Help an executive learn to be who she truly is
A leader was soon to retire. He wanted a colleague to be able to have any job in the company she wanted, but, good as her work was, no one knew who she really was or what she stood for. And, he was right. When she came to my office she work unaccented beige from head to toe. When she delivered her presentation I couldn’t remember a word she’d said.
Uncover what’s keeping her from revealing who she is and what she believes in the context of presentation skills. First, we identified some key stories which had taught her to keep her private life hers. When she first interviewed for the job some twenty years ago, the person interviewing her had asked if there was anything else he should know about her. She told him she was a National Baton Twirling Champion. When he escorted her to the door and pointed her to her next evaluator, he shouted across a crowded room that his next appointment was on her way, that she was “a real looker, and twirls the baton too!”
Our client was mortified. Though she got the job, and proved herself over and over again in the succeeding years, she never revealed a personal fact or opinion again. I asked her what it takes to become a national champion. After we listed all the qualities it takes to achieve a national title: competitiveness, discipline, coordination, focus, etc., I asked her another question: “Is that man still working for the company?” Her answer was “no!”
I also uncovered the fact that she loved the geneology of horses but had never told anyone because she thought people would think she gambles. She’d never been to a track in her life!
We also focused on recognizing difficult types of questioners and how to respond to them.
From that point on, her clothing, her presence and her presentations blossomed. Six months ago, after more than thirty years with the company, and substantial promotions, she called to tell me that the work we did together was the most valuable and profound of her life.