Executive Presence : Assessment, Coaching, Training

Connecting with Warmth

Challenge
Lisa was a partner at a leading management consulting firm. She was masterful at managing up but when working with her team and junior staff, her presence came across as condescending and overbearing. She had a habit of disparaging the ideas of others while claiming to have superior ideas, and reacted instantly to problems rather than investing time toward finding their root causes. Lisa’s team felt that she discouraged constructive feedback and inhibited them from critical thinking; her country head identified her as an arrogant boss who could drag her team down with her perceived sense of self-superiority. The HR team realized that although Lisa had experienced considerable professional success, she would need to rein in her arrogance before it hurt the bottom line. 

Solution

Diagnosis: As her coach, Vikram saw that Lisa was displaying derailing behaviours that showed lack of warmth and trust. Based on the EPI Assessment, Vikram gave Lisa real-time feedback on how her behaviour was causing stress to others and how her behaviour was likely to create a toxic and damaging atmosphere. During the coaching, Lisa learned that she needed to make people feel safe and comfortable around her. She also got insights into the minds of Fortune 100 CXOs on how to soften her laser-focused interactions that could feel like interviews or interrogations and purposefully support everyone in the team to have a sense of ownership.

Mindset Shift: Annie learned to let go of her derailing mindset about control and showing more restraint in team meetings. She gained a new perspective on how to lead by encouraging others to express their views openly and honestly. Soon, Annie started thinking about her impact, not in terms of deliverables, but in terms of realizing larger goals of the firm. She saw the bigger picture and showed up with the intention to help her team members reach their potential, while supporting the goals of the company.

Behavioural Shift: Lisa was coached to pause and listen to others in new ways. This simple behavioural change helped her build relationships using empathy and acceptance. This was followed by her scheduling more one-on-one time with direct reports when delivering critical feedback rather than sharing it in an open forum. She learned techniques to persuade and motivate her team and foster cooperation without appearing bossy. She worked on her coaching skills with her team so that – instead of unilaterally solving problems for them – she learned how to facilitate discussions that are open, frank, respectful, and empowering. 

Results
All of this changed Lisa’s self-awareness and her awareness of others. Six months into her coaching journey, Lisa had developed a newfound warmth to reach greater heights of professional excellence. In fact, because of her new communicative leadership style, her team’s performance improved so much that  they started to get the top performance results in the region.

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