Who's in the Hot Seat?
Coaching Client: Sarah is a Human Resources Director with a Publishing company
Sarah had been passed over for multiple promotions and was concerned that her lack of presence was holding her back. Her recent 360 feedback results included these comments: "Sarah has a lot to offer but she fades into the background during important meetings." "Sarah seems nervous when presenting in front of senior management." Sarah worried that if she did not improve her presence, she would lose out on career opportunities.
How She Improved Her Executive Presence
During coaching, Sarah identified specific behaviors that were contributing to her lack of presence. For her, it was not speaking up in meetings and failing to project confidence.
First, Sarah focused on her mindset. She identified the triggers that set off her low confident and sometimes anxious thoughts. As she explored her thoughts during stressful moments, she realized she was stuck in mind reading (believing she knows what others are thinking about her), catastrophizing (believing the very worst will happen), and blaming (blaming herself for not being more confident).
Sarah recognized that there was no evidence that these thoughts were true. She then replaced them with more empowering thoughts...changing from "I will say something stupid in this meeting!" to "I know more about this topic then others in the room and will add value." As Sarah powered up her thoughts, she noticed a remarkable improvement in her confidence.
Sarah then focused on her strengths and accomplishments, which is a key aspect of positive psychology. Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living. She focused on her strengths, rather than focusing on her weaknesses. This helped her to develop a more positive outlook on her capabilities and potential.
Finally, Sarah committed to a self-care and self-compassion plan to help her manage her negative thoughts and emotions. By learning how to take care of herself, Sarah was better able to manage her negative thoughts, and to build her resilience to stress and challenges.
Sarah has a few more coaching sessions left and has achieved a significant improvement with her confidence. Her positive and constructive mindset has helped her to become more confident, assertive and effective in her communication. Sarah recently presented to senior management and received this feedback: "Sarah was captivating and confident." "I would love to see Sarah present more often, she added a lot of value.
Did You Know?
Executive Presence is the ability to project confidence, credibility, and leadership in business settings. It encompasses a combination of factors such as communication skills, personal appearance, and the ability to inspire and influence others. It is not just about how one speaks or looks, but also about one's ability to connect with others, to communicate effectively, and to lead by example. It also includes nonverbal communication such as body language, and being able to adapt to different situations and audiences. Research supports that a strong Executive Presence can help you to be an effective leader and to advance in your career.