Coach Lisa is a certified coach with 16 years of experience and a Master’s in Psychology. She believes that any person is capable of being a leader if they are working towards a goal or influencing others. Her goal as a coach is to work with clients with leadership roles who want to leave a positive impact on those around them. Listen to this episode now to discover your role as a leader and how you can naturally develop executive presence through behaviors and skills!
Narrator [00:00:00] Successful individuals use coaching and mentorship to help them unlock their potential. Not all coaches are created equal and that’s why we work with the top 5% of coaches at ideamix. Welcome to Coaches You Need brought to you by ideamix.
Jamie Kosmar [00:00:17] Welcome to Coaches to Know, a podcast short by ideamix radio. This brief podcast is designed to demystify coaching and help you, our audience, understand what coaching is and how it can help you. I’m your host, Jamie, and today I’m very excited to be here with Coach Lisa to talk about executive presence. Very briefly, I’m going to introduce Coach Lisa. Coach Lisa has been coaching for 16 years. She has been working for more than 20 years in organizational development and change management. She holds a master’s degree in positive psychology coaching, and certifications in neuroscience, Gallup Clifton Strengths Finder assessments, 360 assessments and others. Her clients are typically self-aware leaders within organizations who want to have a positive impact on those around them. And what I really love is that Lisa defines a leader as anyone trying to influence or lead others towards a common goal or outcome–so we can all be leaders. She also works with entrepreneurs and mentors, new coaches working towards their ICF certification. Lisa, thank you so much for joining us here today.
Coach Lisa [00:01:38] Thank you. Jamie, I’m excited to dive into this topic with you.
Jamie Kosmar [00:01:42] So as I said today, we’re going to discuss executive presence. I always like to start by coming up with a general understanding or definition of what our topic is. So what is the executive presence and what is not? Or are there any misconceptions around what it is and is it?
Coach Lisa [00:02:01] Yeah, I think executive presence is a really fascinating topic because it’s one of those things that people look at and they say, Ooh, I want more of that, but they don’t really stop and think about what exactly that is. And if you take the words apart, it basically means being present or showing up like an executive. And I think one of the interesting things, especially in today’s world, is when we think about kind of the standard executive, we might think about, you know, somebody who’s tall. We might think about a man. We might think about a three piece suit. We might think about showing up very authoritatively, knowing all the answers, being very commanding. And we might have these stereotypical ideas of what an executive looks like. And in today’s world, we’re so much more aware of the diversity of executives and the diversity of executive presence. And so I would say these days it’s very individual. It depends on who the person is, how they’re trying to show up and what it is that they’re trying to show up for, because different organizations will have different cultures around how they expect executive presence to be demonstrated. That’s why I really like coaching on this, because there is no one size fits all. But how do you show up in the leadership or executive way that you would like to, and what is it that’s going to work best for you and your environment and that mixture that’s in between that kind of Venn diagram, if that makes sense.
Jamie Kosmar [00:03:34] Yeah, absolutely. I really love how you sort of hit the nail on the head. I mean, obviously when I think of executive presence, I will tell you straight up that like I think of that man and the three piece suit. And now that, you know, in our society where we’re much more aware and, you know, there are more than just men in power positions and, you know, that stereotype no longer holds. You know, I think we’re also moving away from more of the hierarchical, authoritative structure of operating as well. But I like what you said. Just to clarify, though, it’s really about showing up in a way where you can have impact based on your environment and based on who you are.
Coach Lisa [00:04:25] Yeah. And again, a lot of people tend to think of executive presence as I need to have all the answers. I would say that’s not even necessarily true. You can show up very–I’m going to keep using the word–authoritatively, but that means different things and you can show up very authoritatively and ask a lot of questions. You can show up as executive presence and not know what’s going on and learn and try to get the lay of the landscape. You can show up with executive presents and involve other people very heavily and delegate a lot. You know, that’s also part of executive presence. So I think one of the benefits of coaching is we can help individuals get clear on what do they mean by executive presence? Who do they admire? Who do they think demonstrates executive presence and what can they learn from them? And then how does that help you show up in your leadership task, whatever that looks like?
Jamie Kosmar [00:05:23] Great. Thank you so much for that further explanation. So how does someone know that they may need help developing their executive presence? What are they? What are the signs if there are signs?
Coach Lisa [00:05:37] Yeah, I would say typically there are two things. One is our own sense of I would like to develop more executive presence. And I work with a lot of clients who have that inner knowing or that inner inkling, like I would like to show up more like a leader, more like an executive with more authority, with more confidence, you know, with more charisma, whatever that looks like for them. And then the second is we might get feedback from other people. Now, sometimes feedback from other people can be a little frustrating because someone might say, “hey, Lisa, I think you could benefit from more executive presence” and then they leave. And I don’t really know what to do with that. So being able to break down executive presence into some behaviors, like is this about tone of voice? Is this about eye contact? Is this about what I’m wearing? Because let’s recognize that what we wear can affect how people see us and if they see us as leaders or not. Is this about my knowledge base? Because maybe I’m asking what I might call rookie questions and people are expecting more of me at that time. Or is this about I’m a holding everything to myself and I do need to delegate and involve others more in how to do that with executive presence. I will also say that sometimes our own inner inklings are not matching the feedback, and so we may feel that we need more executive presence, but we’re not actually getting that feedback from other people. And so it’s worth checking in with both sources. How am I feeling? How are other people feeling? What feedback can I get from within and from without? And then how does that help me narrow down on what is it that I’m already good at? What am I already doing well that helps me with executive presence? And where are some of those behaviors where I could tend to grow? And there might be mindsets behind some of those behaviors, but typically, executive presence is about projecting something through your words and your actions that other people are going to pick up on. So, I think it’s worth checking in with both sources on that.
Jamie Kosmar [00:07:49] Yeah. I tend to think of that when we think about executive positions. And because it’s the way you shop, it’s a form of communication and how are you communicate with wherever you’re showing up to. And if not about–not just verbal communication, right? It can also be, just as you were saying, like the way you dress, your posture and, you know, a whole host of things.
Coach Lisa [00:08:19] Your eye contact, how much time you are spending with people. You know, people also talk about charisma, for example, and how there are certain politicians who are really good at looking at you and making you feel like you are the only person who matters in that moment when you’ve got like a thousand other people in the press around you. There are some people who naturally seem to come by this, but there are learnable skills and behaviors in there, and there are coaches who will work with you on how you dress and how you look, and you can get presentation coaches on how you do a presentation and what you do with your voice. There are a lot of people out there who will help you with the different behaviors of more executive presence, and that’s why it can be helpful to break it down and find out where are you doing well and where are other people seeing that “yeah, there might be room for some tweaking here”.
Jamie Kosmar [00:09:14] Yeah. So can we delve in a little bit to, you know, we’ve touched upon a little bit of sort of how coaching can help somebody develop executive prescence. But let’s–can you lay out a process, maybe our approach that you use with people? You know, what does coaching do and why is it so impactful in this area of developing these skills or these behaviors?
Coach Lisa [00:09:42] Yeah, great, great question. I would say if I have a client, let’s imagine, Jamie, that you come to me and you say, Lisa, I have been told that I should work on my executive presence and I agree with this: I would like to work on my executive presence. Well, the first thing I’m going to ask you about is what does executive presence mean to you? What is the specific feedback that you have received? What’s important about this for you now in this current situation? Is this about, you know, maybe a board of directors or is this about growing in your career, or is this about helping you find more confidence in yourself? What is the real meaning and motivation behind all of this? And I would want to dive into your strengths where this is already working well, and that might be strengths from a leadership assessment like the Gallup Clifton Strengths Finder or another one. It could also come from assessments that you may have done in the workplace. So there’s all sorts of personality assessments out there, leadership assessments and so on. You may already have things that you’re going to bring into a coaching situation, will sit down and pull those apart. And it might also be your own sense of your strengths and feedback that you’ve gotten from other people. But I want to know what’s already working for you. Quite often with a client, once we pull apart what is already working, sometimes it’s about doubling down on that and owning it and recognizing like, yeah, I’ve been using this in a smaller way. Maybe I’m very confident when I’m presenting to my team and the small group of peers who I know really well, I’m not showing up as confident when I’m doing board presentations, so we can leverage what’s working into other areas that you want to grow into and that helps your executive presence. And sometimes there’s something completely new, right? This is genuinely an area that is not working well for you. It might be career-limiting or getting in the way of your goal, and it’s worth diving into there. And so if you have found an area that you want to improve on, I might ask you questions like, when have you done this well? Even if it’s in a very small capacity or something outside of work…or when did you used to do this? If that’s not working, if you have no examples, I would ask who else do you know who does this well? Where are exemplars in your life? Whether they’re people that you know, they could be family members even or friends or bosses or colleagues or mentors or people that you’ve read about. You want to have, you know, something that Oprah does really well or whoever that role model happens to be for you. And then if that’s proving difficult, I might also ask, well, who could encourage you? Who could you get on your side as you are developing this? Who could help give you the feedback in real time? Because as a coach, we’re going to talk, let’s say, you know, every two weeks, but then you’re going to go out and practice outside of that time. So who can help you when you are practicing? Who can watch you in action? Who can give you the encouragement, who can catch you doing things right and give you that positive feedback? Who can you bounce ideas off of? And that’s especially helpful if you’re trying to work within a certain context. And then after that, quite honestly, Jamie, it’s a lot of practice and it’s a lot of experimentation, and these things typically feel awkward at first because these are skills: tying your shoe, riding a bicycle, learning how to swim, right? Whatever it is, they all feel really awkward at first. You think about the first time you held a tennis racket or a golf club, right? It’s weird…what do you mean? I have to put my thumbs this way and hold it just like this? It’s very awkward, but then over time, it becomes more comfortable. And over time, you become much more effective at it. And so what we would do in coaching is continue to work on every two weeks or so when we meet. What did you try? How did it go? What did you learn? And now what? And just continue to build and develop those skills to the point where you move past the kind of conscious incompetent and into being more consciously competent and then just into the flow. This is just a new skill that you have, and you can use it automatically.
Jamie Kosmar [00:14:09] I love that way of thinking about it–it’s like this is a skill that you can develop and it takes practice. I mean, that’s something that we learned from when we were very young. And it just makes–it’s very digestible and achievable. And I love the role of coaching to diagnose and then really come in and help create a positive feedback loop so that you can keep improving, which is sort of what I think you were just describing there, that process of really just honing in and making sure that you’re aware of what’s happening and what progress is being made and where you can still grow. So I love that. Lisa That is all the time that we have today, but thank you so much for joining us. And to our audience, if you would like to work with Coach Lisa or any of our other qualified coaches, please visit theideamix.com. Thank you.
Narrator [00:15:12] Thanks for listening. Please subscribe wherever you listen and leave us a review. Find your ideal coach at www.theideamix.com. Special thanks to our producer Martin Milewski and singer-songwriter Doug Allen.
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