or two ago Hewlett talked about this for an article published by Harvard Business review, where she said, “The fact is, the link between merit and success is forged through soft skills – ones you may not be able to attain on your own.”

Even Professional Athletes Need Coaching!

That’s a powerful statement, and one I am constantly reiterating to my clients and paying attention to in my own career. Those who know me realize that although I am an internationally known executive presence coach and leadership development expert, I still take time from my busy schedule to receive mentoring, coaching, and my own executive presence development.

I seek out the top teachers and industry leaders to constantly learn more and continually upgrade my own executive skills. Hey, if athletes like LeBron James, Venus and Serena Williams, and Tiger Woods still use coaches what does that tell us?

EP is Teachable and I’m Living Proof

But don’t be fooled by those who say that executive presence is a quality you are “born with” and that iconic leadership is “part of your DNA.” I was told as a young executive “Sarah, you just don’t have the personality to lead.”

Well guess what? I proved them wrong because although personality traits may help, executive presence is a learned skill set – one that I have devoted my life to imparting to others just like yourself.

Let me know your thoughts, please, especially if you have a chance to read Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s book on the subject!


Tell me what you think! Post a comment below in the blog or on Facebook!

Do you want to use this blog article? You may, as long as you include this complete bio with it: Sarah Hathorn is a leadership development mentor, executive presence coach, image and branding consultant, public speaker & author. She is the founding CEO of her own successful company, Illustra Consulting, and the creator of the proprietary Predictable Promotion™ System. 1-800-267-3245 | www.illustraconsulting.com Copyright © 2014, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS

No Comments

Post A Comment