Executive Presence : Assessment, Coaching, Training

Relationship Building for Influential Leadership

In spite of his astute intelligence and 23 years of leadership experience, Shishir was never considered to be an influential leader. Nobody wanted to be a part of his projects and he was considered to be a bad boss who sapped motivation, killed ideas, and made his employees want to run from the job!  The client organization found that, despite his stellar reputation for technical capabilities, he didn’t have the persuasion and influence skills required to lead a positive team – a gap problem that could completely derail his career growth. To address this, the organization was looking for a coaching engagement that included a deep assessment of Shishir’s leadership and would lead to a clear plan of action grounded in data.


Diagnosis: During the alignment conversation with the 4 key required stakeholders, Coach Vikram observed that Shishir gave the impression of being hungry for attention, which negatively affected how the other stakeholders perceived him. At the outset of the coaching journey, we deployed the Coach Vikram EPI assessment – a tool to gather actionable data on the leader’s gaps to make an impact, and be more influential. The assessment confirmed this appearance: Shishir did not show a lot of interest in the opinions of others, and this specific gap was preventing him from building long-term workplace relationships. Because of this, he was missing opportunities to gain a competitive edge by developing his most important asset — his relationships with his team.  

Mindset Shift: Coach Vikram provided Shishir with new insights into how to break his habits of narcissism while interacting with people and how to develop empathetic listening skills. With Coach Vikram’s assistance, Shishir came to realize that when he did not show much interest toward what others think, feel, or experience, or expand the other person’s point of view, he was coming across as arrogant or insensitive. Very soon, Shishir was able to shift his mindset to one of curiosity about, and investment, his team.

Behavioral Shift: As the coaching progressed, Shishir had a step-by-step plan on how to enhance his self-awareness, increase his likeability, and create better first impressions among new stakeholders. In just 3 months, Shishir learned to mindfully let go of his derailing interpersonal skills, and began to intentionally practice the 3 critical traits of relationship building: interest, listening, and commonality. He started daily, doing one small action at a personal level that could strengthen his relationship with his team, boss, and other stakeholders; building on this, he started asking more questions with genuine curiosity to expand and explore the other person’s point of view; and in the second half of the coaching journey, Shishir underwent lots of method acting coaching activities grounded in real-time, on-the-job action. These experiences all helped him to discover what drove and excited him at work and how to better tap into his strengths. With ongoing feedback and course correction here, we reinforced the client’s top 3 coaching goals.

After nine months of coaching, there was an atmosphere of likeability and support from his team that helped Shishir see a better way to lead that was sustainable and very productive. He could mindfully raise his likability to connect authentically with anyone, any time, anywhere – and all of this also resonated with his organization’s values. Shishir had successfully achieved his agreed-upon positive results in behaviours and was all set to perform in larger, rapidly-changing roles in a globalised world. 

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