One of my areas of expertise is helping high-level leaders in Fortune 100 companies. By elevating their leadership presence I am able to give them a springboard right into a senior management position or even the C-Suite. The higher you rise up in the leadership ranks, the more vital your magnetic presence becomes.
A few months ago I was hired by a large financial firm to help a senior manager raise his executive presence skills to be ready for a major promotion. They were pleased with the outcome, and within just four months told me they couldn’t believe how much progress he made in such a short time.
Let’s look at some of the key areas we covered that made his coaching experience so successful.
1) Credibility, Confidence, and VisibilityThe higher the stakes, the higher the pressure and potential to display extreme stress instead of gravitas and grace. Click To Tweet
The higher the stakes, the higher the pressure and potential to display extreme stress instead of gravitas and grace. Everyone who has been in that situation wonders, “How do those cool, calm, collected, and convincing leaders do it?” Leadership confidence isn’t a magical force some people are born with; it’s the result of purposeful preparation.
You have to cultivate strategic communication skills. Then you need to practice adapting them to various kinds of diverse audiences. You have to train yourself to respond to difficult questions with satisfying go-to answers. You have to be at home under the spotlight and comfortable in your own skin. That takes not just external but also deep internal preparation and insight.
2) Clarity, Brevity, and Persuasion
Have you ever stood up in front of a panel of key influencers in your organization to make your case for a promotion? Or maybe you need to exude persuasive confidence when you enter a high-stakes conversation to enroll a new client. Perhaps you have to inspire your executive leadership team to overcome a new challenge. You cannot do that by delivering soft and fuzzy ideas.
I worked with my client to help him articulate his value in clear, profound, pinpoint messages. That made people want to act and overcome their own doubts and limitations in order to follow his leadership vision. We simultaneously took a deep dive into his backstory. We mined his unique differentiating factors, and found ways to package his genuine, personal narrative to give his messages authentic power and purpose.
3) Strategy, Innovation, and Creativity
In today’s workplace everyone is overloaded with work and managing bigger teams. It is hard to find the time or mental bandwidth to be your most innovative, creative, and strategic self. But if you want to rise above the competition and distinguish yourself, you can overcome that obstacle. That’s why we also took steps to raise his visibility inside and outside the organization, which increased his credibility. Soon there was a palpable buzz around him.
First, however, my client had to step back to step up. He didn’t think that he had time to work with an executive coach. So we de-cluttered his calendar for greater efficiency and productivity. He implemented new daily habits by holding his team responsible and accountable and giving himself more energy to focus on leadership rather than busy work. He was amazed how easily we found two extra hours a week in his schedule that he didn’t realize he had. Then, with my help, he reinvested those hours in his own development.
The Bottom Line
By focusing on your development of stronger executive presence, you can do as my client and many others like him have done. It will happen sooner than you can imagine. Here is some of what my client recently said about his coaching experience:
“Sarah challenged me to work on my mindset and executive presence, before we ever got into the external messaging. She showed me effective ways to make audiences much more receptive, and my presentations more influential. That work was extremely valuable.” Senior Manager – Fortune 100 Financial Firm
Take advantage of coaching tools to grow, develop, and position yourself. The time and effort you put into that will unlock your greatest potential. You will break free from the chronic stress and struggle that comes from a lack of self-confidence. Those around you will believe in your vision and buy into your ideas.
Sarah’s Acceleration Principles
Take a quick inventory of your leadership presence by asking yourself:
- Am I leading or just playing catch-up?
- How can I take on more responsibility by making those around me become more responsible/accountable?
- When was the last time I invested heavily, with focus, in my own development?
The simple and honest answers to these questions may hold the key to your next promotion.