Seven Proven Ways Startup Leaders Can Enhance Their Executive Presence

Original artwork by Katie Rhead

I’ve served as an executive coach for startup executives, and the number one request I get from their boss (typically the founder or lead VC) is to help the coachee improve their executive presence. That’s a challenging request because while we’d all like to have a more substantial executive presence, it’s not always clear what that means in actionable terms.

What Is “Executive Presence”? — Let’s start with how I define executive presence: It’s how people feel and talk about you when you’re not in the room. Are they inspired to follow you? Are they confident you can take them to a better place? While some of us have worked with leaders who have a natural ability to do this, I’ve seen all manner of startup leaders work with an executive coach and improve their executive presence. It starts with a personal commitment to focus on fundamental leadership principles they put into daily practice.

How To Enhance Your Executive Presence — Here are seven proven leadership principles startup leaders can deploy to improve their executive presence (ideally working with a coach or colleague as an accountability partner):

1.) Vision: “I Have A Dream” — All of us have an instinctual desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves. One of the outstanding leaders of the 20th century was Martin Luther King, best known for his “I Have A Dream” speech. Leaders such as MLK were gifted in visualizing for their followers the better place they collectively wanted (Read more...)