Situation: Karen was newly appointed to her position in finance, where she was responsible for managing and keeping the department on budget. Soft-spoken and petite, Karen had a hard time making herself heard during meetings, as her aggressive team shouted over her and challenged her when she questioned their figures. Karen’s team was over budget, and she was concerned about her credibility when she had to present her figures to corporate at an up-coming meeting.
Solution: We worked on increasing the volume and conviction in Karen’s voice. I created a template for Karen to organize her ideas so she would not get intimidated and lose her train of thought. Together, we practiced breathing exercises before the meeting to calm Karen’s nerves. We also developed strategies for dealing with people who lobbed hostile barbs or tried to interrupt Karen when she was speaking.
Result: After the big meeting, Karen said she felt prepared, organized, and confident. She was able to hold her ground and support her position. The note-taking system helped her to stay focused and maintain her credibility.
Situation: Renee was a young associate for a marketing research company; it was her first job. She was smart but soft-spoken. Her boss felt that she was not coming across strongly enough to inspire confidence when presenting research during client presentations. Renee’s manager frequently interrupted and dominated meetings, and wouldn’t allow Renee to lead a meeting in her absence. Renee knew her facts, but she simply read her PowerPoint.
Solution: I worked with Renee to create stronger presence through projecting her voice, connecting the dots and telling the story behind the numbers, and speaking with conviction. She also learned how to regain control of meetings when her manager took over.
Result: Today, Renee is leading the meetings and is receiving positive feedback from clients and she has been promoted.
Situation: Carol was a bright, up and coming assistant vice president in a health care company. She was definitely dressed for success. Visually, she looked like an executive. She could have been on the cover of Fortune magazine. From her suit to her jewelry to her haircut, she looked corporate but feminine.
The issue was when Carol presented to senior management. Her boss confided that she couldn’t promote her to VP. When Carol spoke to senior management, she waffled, hedged, and used wimpy words and uptalk. Clearly, her visual image was not aligned with her vocal and verbal presentation. Carol lacked executive presence.
Solution: I coached Carol for a number of sessions on how to present herself more powerfully. Carol learned to take a stand, own her ideas and to speak with more authority. She eliminated weak language and delivered her message with conviction.
Result: Due to her powerful presentation, Carol earned the respect of senior management and was promoted to Vice President.
Situation: Robert was a brilliant executive who worked for a health care company. But he was not projecting a strong leadership image because of his rambling, academic style and his extensive technical vocabulary that tended to alienate his listeners. Not only was Robert not connecting with his peers, visually he didn’t look like a leader. He wore a plaid shirt, a sweater vest, and casual shoes. The brilliance his boss recognized in him was not shining through to others.
Solution: As part of the Exec-U-Lead coaching program, Robert learned to use an executive summary approach and to speak in snappy sound bites. By using simpler, shorter words his message had more impact on his audiences. Robert was persuaded to change his look from weekend casual to corporate coat and tie, so he could look more like an executive.
Result: Robert was able to change the image he projected to others – both visually and verbally. He was able to gain respect and be acknowledged for his leadership. Today, he looks and sounds like a leader and he’s taking his team to new heights.
Situation: Marjorie, an owner of a coaching practice, was feeling stuck. Her dilemma: she needed to bring in money by developing her own coaching clients. At the same time she was a facilitator for a small business think tank and was expected to recruit a certain number of members to coach. She also had recruiting responsibilities for a woman’s organization for which she was paid an honorarium.
If she didn’t meet her quota for the think tank she wouldn’t be able to continue. But if she devoted her primary efforts to it, she would continue to have cash flow problems.
Solution: It was clear that Marjorie was putting herself last. We talked about setting priorities and the importance of putting herself first. Marjorie came to realize that her first priority had to be her own business, the small business think tank would be second, and the women’s group would come last because it didn’t bring in much money. We developed a strategy for Marjorie to sell her coaching services as a priority and then up-sell the think tank membership as a means of ongoing group support. We then worked on an elevator speech to help her position that message.
Result: Marjorie is no longer confused and has a strategy that supports her best interests and will increase her cash flow from now on. She said, “This is the best coaching I’ve ever experienced.