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Cultivating Executive Skills And Presence Transcript

Coaching can be critical in helping executives and managers develop the business skills and communication styles – both verbal and non-verbal – required of successful senior executives.

Guests discuss how professional coaching can be highly effective as part of an overall succession strategy with an organization and can address the very real leadership gap ahead for many companies.


* Robert Dickman, FirstVoice

* Karen Radtke, Beacon Street Coaching

* John Boisvert, President and CEO, Greenwood Consulting

* Ginny O'Brien, Executive and Corporate Coach, The Columbia Consultancy


According to many experts, there isn’t a formula for exactly what it takes to be a good leader. A variety of studies have been unable to identify any universal characteristics, skills, or traits that are seen consistently across those in leadership positions.

The coaches on the show discuss strategies that focus less on the textbook skills most programs identify as keys to success, and more on the importance of knowing yourself – and developing a style that works for you.

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Cultivating Executive Skills And Presence Transcript

  1. 1. Insight on Coaching Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript Prepared for: Prepared by: IEC: Insight Ubiqus Reporting Educational Coaching
  2. 2. Time Speaker Transcript 0:23 Tom Floyd Hello Everyone, and welcome to Insight On Coaching. Insight On Coaching explores the many facets, flavors, and sides of the emerging professional coaching field. I'm Tom Floyd, the CEO of Insight Educational Consulting, and your host on today's show. Well today's show focuses on two topics. One the skills or attributes that executives and managers need to be successful on today's workforce. And two the importance of presence in an executive or managers role. Now a guest on today's show will discuss how professional coaching can be highly affective as part of an overall success in strategy when it comes to helping executives and managers develop key skills adherent to their roles. Also working on being present in their role, and we're going to discuss executive presence as a whole as well. 1:09 Tom Floyd Now identifying the universal trade so to speak, skills, or other characteristics that it takes to be a successful leader is definitely a hot topic. And certainly one that there's a lot of different opinions and ideas in the industry about as well. I want to share a little bit of research that our research team pulled. Those of you who are big fans of the Harvard Business Review, which I think a lot of our listeners, know I certainly am. It's something that I tune into regularly. According to the February 2007 issue of Harvard Business Review, an article titled “Discovering Your Authentic Leadership”, the authors argue that there isn't a formula for exactly what it takes to be a successful leader. So basically the authors did a study, and in their study after interviewing 125 leaders to learn how they developed their leadership abilities, and after analyzing 3000 pages of transcripts from those interviews, the authors were startled to see that the leaders they interviewed did not identify any universal characteristics, traits, skills, or styles that led to their success. Rather their leadership emerged from their life stories. 2 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 2 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  3. 3. Time Speaker Transcript 2:22 Tom Floyd So consciously and sub consciously they were constantly testing themselves through real world experiences and reframing their life stories to understand who they were at their core. In doing so, they discovered the purpose of their leadership, and learned that being authentic made them more affective. This personally was very, very interesting to me. I think I've shared before on the show that as a result of doing the show, I am very privileged and lucky to have two coaches myself as well. Both have been guests on our show in the past, Jennifer Corben and Mark Mooney from the Strossi Institute. And the topic of authenticity is something that comes up a lot in my sessions and the importance of it. And it was interesting for me to see that that was the focus of this article from the Harvard Business Review as well. 3:15 Tom Floyd Now another interesting article or study that was published by Development Dimensions International, or DDI, from their 2005 to 2006 leadership forecast, had a similar point of view as well. And while acknowledging that in previous studies, the foremost important competencies for leaders, if we talked about it from a competency perspective, were considered to be adaptability, building a successful team, decision-making, and communication. But their most current study, the approach that was taken was a little bit different. And it's interesting that they approached this time around focused on measuring which leadership actions got the most respect. 3 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 3 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  4. 4. Time Speaker Transcript 3:59 Tom Floyd So in a nutshell, leaders were asked to select the one action that garnered the most respect for leaders and their organization. And I thought the results were interesting. In number one, and for the highest result was the ability to bring in the numbers. Number two was the ability to take a stand and make tough decisions. And number three was the ability to create a strategy or vision for success. Now an important thing to note from the study was that the people side of leadership, including the use of their personal skills, and the ability to mobilize a team, things like that, ranked lower in importance, which is a bit startling. Now in that same study, DDI questioned HR professionals as well. And the take from HR wasn't quite the same. HR professional ranked the ability to mobilize or motivate a team highest. Not the ability to bring in the numbers. 4:50 Tom Floyd Now here's another interesting fact. HR professionals also reported that 65 percent of leaders selected internally for their positions were successful, and of the 35 percent who aren't successful most fail because they have poor people skills or exhibit inappropriate personal qualities. So in other words, and from their perspective with that study, bringing in the numbers and making tough decisions got respect that's the people and personal issues that caused leaders to fail. So it'll be interesting to see how the data from that study relates to the concept of just being authentic in your role and staying true to who you are as a leader. 4 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 4 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  5. 5. Time Speaker Transcript 5:31 Tom Floyd So, what's the take on this from a coaching perspective? Well I'm very anxious to hear our guest's perspective on all of this. So before we jump in the conversation, let me give you a quick overview of each of our guests. We have four guests on today's show, Bob Dickman, Karen Radtke, John Boisvert, and Ginny O’Brien. I'll give you a quick run down of each of them. Bob Dickman helps leaders improve speaking, writing, and non-verbal communication using narrative techniques developed from Western rhetorical, cognitive, and dramatic traditions. Collaborating with senior management teams, he has coached in and developed workshops for clients at The United States Naval Post Graduate School, Ford Motor Company, Paramount Studios and Shell Oil, among others. Bob facilitates tailored interventions to generate authentic learning to achieve clients’ business objectives. He has also developed a proprietary method which improves leadership communication skills and innate narrative abilities. This enhanced ability has many applications appreciated by clients including: enhancing leadership communication; engaging difficult audiences in new ventures; building a brand story; increasing sales and improving team cohesion. Bob holds a BA from Goddard College and is a graduate of the Hudson Institute’s program in organizational coaching and is certified as a coach by The International Coaching Federation. Welcome to the show Bob. 5 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 5 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  6. 6. Time Speaker Transcript 6:48 Tom Floyd Our next guest Karen Radke. Karen Radtke brings over 20 years of experience in designing and implementing programs for leaders to achieve organization goals. Her work has included extensive experience with global organizations in the areas of top-team strategy planning, merger and acquisition integrations, organizational change and corporate culture initiatives, and executive coaching and development. In 2005 Karen launched Beacon Street Coaching—with the purpose of offering leadership coaching and organizational consulting to business and organization leaders ready to take their organizations to the next level. Prior to starting Beacon Street Coaching Karen was the practice leader of the executive coaching practice of Right Management for businesses based in Illinois and Wisconsin. In her career Karen has consulted with a number of organizations nationally and internationally including: Abbott, AC Nielsen, American Heart Association, Federal Reserve Bank, Kraft, and Toyota, among others. She has coached executives ranging from operations VP to CEO of a hospital, company founders, sr. ministers and not-for-profit executive directors across a range of functions, industries and countries. Welcome to the show Karen. 7:55 Tom Floyd Our next guest, John Boisvert. John Boisvert advises and coaches executives in the areas of improving personal and organizational performance, high-impact communication, and team and organizational alignment. As a coach, John works with clients on a wide range of issues critical to executive effectiveness. These range from improving their executive presence, to increasing their ability to communicate effectively, to expanding their capacity for thinking and planning strategically, to maximizing their personal and organizational performance and contributions. One of his passions and most called upon specialties is working to improve the quality of an executive’s communications, relationship-building skills, and presence. He then works with his clients to apply these skills to significantly improve their ability to: increase their team’s effectiveness, build better organizational alignment and productivity, handle corporate politics in positive and constructive ways, and demonstrate their capacity for bigger challenges and opportunities. John holds degrees in mathematics and economics from Boston College and has completed additional studies with the Executive Coaching Institute and Human Systems Institute. Welcome to the show John. 6 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 6 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  7. 7. Time Speaker Transcript 8:59 Tom Floyd And our last guest, Ginny O'Brien. Ginny O'Brien is an executive and corporate coach, specializing in leadership development and women’s advancement. In 1998, she founded The Columbia Consultancy, a leadership development coaching firm. A skilled facilitator and workshop leader, Ginny has led leadership and career development workshops for over 100 organizations, including Chubb, Eastman Kodak, EMC, McKinsey & Company, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, SalomonSmithBarney, Shell Oil, Texas Instruments, Verizon, Viacom, and Xerox. Ginny is the author of three books: Coaching Yourself to Leadership: Five Key Strategies for Becoming an Integrated Leader, (HRD Press, 2005); Success on Our Own Terms: Tales of Extraordinary, Ordinary Business Women (John Wiley, 1998; and, The Fast Forward MBA in Business (John Wiley, 1996). In addition, she was a contributing author to Winning in the New Europe: Taking Advantage of the Single Market (Prentice Hall, 1992) and her articles on business intelligence and career strategies have been published in a variety of magazines. She has been featured in major newspapers and magazines, including O, The Oprah Magazine, and has appeared on regional and national radio and TV shows. Welcome to the show Ginny. 10:12 Tom Floyd Now today's show is going to be a group discussion, as with all of our shows this season. We're going to pose questions to everyone as a group to get the groups thoughts. Now we only have about two minutes before our first commercial break. I want to go ahead and start the conversation with at least one of you. And the first question I have is a big picture question. And the question is what's your reaction to the Harvard Business Review article? Especially in terms of the importance of being authentic. Ginny, let's start with you. 7 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 7 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  8. 8. Time Speaker Transcript 10:39 Ginny O’Brien Oh, I'm really glad that you started with me, because I actually have five key strategies that I write about in my last book, Coaching Yourself To Leadership. And the very first strategy is authenticity. So I'm totally in agreement with the HBR article. I don't think that you can be a successful leader unless you show up authentically, which means that you have a really good self awareness that you understand your strengths and your weaknesses, that you know how you're hard wired, what your tendencies are, and you know how to leverage your strengths, and how to compensate for or work on developing your weaknesses, but actually more playing to your strengths. And that once you try to be something that you're not, you're just not going to show up as successfully as you could be if you stay true to who you are and really come to your leadership in an authentic way. 11:24 Tom Floyd And you do you find that a lot of people try to be that, to be something that they're not? 11:29 Ginny O’Brien Well it's interesting, because one of the reasons that I became so aware of authenticity is because I do have a specialty in women's leadership. And one of the things that women have struggled with is having to kind of copy a male model of leadership. And often what can happen is that women are trying to model something that innately they would go about doing in a different way. So for me that's one of the first places it showed up. It's really needing to find out who you are and not trying to follow someone else or be someone else, but really understand what you bring to the table as a leader. 12:02 Tom Floyd So really understanding the importance of what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are, and what your personal style or take is going to be on a leader. 12:10 Ginny O’Brien Yeah, definitely. 8 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 8 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  9. 9. Time Speaker Transcript 12:11 Tom Floyd Interesting. Well I'm definitely interested to get everyone else's thoughts on this as well. I do want to go ahead and go on a pause since we're getting ready to go to our first commercial. Stay tuned everyone. 15:02 Tom Floyd For those of you just joining us, today's topic focuses on executive skills and executive presence. Our guest's today will be talking a little bit more about the importance of things like being authentic in the leadership role, and some of the other factors that influence a leader's success in the workforce today. And Ginny, I wanted to come back to a point that you made and you had mentioned in one of your books that there was five traits that were particularly important for new leaders and managers. And we talked about authenticity as one of those traits. Now what were the other four? 15:42 Ginny O’Brien Yep. The second one is vision and strategic thinking. So that goes along with your DDI survey. The third one is emotional intelligence. The fourth is assertive communication skills. And the fifth is the ability to build relationships. And of course having emotional intelligence and having assertive communication skills enables you to build relationships. So they're all very closely linked together. 16:04 Tom Floyd Well it's interesting you bring up communications skills since that was something that the DDI study had mentioned as well, because historically when they looked back several years, that that skill had come up with some of their other studies as well. Any thoughts on that? What was your reaction to some of their data around that? 9 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 9 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  10. 10. Time Speaker Transcript 16:26 Ginny O’Brien Yeah, I don't know how you could possibly take communication out of the picture. Because without that ability to communicate, you don't have the ability to mobilize a team, because it's communication skills that really enable you to motivate people, to inspire people, to get people square about what your vision is and what your strategy is, and what your goals and objectives are, it's your ability to give people feedback about their performance. So I just think of communication as absolutely essential, which is why I've got it in one of my five. I just don't think you can take that away. That's one of the things about the Harvard Business Review keys that you mentioned as not having a universal trait that I have a question mark around, because I do think communication is a universal trait that people need. And I think even about authenticity, there's a universal trait of self-awareness. You actually need to be self-aware in order to know whether you're living up to your own authentic self or not. So I think there are some universal traits and communication is definitely one of them. 17:28 Tom Floyd Well and it's funny, for me it seems like a lot of; I won't say a lot, but that it's difficult for people to talk about self realization and kind of turn that lens inward. I know for me personally before I started doing this show, I didn't necessarily think of myself as some of the ways a year later that I think of myself now. My big proponent exactly from the Insight On Coaching show of the enneagram. And that gave me a context to kind of view myself and it helped me kind of point inward more. And so I find that my reaction more and more to things is less, why are people doing that, why that happening, and more well why is am I feeling that way, and what does that mean to me. 18:13 Ginny O’Brien Yeah, exactly. And I think that's one of the aspects of working with a coach, that one of the first things the coach will be doing with you is helping you to look into yourself more, to gain more self awareness. And you used an enneagram as a tool, but there's numbers of tools out there that coaches, and people, and leadership development arenas used to help people really have a more complete understanding of themselves and kind of guide them through that process of looking inwardly. 10 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 10 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  11. 11. Time Speaker Transcript 18:39 Tom Floyd Now what was your reaction to; and I believe it was from the DDI study as well, when they talked about the importance of bringing in the numbers? Is that something, when you work with executives or managers that you see as well? 18:54 Ginny O’Brien Well it was interesting when I first read that, I immediately disagreed with it in some ways, and yet I know that actually that is part of what a leader is about is to help people achieve a goal. So, leadership is about goals and it's about results, and I think some companies focus more on the bottom-line then other companies. But the fact of the matter is if in my model of leadership I want to talk about three domains. One is the business domain. If you don't get the business done right, you can be the best people person in the world, but if you actually can't bring in the results, you are not going to be looked at with respect and be able to actually bring the organization and all the people in the organization forward with you. So I think it's critical. 19:43 Tom Floyd Got it. And when you think about bringing in the numbers when you see managers, could be new managers in the role, or existing managers, or executives and you see them kind of struggling against that skill. What does that tend to mean for them, and as coach, how are you able to help them a little bit with that? 20:04 Ginny O’Brien Well this is actually where everything is connected. Because if you're not bringing in the numbers, right, if you're not getting the results that you need. So first of all you would look at the external marketplace, look at the challenges and the barriers that are around you, both externally and internally. But then from that you have to go to looking at what are we doing, what's happening with the people, how am I managing the people. If your people don't achieve their goals, right, as a leader you're the person who's ultimately accountable. So how come your people aren't achieving their goals, what are you doing or not doing-- 11 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 11 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  12. 12. Time Speaker Transcript 20:36 Tom Floyd Got it. I'm going to go ahead and put you on pause for a second. I'm hearing the music for our next break so let's go ahead and go on pause. Stay tuned everyone. More on executive presence and skills when we get back. 24:01 Tom Floyd For those of you just joining us today, today’s show focuses on some of the skills in today's workforce that we're seeing executives need in their roles, and also on executive presence and the importance of that as well. Now, John, I wanted to come back to one of the points that Ginny and I were discussing before our last break. And it was related to the Harvard Business article in terms of the importance of being authentic as a leader. What were some of your thoughts around that? Or another way of asking that is have you seen that there is a significant importance to being authentic in your role as you grow within an organization? 24:46 John Boisvert Well, I guess when we talk about, if we compare authenticity and combine that with executive presence, I think it's challenging for any individual to really be truly present and have the kind of presence that other executives and other people that they're dealing with in business, if they're not coming from some sense of a place of authenticity. 25:11 Tom Floyd Karen, anything that you would add? 25:14 Karen Radke Well, I just feel like that leaders that have people want to follow them are those that are willing to be transparent and vulnerable. To tell on themselves in front of people. It just makes us feel more comfortable and connected to them. I mean, people are really searching I think, for something, a real connection with people. And their leaders, because there's this lack of trust now that's been formulated in leadership. And that just kind of bridges the gap when people are willing to be that real and vulnerable. 12 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 12 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  13. 13. Time Speaker Transcript 25:52 Tom Floyd Now that was another interesting study that I'd actually seen, is that people are starting to distrust leaders more and more. And I thought that was interesting, I mean it made sense when you think about some of the things that we've seen on the news and things like that in the past several years. Particularly with some of the key leaders from a variety of companies that they've kind of taken a fall. Do you think that that correlates a little bit with that? 26:18 Karen Radke Well, to me one of the things that people look for in leaders is integrity. I mean, you have to have integrity as sort of the price of admission for being a leader. So if integrity is eroded and damaged, well people can't trust you. I mean you don't have a lot to work with and it's hard to come back from that place. So it feels like if someone is being real and willing to say things that not everyone would and be authentic and tell you the truth even when it's not good news. That's the kind of things—people can trust that and they're looking for someone they can trust. 26:55 Tom Floyd Got it. And, Bob, I want to go ahead and loop you in on the conversation as well. When we talk about the importance of being authentic as a leader, what are some of your thoughts on that? 13 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 13 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  14. 14. Time Speaker Transcript 27:06 Bob Dickman Well, being authentic, I really have to resonate with what Karen was saying, is that there is a transparency and there's a level of vulnerability, which some leaders have difficulty moving towards. That in fact by really stating what's tough and what's difficult for them and for their constituents, and by articulating that, in that process the very thing that many of us would fear by going right into that tough spot, they tell a very authentic story about themselves. Instead of saying look, I'm the best, I'm the greatest, we're going to make it, dah, dah, dah. They go the other way and they say look, let me say why this is going to be tough, or why I think this is a tough choice for us, and this is why we should go there anyway. And then what are your feelings about that? What does that bring up for you? What are your thoughts? In that process then, they're telling an authentic story and they're opening the door for their people to reciprocate with real authentic stories. 28:19 Tom Floyd And that's one thing that you and I had discussed a few weeks ago as well, was the importance of storytelling. And that's basically what you're saying here, correct? In terms of helping a leader be authentic that the importance of really developing a story, whether it's a personal story about themselves that they can share or a story about why what's taking place is taking place, to kind of give something to grasp on to. 28:48 Bob Dickman Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. The whole process of being congruent, being really connected between ones authentic story and the story that one is telling, people get a sense of that and they can walk into a room and they really get a sense of those leaders that what they are doing and what they are saying is connected. And they also get a sense when there's a disconnect around that very, very quickly. And what Karen said, trust is really the oil of business. And when you lose that trust, then all you have is metal on metal and the machine breaks down, the system breaks down. 14 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 14 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  15. 15. Time Speaker Transcript 29:31 Tom Floyd That machine can keep pumping but there's nothing there to pump, there's a problem. 29:35 Bob Dickman Yeah, yeah. Or it becomes toxic. 29:37 Tom Floyd Exactly. Now what are everyone else's thoughts on some of the things that Bob's saying around storytelling? For example, John or Karen, any thoughts there? 29:48 Karen Radke It reminds me of a book, an old book called Managing By Storying Around. And it has, it's an effective tool for leaders to be able to teach the lessons that they want to and bring out the best in people in the organization by way of sharing examples of real people who have worked there. So they think about who the profile of a hero is in your company, or organization, and people who don't really make it over long term, what are those kinds of stories that can help illustrate what you're looking for. It's one of the really great skills of a leader to be able to tell those stories that resonate to people. 30:30 Tom Floyd John, anything that you would add? 30:33 John Boisvert Stories are a powerful thing. Anytime you can tell a story, I know that this happened at a certain organization, with this individual, this is what happened to me, and there are highs and lows, and it comes from the heart, and it comes from some excitement, and some fear, it's palpable, people can feel that, it has a huge impact on them. And in addition to stories, I think it's more then that. There's how you show up as a leader, there's a sense of authenticity. But there's also the flip side of it, which is what the organization is, what is the individual, or what is the team that this executive is talking to, and what they need. 15 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 15 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  16. 16. Time Speaker Transcript 31:11 Tom Floyd So it's also tailoring the story based on your audience? 31:13 John Boisvert Very much so. It needs to connect with them not only physiologically I guess connects because we're being so real when we're telling an authentic story, but also that it meets their needs, yes. 31:25 Tom Floyd Now in terms of this story telling ability that we're talking about. Are all of you finding that of the executives and managers out there, that a lot of them naturally have this ability, or is that something that as a coach is one of the things that you partner with them on or kind of help them get their arms around? Ginny, anything come from you there? 31:48 Ginny O’Brien I think some people have more of a natural ability to tell a story then another person does. I think some people are just innately better storytellers. But I think also storytelling is something that can be learned. So it's definitely connected with coaching in terms of helping, actually just partnering with people to help them get their story out there, for them to get clear of what they think their own story is. It goes back to that self awareness and going inside and discovering what they're about, and then be able to translate that in a way where you can develop the communication skills so that you can share that story with other people in a way that people will listen to you and it will engage people. 16 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 16 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  17. 17. Time Speaker Transcript 32:27 Tom Floyd Well and it's interesting that the concept of storytelling comes up as well, at the start of the beginning of the show today, one of the things that my two coaches have talked with me about several times. Jennifer Corbin and Mark Mooney are the importance of being authentic. And my exercise for my last coaching session with Mark last month was to write my personal story of what that means. And that was powerful. At first I kind of resisted it, just totally talking from a human being perspective, I thought writing a story, I'm not sure I can do this. And as I started doing it though, it kind of flowed naturally. It helped put things in perspective for me definitely. Bob, when you've been working with folks do this as well, do you find that storytelling is something that you feel can be taught as well if there's folks who aren't necessarily naturally good at that or don't come to the table necessarily with that initially? 33:20 Bob Dickman Well I have a couple thoughts about that. One is that, clients come to me and say they're not good storytellers. And I say yeah, but I bet you were pretty good when you were eight. In other words, that innately, human beings are good storytellers, it's something that's actually hardwired in our neurology and our psychology. And we've unlearned it sometimes; we think it's not appropriate. And of course the right story at the right time is extremely appropriate. But it's also very difficult to do. Just like we have muscles. We have an innate storytelling ability like we have muscles, but a few of us become Olympic runners. 34:04 Bob Dickman So if you want to really get proficient at it, you have to practice. And just like if you wanted to improve at any sport. So the thing that also comes to mind is something that Howard Gardner at Harvard said. He has a wonderful book called Leader Mind. And in it he really profiles a number of world leaders, and the one thing that he finds in common about all these leaders, and there was only one common thing, which was that all the great leaders were great storytellers. I hear a phone ringing. 17 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 17 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  18. 18. Time Speaker Transcript 34:42 Tom Floyd Yeah, I'm not sure, that might just be on the background. Where we're rolling this. What's your reaction, and I pose this question to everybody, when you hear clients, or you hear companies, or you see it in an article, or something like that when they're talking about the skills that a leader needs to be successful, and we purposely tried to even embed that in the description of our show, because it's something that people just like, oh, what skills you need to be a great leader. It was interesting with the DDI study to see kind of how they evolved. From 2003, for example, they were talking about the importance of decision-making and communication and adaptability of skills the leaders needed. 35:27 Tom Floyd And how they kind of took a different approach on that, when they started doing more of a focus on what does it mean to be respected as leader in your organization. So if you have somebody sit down with you as a coach that said, you know what, I'm trying to grow good leaders for my company and from your experience what skills do you coach on, what skills make a good leader, what's your reaction to that? How would you handle that? Karen, let's start with you. 35:51 Karen Radke This is something I'm really passionate about, Tom, because it feels like people always want to start with the skill or what's obvious on the surface. And to me, the behaviors, you have to back up from the behaviors because something's driving those behaviors to either have them or not have them. So the place I begin with leaders is looking at who their being or the place they want to come from, like the stance they want to take. And that has more to do with what are their values and commitments, because then what that will do is shape the kind of skills you want to hone. It will make you have a reason to change your behavior because it's coming form someplace more substantive then just oh, I should learn these because then I'd be a better leader. But rather, this sits with my value system, or I'm committed to being this kind of like a real influential leader making an impact on my organization. 36:49 Tom Floyd So if being adaptable for example as a skill was important to someone. Just important because of whom they are that in that case, maybe focusing on that might be okay? 18 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 18 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  19. 19. Time Speaker Transcript 36:58 Karen Radke Yeah, exactly. And then there's some practices that you can do, but once you figure out what are those skills that light you up, that are not something you're just trying to be like fixing about yourself. 37:10 Tom Floyd Right. 37:11 Karen Radke You're really committed to that gives you—that'll lead you somewhere. And that you're doing it in service of something. And then you can do some practices that will help elevate adaptability like for instance; I took a second city improvisation for non-actors classes. 37:25 Tom Floyd Oh, that's fun. 37:26 Karen Radke Because I wanted to laugh and I wanted to learn how to think on my feet better. And that started getting me to be more adaptable in working with teams and other people. 37:35 Tom Floyd Got it. John, what would you add around that? 37:40 John Boisvert I think that's a fabulous starting place that Karen mentioned in terms of who they are, who they are being. And we all need to come from that, I think that place to find out who we are and how we're going to be effective. In addition, I think there are some specific skills, you could call them skills, you could call them principals in terms of leadership. 19 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 19 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  20. 20. Time Speaker Transcript 38:03 John Boisvert And one of them is being able to be visionary, or to set strategy, or to get the people around them to do that and to come with a sense of strength around who are we, who am I, who are we, what are we here for, what are we trying to accomplish. There's an influential component in terms of rallying the troops and having them be successful. There's an aligning of is the organization aligned, are the processes aligned, are the people aligned, are all our stakeholders aligned. There's an aspect of being a coach. Am I growing other leaders around me? Am I growing my team and my staff? Am I supporting them in having them be the best that they can be? Am I open and listening? 38:47 Tom Floyd So basically if I had to put the bottom line on top, it's really that skills might be one part of the equation but that's not everything you need to focus on to be an effective leader? 38:58 John Boisvert Yes, that is one way to say it. And yet I think there are some specifics skills that do make a big difference and that people are looking for. 39:06 Tom Floyd Hmm, okay. Well in the last part of our show here, I do want to make sure we spend some time talking about executive presence. Now executive presence is definitely an interesting topic. It's one that can be approached from so many different perspectives, it's actually a topic that we had discussed on season two of the show, we had some folks from Strossi Institute on the show. And honestly they had inspired me so much just personally that that's why I elected to have Mark as one of my coaches as well. Because I realized that you know what, executive presence isn't necessarily something that I would've thought and actually focused on for myself. But gosh, the result that I've seen personally from it has just been amazing. So, first question that I would ask, and John let's go ahead and continue with you. When you think of the term executive presence, what does that term mean to you? 20 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 20 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  21. 21. Time Speaker Transcript 39:58 John Boisvert Well the shortest definition that I would give for that is are you being seen, and are you being perceived as adding value? 40:07 Tom Floyd Okay. Ginny, anything you would add? 40:11 Ginny O’Brien Actually that I think added together make up presence. One of them is actually how you physically appear. So it is your attire, it is your body language. Another component is actually how articulate you are in terms of how you communicate with people and how you energize people. So the other component is actually your energy, which is that aura, that charisma about you. Your ability to have positive energy that creates a presence around you. Some kind of energetic presence that shows up, it's almost invisible but it's there surrounding you. And then it gets manifested by the way you look, by the way you interact, by the way you hold yourself, by the way you communicate with other people and engage with them. 40:52 Tom Floyd So it's almost like that electricity that you feel sometimes. When someone walks in the room, you're like, I'm not sure why I'm so drawn to you, but I am. 40:59 Ginny O’Brien Yeah. 41:00 Tom Floyd Okay. Bob and Karen, anything that you would add there? 41:03 Bob Dickman Yeah. If I could jump in, it's breath. It's are you breathing, where are you breathing from. 21 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 21 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  22. 22. Time Speaker Transcript 41:10 Tom Floyd I love that you said that. Suzanne Sieman, previous guest we had when we did a show on coaching long distance, I was absolutely astounded at how much she could do with her breath. And some of the things that she was showing us on air are how you can speak from a different place within your body, and things like that. 41:25 Bob Dickman Yeah. 41:27 Tom Floyd So it's interesting that you bring that up as well. 41:30 Bob Dickman It's the one thing that we all are doing, or if we're not we're really in deep trouble. And— 41:37 Tom Floyd That's bad, and that's bad. 41:38 Bob Dickman We're rarely aware of it. And so how do we—what is presence? Presence means being rooted first in awareness in our own bodies. And that awareness starts in breath. And that's at least the kind of work that I do with my clients. It tends to be physical, physically rooted. And then from there it can move out to seeing how present I am in relationship to others. And if I'm not present in relationship to myself, then the rest is bogus. 42:09 Tom Floyd Got it. Karen, any thoughts? 22 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 22 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  23. 23. Time Speaker Transcript 42:13 Karen Radke Well it's great what Bob was saying. The physical can sometimes help you get there if you don't feel like you're a good storyteller as we were talking about earlier, or that you were missing something regarding executive presence, you can kind of fake it until you make it with your stance, your physicality and how you use that, and where you place your energy. Four executives knowing where to place their energy and how to actually help influence where other people are placing their energy and paying attention, so it's this energy exchange, but the physicality piece can really start getting you into the body, like that mindset—the body and the mindset of an executive. 42:56 Tom Floyd Now, kind of along that same note. When you hear the term executive presence and the term being present, do they relate to you? Is there a correlation between being present, for instance you have to actually be present and be there in the moment, and executive present, what's the relationship there from your perspective? 43:13 Karen Radke Well I think executive presence, it has you have to breathe and there's breath with executive presence. It doesn't just have this one component. Being present is a component of executive presence, but I just feel like it, when people defined it earlier makes sense to me. It has some follow ability to it. You want to follow a person, you feel like you have confidence and trust in them going back to our earlier conversation. It makes, people who have executive presence, there's something that they're doing that makes you say, oh, I can get behind that. 43:50 Tom Floyd And that's kind of the perfect kind of setting the stage for the next question I'd like to ask. And that's what the relationship between being authentic and having presence is? John, what are your thoughts? 44:05 John Boisvert The relationship being authentic and having presence. 23 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 23 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  24. 24. Time Speaker Transcript 44:08 Tom Floyd Yes. 44:11 John Boisvert I think what Bob and Karen are saying is that it's sort of the foundation. The authenticity, the breathing, the heaviness, a sense of being present is what gives I think, us the strength and the clarity to do what we need to do and be what who we need to be. Executive presence and I think there are all different types of executive presence depending upon who it is and what is needed in the moment. But some of the things I would list are, is there can you find strength and can you find power. Are you able to be resilient, can you smile in the face of adversity, can you be clear and to the point, can you be confident and certain in your abilities, can you recover when things go awry. And depending upon what the situation is, we would want to be able to access all of that or any one or more of those, and be able to still come across as I'm strong and present, I'm here, I'm here to add value, and that comes across very clear. And that person could be extremely charismatic, or they could be much more subtle and not so energetic in that way. 45:21 Tom Floyd Okay, got it. 45:23 Karen Radke John, could I jump in on something you just said? 45:25 John Boisvert Sure. 24 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 24 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  25. 25. Time Speaker Transcript 45:26 Karen Radke It feels like some of these pieces that you're speaking about regarding executive presence and what people, what other leaders are looking for, and what followers are looking for. A lot of times I'm finding that women end up having, needing this coaching in executive presence more then men. I coach a lot of people on the topic of executive presence. And it seems like there's more women who end up with that kind of feedback that they need to be more confident, able to handle feedback, roll with the punches, some of the things you were, speak persuasively and more powerfully. Those kind of things, sometimes if you end up showing a little bit more of the feminine style, in some corporations and organizations, that's not really, that doesn't work, or that it's viewed as you're less influential or impact with that approach. 46:20 Tom Floyd Is anyone else seeing that in terms from a gender perspective, that that plays a role in presence as well? 46:28 Ginny O’Brien This is Ginny, and I would say yes, it does. I think if you have an organization that coming from an already defined aspect of what they think, they've already defined what they think presence is, and it has a lot of macho qualities to it. If that's the way they perceive presence to be, and then you have women who are trying to duplicate—this goes back to my point earlier about authenticity, then it can work to a disadvantage around women. So that's why I think it's so critical for organizations to understand the importance of being authentic and bringing who you are to your leadership and your own level of confidence, and your own level of understanding of yourself and your self awareness to the organization. And then you will show up with the kind of presence you need. 47:19 Tom Floyd And as a coach, in terms of presence of showing up or working with someone to help them have more presence or have that really show up. How would you work with someone, regardless if they were male or female to become more present? Bob? 25 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 25 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  26. 26. Time Speaker Transcript 47:39 Bob Dickman It depends obviously on the client, what's going on. I'd make a kind of a quick survey, and I'm seeing when someone's in front of me it's how are they inhabiting their bodies, are they comfortable with their emotions, and is there congruence between their actions and their thoughts. So those are the kinds of things that are going on with me as I begin to dialogue and have conversations with potential clients and clients. And seeing where they're strong, and where we can build on their capacity. But certainly presence is the one theme that runs through all of the work that I do. And whenever there is a fragmentation and because of emotional or mental or physical reasons, and there's a split between the body and the emotions and the mind. Then there is a real problem in terms of that leader being able to be authentic and be present. 48:51 Tom Floyd You know there's an interesting—we've talked about this analogy a few times on the show in the past, it's one that had came up in my enneagram training when I was in that. But someone said that they were so in their mind and it was from an enneagram perspective but they literally felt like a head on a stick. 49:07 Bob Dickman Yeah. 49:08 Tom Floyd And that has to be with presence, well they thought yeah, it's totally completely being in your head, not being in touch with what's going on below your neck. 49:16 Bob Dickman And this is something that is often encouraged under the term multi tasking, which is that we're so distracted from so many different perspectives that we think that by doing a lot of stuff, somehow we're more effective. And in fact that often is not the case. That often multi tasking is a way of robbing us from being present, and from really having a moment of reflection where we're able to step back and say well why am I doing that. 49:44 Tom Floyd Yep. 26 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 26 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript
  27. 27. Time Speaker Transcript 49:44 Bob Dickman What's the big picture here? And that unfortunately doesn't occur a great deal in the organizations that I'm working in. 49:53 Tom Floyd That's kind of like the question you're asking yourself is a simple question and one we don't think of is hello, am I here, where am I. 50:00 Bob Dickman Yes. 50:01 Tom Floyd That's one thing that Mark does when he works with me is—and I was taken aback by it our first few sessions but he would stop and say, every session we begin with, somewhere are you— 50:09 Bob Dickman Yeah. 50:10 Tom Floyd --right now. And I gave him a physical answer. And he's like, no, where are you. Where are you right now on the inside, in your body, in the room, etc.? So I couldn't agree with you more. Well I definitely want to say a huge thank you to the four of you for the show today. I think we covered a lot of great ground. And as always, a huge thank you for our listeners as well. For more information about our show you can look us up on the Voice America Business Channel, you can visit our website at, and you can feel free to drop me an email at as well. And don't forget you can also download our show through Apple Itunes, for you ipod fans. Just open up Itunes, go to the music store, click podcasts, and enter Insight On Coaching. Thanks, everyone. We'll see you next week. 27 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 27 Cultivating Executive Skills and Presence Transcript