- The Able Mind
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Executive Presence, Coaching and Mental Health
Leadership is not just about being a manager or an executive. A leader has the ability to make others feel cared for and important for a goal. Some people are natural leaders because of their confidence and ability to influence but they need not be good leaders. Most people can be leaders - either through executive authority (their role), their seniority or their competence (in specific areas). That said, we have probably heard this statement made before - I know you are a good leader but you lack "Executive Presence"? What is this Executive presence that is so deeply coveted, highly rewarding but rarely understood?
A true leader has the ability to connect with others on a level that goes beyond words. They understand their own position in the greater scheme of things, and they can articulate that position clearly, without sugarcoating or overstating it. They are able to influence and instill confidence and they are able to demonstrate true "Executive Presence". Executive Presence is not a skill. It is something you cultivate over time. But it takes time and you need to work on it.
Remember, all decisions about you will be made when you are not in the room. Whether it is to promote you, to consider you for a high-profile role, to reflect on your shortcomings - you will never be in that room. What you leave with the decision makers - in that room, is the confidence and influence you have over them. That is your Executive Presence and is weighed against other shortcomings or goals/metrics/personal objectives that the decision makers have to work with. Your executive presence ensures you will be discussed, probably at length. Without it, the decision may always make you feel undervalued.
The three foundations of Executive Presence
Think through these questions to reflect on your influence when you not in the room
• Do you demonstrate dignity and seriousness or are you seen just as someone who is affable, approachable and amenable?
• Are you composed?
• Are you confident?
• Are you in the moment?
• Do you recognize the #powerofnow?
• Do you stay on point?
• Are you passionate and convinced of your goals and messaging?
• Do you demonstrate credibility and authenticity?
It is not being sophisticated but about the how. Albert Mehrabian's 7-38-55 rule for personal communication states that 55% of communication is body language, 38% is your tone of voice and 7% is the actual content. Do you actually think 100% of communication is content? If yes, then it is time to think again. Ask yourself the following as your build your Executive Presence
• Do you dilly-dally?
• Do you shift around and look uncomfortable?
• Do you change the goalposts too often when you address your team?
• Do you use words like "Maybe", "Probably", "Actually what I meant" when you talk?
• Are you passionate and convinced about what you are saying?
Think about how you communicate, record what you say, hear it back and tweak the messaging so you are more consistent and surer in future communications?
People will not take you seriously if you dress shabbily or don't care about how you look. Think through
• How do you present yourself?
• Does that identity identify with your company values and your personality?
• Does your appearance align with the company culture that you want to drive?
• Do you look presentable all the time?
• Are you well rested or do you always look like what the cat brought in last night?
To be a true leader with Executive presence you need to:
Be fully aware of your emotional state of mind - If you are not thinking straight, if you are carrying baggage and frustration, if you are struggling to find personal relevance there is absolutely no way you can influence people. Being your best everyday and being able to make the right decisions is critical to having executive presence. Why? As I said before, it is about the confidence you project, your body language and tone of voice. People aren't stupid. They know whether you are genuine, passionate or just rolling with the tides and that affects your power to influence. Take care of your #mentalhealth and learn to cope with everything that is thrown at you.
Articulate a vision and be passionate about what you do - Know where you are currently are with respect to achieving your vision and what needs to be done to get there. #selfawareness is key.
Get real-time feedback. Getting feedback from your team that looks up-to you and correcting your behavior based on that feedback simply does not build executive presence. People see you as just someone who takes feedback and works on them. Feedback from supervisors is probably Performance Management is most of the cases.
This is where having a coach is invaluable - someone who has been there, done that before and provides you with practical real-time feedback. We sometimes confuse coaching with mentoring and supervising. These are really distinct interventions and relevant to you at all times. Think of this as the GDP model
Supervisors set Goals.
Mentors provide Direction.
Coaches help you unlock Potential.
Unlocking Potential is the true essence of Coaching. Don't go to a coach for career guidance, do that with your supervisor or a mentor. Speak to a coach when you know the goals, have received direction on how to achieve the goals and need a sounding board to help you address your own shortcoming and find your own solutions to achieving your goal - thus helping you unlock your own potential. Once you have a clear vision, knowledge of where you are, knowledge of what is holding you back, get real-time feedback on how are coming across in your interactions, you will be able to articulate your vision; be consistent in your interactions; set directions for the organization/team; demonstrate passion and authenticity while slowly building on your overall #executivepresence.
In a nutshell, the critical things people give little credence to are #mentalhealth #thepowerofnow #solveformilehills and #coaching. It is simply because people just don't understand how important they are.
Everyone thinks, oh I have nothing to worry and will just watch a movie and get over it. They don't look to understand how to cope with their stressors and believe in the #powerofnow. People see mental health as a sign of weakness when instead it needs to be seen as a sign of strength; your strength to fulfilling your dreams and coping with your problems. Your inability to handle stress and other problems inhibit your overall Executive presence.
The same applies to Coaching. People think, I don't need a coach. I just need a new job or a new supervisor and I will be able achieve my potential. Nothing is probably the farthest from the truth. One always needs a sounding board and a mirror to see one's true self. Your supervisor or mentor will never be able to do that for that in a way that helps you unlock your true potential like a coach can and organizations and people not only need to understand and recognize that, but invest in that as well, if they are looking to develop authentic leaders.
No one, after all, is born a leader; they learn to be one by recognizing their strengths, their weakness and working towards channeling them in a way that brings them out in the best light at all times. Taking care of your emotional state of mind and having a coach are simple things you need to start doing right away to be able to unlock your true potential.
Isn't that, after all, what we have always wanted for ourselves?
CEO The Able Mind