7 Reasons Why You Need a Leadership Development Coach to Get Ahead

A couple of years ago I was asked to work with the Vice-President of a large health care organization and coach her on what it takes to have Executive Presence. After my initial meeting with HR, clearly, what they wanted was a mentor/trainer not necessarily a coach  as there is a a significant difference between a coach, a mentor and a trainer. The prospective client and I met to discuss her needs and expectations. Yes, indeed she too was expecting training in the areas of interpersonal skills, communication skills, personal branding, presentation skills, and leadership best practices.

At Corporate Class Inc. we have developed a unique robust Executive Presence training program. In fact, this program has gained us the international reputation we enjoy today. We began her private Executive Presence training and this allowed me to go a bit deeper in some of the issues that impacted several areas of her career. I noted after the training that the next logical step was to engage in private coaching and work on her thinking process which we decided was going to be critical in advancing her personal development one step further.

Towards the end of our training engagement, and with great accolades from her CEO on her growth and development, my client shared confidentially that the current CEO was leaving. The departing CEO was encouraging my client to throw her hat in the ring for the CEO role. He said he would support her, that she was a great fit for that role. She was hesitant and didn’t think she had a real chance of landing that position. This hesitation was undoubtedly caused by some toxic thinking and confirmed to me that coaching was a definite must. We then engaged in private executive coaching sessions for 6 months.

The job interviews started just towards the end of our engagement, perfect timing. My client did a lot of good work during those 6 months and she had successfully shifted her mindset. Two months later, over a nice dinner, we celebrated her becoming the CEO or her organization. By the end of the first year in her CEO role, we resumed executive coaching and once again, great work was done and she reached new stretch goals she had set for herself.  

Before we get into why you need a leadership development coach to get ahead, it’s important to understand the difference between coaching, mentoring and training because it may set you up for disappointments if your expectations aren’t met.

What’s the difference between Coaching, Mentoring and Training?

Coaching

According to the International Coach Federation (ICF), an association and regulator body for coaches defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”  Coaching isn’t about giving advice or providing roadmaps telling the client what to do and how to do the job. Coaching is about helping clients with their thinking process so that they can gain life changing insights. The client has the answer to his/her issues. Unfortunately, often the client is too busy to make thoughtful decisions or find the better solution to solve the problem or situation. They react instead of thinking, feeling, and choosing.

Mentoring

Many use the terms coaching, mentoring and training interchangeably, yet the meaning of each is quite different.

An article titled ‘What’s the Difference Between a Coach and a Mentor?’, published in Forbes stated that, “Mentors are successful people who share their hard-earned wisdom to provide insight and guidance as a mentee encounters challenges along their journey. They typically function in a reactive capacity, responding to issues as they arise.”

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) has distinguished that, “Mentoring may include advising, counselling and coaching whilst the coaching process does not include advising or counselling.”

Training

A trainer gives advice based on their expertise in that specific field. Mentoring and training have similarities yet still, it is not the same. Mentoring is more informal and usually done one-to-one. The mentor may meet the mentee in a coffee shop and the mentee is for the agenda. Training is more regulated and typically done in larger groups. Although, often for the Senior Executives, it is done one-on-one as they do not wish to be part of a larger group. Training is like teaching, the trainer shares knowledge in one very specific area or topic.

Two diverse serious businesswomen discussing business project working together in office, serious female advisor and client talking at meeting, focused executive colleagues brainstorm sharing ideas

Here are 7 Reasons Why You Need a Leadership Development Coach to Get Ahead

You are at a time in your career where you have had the opportunity to attend several training programs, you have a mentor, and now you need an executive business coach. Why is that so important?

  1. Help you define your goals and make them shine so you are motivated to accomplish them.
    Having goals ensures the coaching process is solution-focused and developmental instead of remedial. Strategies are developed for each goal and they perform several functions. They help the coachee see their goals as more tangible and possible by breaking each goal down into stages. They also ensure the coachee does things differently. Goals without strategies that group actions together, end up with a long “to-do” list that can become overwhelming. The real value of the coaching is not so much in achieving the goals but in the learning journey the coachee goes through, new confidence developed, new skills learned, and in building new habits.

  2. Ensure you are creating action steps that will actually get done.
    Once you have clear strategies, it’s time to set actions. For each strategy, list a set of required actions to achieve the goal.
    These actions are:
    a. Helpful – the action relates directly to the strategy and will help you achieve it.
    b. Likely to happen – the action is clearly worded, challenging and achievable, specific, and within a timeframe.

  3. Benefit from a third party sounding board and totally confidential.
    Maintaining confidentiality is a must and is expected of the coach in accordance with the ICF Code of Ethics. Unless there are special agreements put into place prior to the start of the engagement, the coach is bound to confidentiality with client information per stakeholder agreements and pertinent laws.

  4. Leadership is always changing and your coach helps you navigate these uncharted territories.
    Changes are usually difficult and need to be approached iteratively. It is the coach’s responsibilities to help the client formulate the process for the implementation of the changes and consider the impact on all parties.

  5. Benefit from the opportunity of having someone reflect back to you some of your thoughts.
    Leaders are often people who get things done but also less adapt at being self-aware and they rarely take time to reflect. The coach helps the active leader develop the discipline of reflection to help them maximize learning from what they do in life.

  6. Be challenged by powerful questions to help your thinking process.
    The coach is a “Master of Asking”. The questions aren’t meant to trick you or make you feel inadequate. They are meant to help you think deeper about the issues or challenges you are facing. The clients often underestimate how smart they are and that in fact they have the answer, they just haven’t had a chance to properly think and they feel stuck. Anxiety sets in  and clarity of thoughts disappear. We often get the wrong answer because we ask the wrong questions. You can count on your coach to ask the right questions.

  7. Broaden your perspectives.
    There may be countless ways to solve a problem, approach a challenge but you are exhausted, stressed and don’t seem to be thinking as clearly as you would like to, or maybe you just seem to be stuck and can’t think out of the box and come up with a more creative solution. Your coach will help you explore solutions from different angles and check on the validity of your assumptions perhaps so that you get a fuller picture of what’s going on. Broadening your perspectives means you are expanding your worldview, experience and point of view.

Make sense? To find out more contact us at 416-967-1221.

Executive Presence for Women Leaders in 2021

Exuding Executive Presence adds a layer of challenges and opportunities for women to excel in the workplace. Diane Craig, President & Founder, Corporate Class Inc., shares her observations.

We are slowly and steadily overcoming the various challenges resulting from the pandemic. We have more lessons to learn as workplaces worldwide are moving towards a hybrid model of work-from-home and from working in the office, which requires current and aspiring leaders to step up and up-skill to lead teams.

Women, in general, tend to take on more responsibilities in raising children and ensuring their households run as efficiently as their offices do.

But, how does one exude Executive Presence, 24/7, with no breaks and no clear distinction in their work and home spaces?

Expert coach, Diane Craig, answers key questions to help address this challenge in 2021.

What defines Executive Presence now as we move towards a hybrid model of work cultures?

Executive Presence always has and will always come down to how you show up in any situation and how you present yourself.

Your presence and engagement during a conversation in the office might be somewhat different from how you show up on an online platform, however, the basic guidelines remain the same.

When you enter your office or a boardroom for a meeting, others immediately develop a first impression of how you are doing today — if you look happy or weighed down, if you will be able to contribute to a conversation effectively, etc. This first impression sets the tone for the rest of the engagement.

Energy flows where intention goes, and those around you pick up on where your energy is flowing at the moment.

Executive Presence is really about the ability to connect authentically and to inspire and motivate those around you.

We say that inspiring is the pull, motivating is the push.

So, if I want to pull my team in and engage them, I, as a leader, need to show up authentically.

For some, let’s say you are an introvert, at times, you will have to stretch yourself, and express yourself more passionately than you normally would to show you are excited about what you are talking about. This may not be your preferred communication style, but that’s what it will take for your message to be as impactful as you want it to be.

As we start to move fluidly between working from home and the office, there are more demands on most women, many of whom are within the sandwich generation. How do we manage that?

First, it needs to be understood and communicated within the family. A friend of mine said while her children were role-playing, her five-year-old told his playmate, “Can’t you see I am on a Zoom call?” while pretending to work on a laptop. We were both taken aback because we would have never thought of saying things like that when we were five. This just speaks to how our children pick up on the behaviours around them and also have developed their understanding of our challenges.

The second most important step to exuding executive presence, after showing the best version of your authentic self, is to be present in the moment. We need to navigate these situations using solutions like sticky notes on the door indicating your office is off-limits right now, scheduling meetings around your children’s schedule if required, and communicating your needs to your partner and team. Of course, it isn’t going to be perfect, and it takes a lot of practice, however, it lays the foundation for your success.

A good leader needs to adapt to unforeseen challenges to engage and motivate those around them under any circumstance. You have to be that role model.

How does developing Executive Presence differ for women?

Over the last 30 years, I have coached, worked with, and mentored many women. Two things I hear most often are:

  1. they doubt themselves a lot more than their male counterparts and
  2. their passion often gets equated with “being emotional.”

Both result from systemic practices and stereotypes that are believed to be true and are not backed by evidence.

The first factor results from the old style of leadership where command and control ruled the boardroom.

We think of men as confident and women as capable in our teams, and that needs to change.

As a woman, if you are invited to speak about something in a meeting or conference, it’s because you are an expert in the field and you should own it. It’s the same with applying for jobs. The lack of confidence keeps most women from getting through doors, not for lack of experience, expertise, or abilities, more often it is just about confidence and interrupting that self-doubt.

That’s why I love organizations such as The White Ribbon, whose mandate is to enable men to help develop women’s voices. It’s important for women to have male mentors and champions who help them overcome their fears and self-doubt, which are often baseless.

If women are passionate about an idea or a project, they are often perceived as emotional especially in non-inclusive workplaces.

In developing your Executive Presence as a woman, be true to yourself and remain authentic. This requires you to be assertive. Asserting oneself means respecting yourself by speaking up your mind, respecting others by acknowledging their point of view and, without expectation of them necessarily agreeing with you.

This is different from aggression, which disrespects others; and from passivity, which disrespects yourself. If you are passive-aggressive, you disrespect both yourself and those around you.  The benefit of developing an Executive Presence is that you show up like you belong.

Any tips on developing executive presence for women leaders?

Truly believe in your abilities and experiences. Do not invalidate yourself or diminish your power.

In order to be anointed as a leader, you first have to be perceived as one.

If you don’t believe you have that presence when you’re in a meeting, when you’re presenting, when you’re interacting with others, it’s going to be difficult for anyone to be influenced or persuaded by you.

They’re still going to doubt that you’re that leader that I want to work with, that I want to listen to, that I want to role model and that I want to learn from.

The secret of executive presence for women, in many ways, is the same as it is for men…

  • It is displaying your authenticity, your motivations and inspirations, and living them.
  • It involves speaking the truth with assertiveness and not aggressiveness.
  • It involves showing up at your authentic best, being present in the moment, and communicating challenges to your immediate loved ones and your teams to overcome challenges to be the best versions of ourselves.

Are you a woman leader ready to build your executive presence?

At Corporate Class, our expert facilitators provide in-person and live online leadership and executive presence training for women. Learn more about our Individual Training programs or get in touch with us to host a customized Business Workshop.

You can also master your Executive Presence skills with CCI’s Online Self-Paced Leadership Presence System!
leadership presence training program

What is Executive Presence Training (And Why it Matters More Than Ever in 2021)

When we aspire to be leaders, the underlying context of that aspiration is the desire to lead, make a positive change, inspire others to do and be better, to head up an organization, to make an impact on others and in some cases leave a lasting impression or legacy.

Leadership is often associated with key traits and skills we expect people to have, at times, we correlate leadership with positions held.

Indeed, leadership is those things and more; it is the ability to have others willingly follow your lead – regardless of position held.

For many organizations, one of the biggest challenges facing them is pipeline issues and succession planning.

While businesses know they need to develop both these tracks, few have a clear path with the exception of perhaps the most senior role(s).

However, if organizations want to thrive and prosper, they need to develop their talent pipeline and often, the most critical skill is leadership presence and in particular executive presence training.

What is Executive Presence?

So, what exactly is executive presence?

It can mean different things to different people; simply put, leadership or executive presence comes from being authentic, building confidence in others, and inspiring others to take meaningful action.

Leadership and developing your executive presence, specifically, is a journey of personal transformation of:

  • who you are;
  • the kind of leader you are;
  • and the kind of leader you want to be

Considered the gold standard in the industry for many reasons, executive presence training is anchored in 30+ years of research and is grounded on understanding the neuroscience of the brain; recognizing that positive change comes with managing triggers, behaviours and your ability to self manage in situations to achieve excellent outcomes.

How to Develop Executive Presence

While developing your leadership is achieved through different methods, executive presence training is a key differentiator because it supports the growth of your courage, confidence, and strengthens your communication skills, builds empathy and enhances your active listening.

Individuals who develop executive presence influence their leadership strategy thus impacting their personal journey and building their capacity to seek opportunity and stand out among leaders.

So why is executive presence different and cited as the gold standard?

The impact stems from the personal development of an individual such that there is a great deal of self-reflection while building capacity and skills that develop a person in a fulsome way.

For example, when we think of great leaders, we associate humble confidence and the ability to project knowledge with credibility.

But, how do you gain credibility and confidence?

It comes with developing trust and making consistently good impressions.  This lasting impression on people is created through consistency in:

  • communication;
  • knowledge of your area of specialization;
  • being authentic,
  • lifting others

For example, when we think of leaders, we associate the ability to communicate effectively and powerfully and in doing so, that quiet confidence comes through.

However, this impression is more than words we use, it is how present we are and how we present (or how we show up) that supports and defines the impression we make.

For example, if you are speaking and moving back and forth, looking down, speaking in a monotone, fidgeting, with arms crossed, imagine the impression you make to an audience regardless of how well you know the material.

Executive presence training develops and teaches an individual to hone the skills to communicate effectively such that what you say and how you say speaks to and reflects your personal brand and the high value you bring as a person along with your knowledge and contributions.

Executive presence also develops leadership in individuals by empowering them to gain a greater understanding of the executive brain and its functionality; specifically, the individual’s triggers and how to manage them and the responses effectively.

The ability to hone and strengthen your interpersonal skills can help navigate work place politics and challenges critical to leadership success.

Benefits of Executive Presence Training

Leadership and those with executive presence are highly sought after.

Every organization wants excellent staff and colleagues who have leadership skills and potential, because these individuals will rise to the occasion, and help lead the organization in times of crisis in a way that instills trust, minimizes disruption and leverages strategic competencies.

Leaders do not just focus on results; leaders with executive presence build on their knowledge and leverage their credibility, confidence and excellent interpersonal skills to make a lasting and positive impression.

Executive Presence requires developing competencies and investment in yourself to empower and expand your career potential.

At Corporate Class Inc., our executive presence training in Toronto and across the globe is designed in such a way that reflection and practice become an integral part of your personal and professional development.

Change and a growth mindset happen when individuals seek to learn, invest in their leadership journey and open themselves up to becoming a better version of themselves. Like all great skills, it also comes with practicing what you learn.

Executive presence training is an investment in your current and future self; it is the gift that keeps on giving.

Why You Need Executive Presence Coaching

When you are present, confident, and reflective and lead with authenticity, you build your Executive Presence and these skills and experience are a game changer.

Diane Craig, President of Corporate Class Inc., emphasizes that, “to be crowned a leader, a person must be recognized as a leader. Our role is empowering people to lead. Executive presence is a blend of related parts that vary according to personality and circumstance. There is no formula; every client is unique. We ensure they evolve and develop their own authentic presence.”

As one aspiring leader and participant has shared, “through our discussions, I have much greater awareness and understanding of how my behaviors and impressions may hold me back from unlocking my potential as an executive. The approach is based on research and the latest thinking on executive presence. The advice has been truthful and direct, yet delivered in a kind way that helps me internalize it, remember it in the moment, and reach for different behaviors. There are certainly other vendors in this space, but I’d be surprised if their service came close to that offered by this high touch, highly effective team.”

Corporate Class Inc. conducts executive presence workshops around the world — from the Americas, to Europe and the Gulf.

CEO’s have endorsed our training and executive presence coaching because of its strong value proposition; “The investment I made with Corporate Class has helped me personally and increased my business exponentially. This program has reinforced the value we place on a work environment that is based on respect. Understanding and consideration for our internal and external clients. This training has also supported our employees in their career development, proving to be a great professional and personal investment for everyone who attended.”

Top business schools around the world recognize Executive Presence as critical to closing the gap between talent and exceptional leadership by finding your voice, developing the quiet confidence to navigate what comes your way, leveraging and maximizing your strengths,. Our client list speaks to the impact our programs have made on our patrons and their organizations around the world.

At Corporate Class Inc. our goal is to empower people to unlock their potential. Let us help you on your journey to empower yourself and others.

Master your executive presence skills with CCI’s Online Self-Paced Leadership Presence System!

leadership presence training program

24 Tips on How to Increase Your Executive Presence On The Spot

increase-executive-presenceExecutive Presence – what is it? Well, it’s neither exclusive nor elusive, which means you can get it! People aren’t “born” with Executive Presence. Yes, for some it comes more naturally because they inheritably express certain characterizes that are closely linked to Executive Presence. However, for those who do not exhibit these characteristics, there is no need to fret. Executive Presence can absolutely be learned, although it is important to keep in mind that it is a process, not an event. Developing your Executive Presence takes time, hard work and dedication, but in the end, it will set you apart from all others at the table.

To make this journey a little easier for you, we’ve put together 24 quick tips on how you can increase your Executive Presence on the spot:

  1. Increase your focus – staying focused and in the moment is one of the easiest ways to increase your EP on the spot.
  2. Create a personalized, professional voicemail greeting
  3. Update your LinkedIn picture every year or so, or if you change your “look” (and be sure it is a professional picture! Your kids are certainly great, but save that for Facebook)
  4. Connect with your eyes – eye contact goes a long way in helping to express your EP
  5. Don’t gossip! Unless it’s positive gossip
  6. Recognize that your appearance matters, and realize the potential of presenting a professional image
  7. Do a wardrobe cleanse every season to get rid of things you no longer wear or are out of style. This will assure you are always presenting your best, most stylish self.
  8. Prepare (at least mentally) what you are going to wear the night before
  9. Get enough sleep – nothing says “Lack of EP” more than someone falling asleep during a meeting!
  10. Always be on time (and by on time, we mean a bit early)
  11. Practice power posing before any scenario where you might feel nervous
  12. Attend networking events – even if they make you feel uncomfortable!
  13. Increase your emotional intelligence – for this, you may need to work a little longer and harder, but a good place to start is by trying to be more empathetic to others
  14. Make sure you eat before attending a networking event – you weren’t invited because you were hungry!
  15. When networking, set yourself a goal, such as connecting with three people before you leave
  16. Show your attention to detail through your impeccable grooming – the most important piece of appearance is your grooming!
  17. Your network is your net-worth – always be thinking about growing your network, both professional and personal
  18. If you don’t already know it, learn about your company’s corporate culture and what they stand for. Do you fit in? Can you make any adjustments?
  19. Learn the political landscape of your company. For more information, check out our blog series on The Secret Handshake
  20. When giving a presentation, make sure you hit all four corners of the room with your eyes, so that everyone feels included – they will be more likely and willing to listen to you! This is probably the easiest and fasted way to help increase your EP on the spot
  21. Keep a clean and organized desk space – especially if you’re in an open-office environment
  22. Replace “Yes, or” “Yes, but” and “no” with “Yes, and”
  23. Listen more
  24. Write thank you notes

These are some excellent on-the-spot tactics you can apply in your daily lives that will instantly make a big impact on your Executive Presence. For more information on how you can further increase your EP, feel free to check out our Courses, Workshops and Lunch and Learns!

New Year’s Resolutions for the Workplace

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Happy New Year! How will you ring in 2013?

Many of us start off a fresh year by making a resolution or two, aiming to better ourselves through small changes to our habits. This year, consider making a professional New Year’s resolution – because even small improvements in your routine in the office or your business interactions can help you to advance your career or make your mark professionally.

Resolve to Make Connections

Are you a shy person who only talks to familiar colleagues at networking events – or just skips the event altogether? In 2013, resolve to break out of your shell by making new professional connections, both inside and outside of your company. Besides participating in networking events, take other steps to build your contact list: set lunch dates with potential partners or clients, or schedule informational interviews with business contacts. Creating and maintaining professional relationships is an important piece of advancing and growing in your field.

Resolve to Be a Leader

Displaying leadership in the workplace is a solid building block for moving up in your company. You can demonstrate leadership in tasks big and small: anything from taking the initiative to assist a new colleague, to planning and executing an important project. Consistently displaying leadership qualities will work to your advantage, especially as management begins to notice your initiative. Practicing leadership can also boost your confidence and comfort level in the workplace.

Resolve to Improve Your Presentation Skills

No matter how impressive the content of your work, your messages simply will not resonate with colleagues or clients if you cannot deliver them in a strong presentation. Giving great presentations is something that many professionals struggle with, whether it is due to stage fright, nervousness or just unfamiliarity with speaking in front of a large group. Awareness of the key elements of an effective presentation – body language, posture, articulation, well-planned slides and talking points, appearance and attire – plus lots of practice can help you to strengthen your presentation skills and effectively deliver your messages.

Resolve to Build Your Executive Presence

Executive Presence
is not a single trait that can be acquired overnight; rather, it is a hybrid of characteristics, which are all critical for a successful professional to have. A recently published study by the Center for Talent Innovation defines the foundations of Executive Presence as gravitas, communication and appearance, and makes no question of the importance of Executive Presence, stating that it “accounts for 26 percent of what it takes to get the next promotion.” You can work on building your own Executive Presence through training programs, Lunch and Learn sessions, customized webinars and individual consultations that focus on skills such as communication, business etiquette, and professional image.

Even through small changes, we can all work toward becoming stronger and more successful professionals. What better time to improve your daily habits for lasting results than at the start of a brand new year!