Can you be coached for presence and impact?

Authentic leadership, charismatic leadership, conscious, integrative, servant-leadership, transformational leadership… it seems that every few weeks there is a new brand of leadership being revealed on the pages of HBR and Forbes.

What seems to link them together though, is a number of similar principles that are key no matter which way you lean on the leadership schools of thought.

  • An outstanding leader is true to him/herself, that is to say they have strong values, are able to articulate their purpose and paint an inspiring and strategic vision for the organization
  • A strong belief in building trust through ethical behaviour and personal integrity fuels the authenticity of the leader
  • Great leaders are extremely self-aware and are able to self-correct and thus set a great example
  • Not only do they understand themselves and their less conscious motivations extremely well, but they take time to understand others and are considerate of other people
  • Compelling leaders have presence and are influential in order to be convincing and drive change effectively

Being outstanding at your job or extremely competent technically no longer guarantees you a leadership role. Organisations have realised that creativity and innovation are not nurtured by bosses who say, “Look I’ve done this job for years, and I must’ve done something right otherwise I wouldn’t be the boss”. Command-and-control leadership is one style that is definitely out of fashion.

The good news is that the desirable leadership traits can be enhanced and developed. I think that this is where coaching can play an important role. Coaching for leadership development will help those wanting to improve their career options and opportunities.

Coaching can help a leader to build self-confidence through greater self-awareness and honest acknowledgement of their short-comings. Learning how to overcome or compensate for behaviours or traits that may hold the individual back is an important aspect of coaching.

Moving up into a leadership role can be increasingly lonely. A coach can act as a confidential sounding board on matters of both strategy and approach.

A coach can be brutally honest and supportive, recognising that both approaches are valuable in an individual building a true picture of the work that needs to be done.

Stepping up in order to get noticed requires developing a sense of presence. I remember recommending one of my executives for a promotion to head up a larger business division and was told by the CEO, “She’s smart and capable, but she lacks presence and impact.” The executive in question was subsequently coached to learn both when and how to speak up more credibly and to build greater visibility and influence amongst her peers. She had to consciously decide to manage her image and in turn influence the perceptions of those powers that would decide on her future route up the corporate ladder.

Nikki Twomey

Nikki has many years of experience in developing young people into experienced managers and seasoned executives. The coaching journey starts with self-knowledge and self-management before being able to lead others with confidence.