Your eyes really are the gateway to your soul. And it’s one of the first things to go when we’re under pressure. Here’s a top tip that will give you the warm authority leaders need even when the going gets tough. Click here to watch.
I hope it’s useful. Let us know how you get on. If you’d like us to coach you or your team to increase your presence, gravitas or warm authority do give us a ring. It would be a pleasure to work with you on this.
Have you tried the ‘empty chair technique’? It’s a great way to find a new perspective and new ways to solve a problem. Particularly if you’ve tried other ideas and the other person is still driving you bonkers.
Let’s say you have a customer or a client who is being uncooperative or even rude to you or your team. Alternatively, you might need to sell your 2018 programme and budget to your boss but worry about their objections.
The idea behind the ‘empty chair’ technique, which originates from Fritz Perls of the Gestalt school, is that physically altering your point of view and seeing things from a different angle can bring useful insights. This insight helps you change your behaviour to achieve a better outcome.
I really enjoy using it in my one to one coaching. You can also use it with a colleague taking notes or even on your own.
- Set up two empty chairs
- Put yourself in one of the chairs and imagine that the empty chair is occupied by the other person in the relationship.
- The question is “As x (yourself or the other person), how do you feel about x?
- You describe what you think and feel about the imaginary person in the other chair and or the situation.
- You then change chairs and think about yourself ‘being’ the other person, this time looking at an imagined version of yourself. Ask the same question.
What’s so interesting is that often we have a very good understanding of the other person but the exercises surface knowledge we’ve often ignored. It also releases a great deal of pent up emotion about a relationship which allows you to think more clearly and find new ways of handling the situation.
Please do contact us if you or a colleague would be interested in one to one business coaching. We can talk through what you are looking for and how we work with our clients. Email me at: Karen@kineticfuture.com.
Image of Euro Hockey player Maddie Hinch sourced from Flickr & cropped for use.
Here’s the second in our ‘managing your tell’ vlog series. Very relevant as we are all in planning negotiations at this time of year. With solutions to one of the most common ‘tells’ we coach. Click here to watch.
Let us know how you get on.
To receive high quality coaching on HOW to develop your own executive presence and gravitas for your own situation do give us a ring. We develop practical programmes to suit you.
Email email@example.com or call us on +44 (0) 1628 621312.
Watch part 1 of this vlog series here.
Q: I am frustrated. I have someone experienced on my team who I know has the potential to develop and contribute a great deal more. But despite all my best efforts it’s just not happening. It’s not a performance management issue but I know they are giving me only ‘just enough’. And this year I need everyone firing on all cylinders. I’m looking for new ideas!
A: A good first step is to think about whether it’s a “can’t cook”, “won’t cook” or “used to cook well but doesn’t now” situation. And consider whether it’s a problem of knowledge, attitude or skills. Does that narrow it down?
However, I sense that you may need to go back to foundations here. It sounds like your person is not currently engaged in their job. By that I mean they are not really paying attention, passionate about it or ready to go the extra mile. So you can try to build their knowledge and skills but without a different mindset nothing much is going to happen. But you can use some practical nudge strategies from brain science to help.
Here are 3 big ways of building brain engagement. Explore if any of these could work for you.
- Coherence. Is the work environment coherent? – How could you make what’s happening or needed clearer, more consistent and easy to understand? Brains engage when there aren’t conflicting messages.
- Contribution. Knowing you are contributing gives your brain a big dopamine hit, a great reward. So consider how you enable them to contribute, how you appreciate them properly, what suits their personality type and critically how you systematise how you talk to them so it happens regularly. Remember you’re looking to build on any bright spot of behaviour. It’s much easier to get them going by doing more of something they do already and then flexing.
- Interpersonal Connection. We are wired for human connection, even if we are introverts. It’s how early humans survived and good connections boost the oxytocin in our brains, which reduces our stress. Another reward. This is a delicate one because again you need to work out how this individual likes to connect to others. But ask yourself, how can I build trust, how should the contact levels be, how can I increase inclusiveness or build a sense of tribe and how could I encourage collaboration in different ways?
Only you know the practical things that will work for you. Let us know how you get on.
If you would like coaching to tackle this type of challenge or a problem you think stems from a lack of team engagement, do give us a call. We develop practical programmes to suit you.
You’ve communicated the vision, you’ve got a great plan but your team or your management is just not getting it. And they are certainly not moving to action.
And it’s no good just shouting louder like the cartoon Brit abroad if you want action.
I’m going to start with a dirty word. For some reason I can’t fathom, the idea that you are ‘selling’ when you communicate is a huge switch off. Yet life is a pitch – call it what you like. So dive in and learn a great deal from strategic sales skills.
At the very heart of ‘selling’ is the idea of ‘get over yourself, it’s all about the audience’. It’s all about listening more than you talk and uncovering insights. It’s about understanding and respecting the other person’s needs, desires, fears.
Yet, we all see leaders at all levels in the company battering people with their own agendas and own messages in their own language. Be honest, in our rush and stress we may all be doing this ourselves!
Base your communications 100% on what’s in it for the other person or the audience. What do they want? Where are they coming from? Sure, you need your own objective in mind, but this is the only way you’ll have a hope of igniting others around purpose.
KineticFuture solves problems by offering advanced communications coaching for: leaders battling change, strategic sales people dealing with scepticism and technical people talking to non technical audiences. Do talk to us about your own challenges by emailing Karen@kineticfuture.com.
Warmth & Authenticity
Q: I’m very comfortable talking to other senior leaders. But my colleagues tell me I lack warmth and emotional connection with less senior people. How do I do this in a genuine way that still maintains the gravitas and presence of a leader?
A: From what you say in the rest of your note you seem to have warmth and connection in your dealings with familiar senior colleagues or with people who share your hobbies. What you’re going to do here is get back to being your authentic self. And to build on what works for you already. The right level of gravitas will come through naturally.
- Get real. It may be useful to ask yourself “what am I assuming that stops me from connecting well with less senior colleagues?” And “do I have evidence for this view/fact?” Often seeing something written down and challenged can start to loosen up your approach.
- Get over yourself. Go into situations with less senior people with genuine curiosity. Ask their views. Listen. Engineer a different communications forum that’s more relaxed and personal. Use your imagination!!
- Build on what’s natural to you. Think of a situation outside work where you are your most relaxed self. With the family? At the pub? With your football mates? Practice your next presentation or conversation ‘in the style of’ – talking and listening to one of these groups. It will feel strange. Good. You could even film yourself to see the difference or ask a friend to give you feedback. See what happens.
To receive high quality coaching on HOW to develop your own executive presence and gravitas for your own situation do give us a ring. We develop bespoke courses for individuals or groups of all sexes, ages and cultures.
Double Standards For Women
Q: If a man is assertive and speaks out strongly that seems ok. But if I do the same as a female leader I’m considered aggressive or even emotional. How do I deal with these double standards and have executive presence?
A: Infuriating isn’t it! The EP strategies below have been useful for other senior women and you could add them in to what’s working for you already.
- Be clear why you got the job. Yes you need to flex and grow in a new role but don’t squash the assets that made you successful in the first place. Do you know what they are? Are you clear about your own brand, vision and values? Don’t get lost. Don’t make the mistake of needing to be liked. There are huge advantages of being a senior woman at work. What can you do to achieve results in your own way?
- Can you make an asset of being different? At first, you can go in with a disruption strategy, but normally it’s easier to connect to ‘The Tribe’ by fitting in and biding your time a little to win their confidence and work out the lie of the land. Then, you can dial up the assets that make you different and useful to the business. That might be your culture, your style or different knowledge and perspective.
- Calibrate your reactions. The harsh reality is that in traditional work cultures senior women need to be calmer and more measured in their delivery than men. Do you think you need to dial down your behaviour, choose your moments or just ignore the feedback? Check you have a strong positive physicality. It communicates gravitas and executive presence fast. In particular, work on a lower, more resonant voice – high pitched, light voices can sound like whining and many older men can’t even hear voices on a high frequency. Of course, using wry humour can be a more effective way to diffuse a situation or make your point. Could you mix more of this in?
- Come to the forefront on the tough issues. You can score big on executive presence if you communicate strongly when there’s a big issue that the team are finding difficult to solve. Choose your moment and issue, have all your facts and figures in place to make the case strongly. Be savvy with socialising your recommendation ahead of the big meeting or presentation. And follow up with key players.
To be coached on the HOW of developing your executive presence and gravitas for your own situation do give us a ring. We develop bespoke courses for individuals or groups of all sexes, ages and cultures.
Confidence and grace under fire is one of the top aspects of gravitas, according to research from The Talent Foundation. Today’s question in this series is about being heard. Timing is everything. If you can make a well researched point strongly, particularly in the tough times, you will boost your gravitas and executive presence.
Get in the Game for Gravitas
Q: I get the feeling that other senior leaders are not really listening to what I say when we’re round the table. Yet someone else will make the same point and it’s accepted. Infuriating. It’s worse when I’m with very loud people. How do I change this dynamic?
A: This is about developing your professional presence. It’s hard to know exactly what’s happening here without seeing you in action. But there are three easy things you can try out now and see what works for you. It’s good practice for when you really need to make a key point in the tough times. Do the homework below, practice out loud for 15 minutes and then use one or two of the approaches in an easy meeting and see what happens.
- Work out a clear point of view and call to action that you can deliver succinctly and with conviction. Then practice. If you ramble, repeat yourself or use words like maybe or perhaps you are undermining yourself. A point of view is a 30 second nugget of good thinking that supports the objective. The call to action is your 15 second advice on what should happen next. It’s the point you would make if you only had 45 seconds. It’s useful to start by saying “To be successful… or To achieve x we need to ….”
- Get in the game. This means that before you even speak people need to be aware of your presence. Walk in tall, sit up, lean forward to listen to someone else talking, ask a question, look involved, interested and relaxed. Sit in a power position in the room – in easy line of sight of the key players and avoid being hidden.
- Use an easy vocal strength tip. Before you speak, take an intake of breath or use the current speaker’s name to signal you are about to make a point. Then emphasise the consonant at the beginning of the first word of your sentence and the first word e.g. the W in what. Then decide which are the ‘money words’ in your point – essentially the key words you need to emphasise in the sentence. Underline them in rehearsal. This will slow down your delivery and make it more impactful.
To be coached to develop your executive presence and gravitas for your current situation do give us a ring. We develop bespoke courses for individuals or groups. Find out more here.
Gravitas, according to 62% of leaders surveyed, is what signals to the world you’re made of the right stuff and can be trusted with serious responsibility. I bet you understand it. But can you physically do it under fire in different roles and cultures? That’s what we coach.
In this six-part series, our coaches are going to answer your questions and share some of their top coaching secrets that get results – with exercises that you can practice at home.
We hope you enjoy it. Keep emailing your questions to us! And share the inspirations too.
Vision and Values are Your Core Stability
Q: I have the intellectual horsepower. I can certainly go ‘six questions deep’ in my specialist subject. But in the big senior meetings I tend to sit back and not get involved enough. Then when I do speak, I’m not sure I’m convincing.
A: A friend of mine saw an 18-year-old girl hit by a speeding lorry just outside her house. She decided to campaign to get the speed limit changed. Without any previous experience, she lobbied the local council, made multiple presentations and succeeded.
Your vision and values will give you authentic presence and gravitas in the room. Just as they did for my friend. They are your core stability together with a clear appreciation of your own strengths. Then you can work on a host of practical other elements. But this is what builds authenticity and supports you through the really tough stuff.
- Think of a situation where you are really proud of yourself. Tell a friend the story. Your friend writes down all the strengths they hear and then replays them at the end. Put them in a box to reflect upon
- Make a list of all your core values. Then start to cross the values off your list until you get to 3 which become your ‘red line’ areas. This is hard!
- Ask yourself what your purpose is at work, what is important to you, what drives you.
To learn how to develop your executive presence and gravitas. And ignite others around your purpose, do give us a ring. We develop bespoke courses for individuals or groups. Find out more here.
This week I thought I’d share with you this inspirational, light-hearted look at milliennials – Simon Sinek’s 2 minute video with amazing animation by Jocie Juritz. It’s fun and insightful. Take a quick break and watch it here.
Simon is absolutely right – we have to:
- Build their confidence
- Teach them patience
- Help them learn social skills and coping mechanisms
For more tips on how to do this, have a look at last week’s blog post ‘Millennial Magic’ or book a course with us.
If you or your team would like to learn practical approaches to ignite millennials around your purpose, do give us a ring. We develop bespoke coaching and training programmes around your own situation.