Annie worked in a publicly traded global technology company in a male-dominated industry and earned a great promotion to the CXO level. But soon after her executive appointment, she was delicately informed that her overall presence was not communicating a distinctly CXO demeanour. The board wanted her to work with a coach to cultivate a powerful presence that would allow her to make tough decisions with ease and authoritatively navigate her teams through challenging situations. They also wanted her coach to provide practical and immediately applicable ideas.
Diagnosis: We applied a 3-step holistic approach to evaluate the leader’s readiness and identify potential barriers to success: Stakeholder Insights, Assessment, and Gameplan Flow. During the insight session, the stakeholders shared that Annie needs to inspire others to take action even under pressure. Guided by Coach Vikram’s proprietary research-based Executive Presence Index assessment, we measured the behaviours that would enable her to command with ease. The EPI showed that Annie needed to improve her to focus on the big picture and take decisions with greater conviction. Finally, during the game plan design we determined priorities for coaching goals and measurements of success.
Mindset Shift: As part of her coaching conversations, Annie confided in Coach Vikram that she was intimidated by the alpha males in the senior leadership positions. Coach Vikram helped Annie overcome her internal obstacles and eliminate blind spots that hindered her senior leadership performance. Through coaching, Annie was able to realize how she was letting her own beliefs contribute to a clouded vision of reality. Each coaching session started with a reminder of Annie’s overall goals, and focused on her current successes.
Behavioural Shift: Using techniques from improv, method acting, and role play, Annie learned how to appreciate her own contribution to the organization. Daily, she spoke in a slow and measured tone to come across as a credible authority. She mindfully made decisions with great conviction and recognized when to walk away from the table. These tiny yet powerful creative steps inspired Annie with the priceless intangible qualities that stakeholders specifically look for in CXO.
Annie’s 12-month coaching journey had a huge impact on her thinking and decision-making. She learned to adapt her behaviors, using practical tools to connect more powerfully with key stakeholders and senior management, leading to stronger support and buy-in than she had initially believed possible. Today, Annie displays strong leadership gravitas while dealing with ambiguity and complexity, she stays calm under pressure, and she brings out the best from each of her varied teams. Most importantly, she has delivered on the bottom-line growth and organizational change initiatives to position the company for the next era of growth and innovation.