Leadership Presence

Executive Presence strongly influences other people’s perception of your trustworthiness and intelligence, and is a determining factor in the ability to grow your career and influence others. Executive Presence is essentially your message, your communication to the world. Development of an "inside-out” executive presence is crucial if leaders want to motivate and truly inspire their colleagues, their managers, and their clients.This authentic and connected executive presence—which I also call 'Leadership Presence' is an increasingly big part of what it means to be a leader today, to Influence, Engage, Align, Mobilise  and Inspire people to Act. Thats why I call it "Leadership Presence".

"We know it when we feel it, and we know it when we see it, but presence is hard to define. On the other hand, most of us are good at describing the lack of it." Amy Curdy.

Although 'Leadership Presence' is highly intuitive and difficult to pin down, it ultimately boils down to your ability to project mature self-confidence, a sense that you can take control of difficult, unpredictable situations; make tough decisions in a timely way and hold your own with other talented and strong-willed members of the executive team.

Exploring the nuances of Executive and Leadership Presence, levels the playing field for all leaders and team interactions — as it creates a very specific case for what each leader needs to 'BE' to influence and drive results. Organizations thrive with values-driven Leadership Presence, leading from a deep sense of purpose and responsibility to create positive change.


“It is executive presence—and no man or woman attains a top job, lands an extraordinary deal, or develops a significant following without this heady combination of confidence, poise, and authenticity that convinces the rest of us we’re in the presence of someone who’s the real deal.”
--- Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success

The age-old question is whether Leadership presence can be developed? The answer is yes, if you have a baseline of self-confidence and a willingness to deal with the unpredictable situations that go with the territory at the executive level.

Leadership Presence does not mean transforming your fundamental personality. It is about bringing your unique talents and special abilities forward, to the task of leadership. It is about understanding how perceptions of your presence, align with your intentions and impact your leadership. Set a values-based leadership goal, increase your emotional intelligence and situational awareness, be direct with respect, and find strategies to maintain and sustain a stable and grounded presence. By leveraging your strength and perhaps addressing some gaps , you will grow mature leadership skills that serve to enhance your leadership brand. The presence you bring to yourself and your teams can be the greatest gift to yourself and those you lead. 

“A person exhibiting executive presence is someone who, by virtue of the effect he or she has on an audience, exerts influence beyond that conferred by formal authority.” Gavin Dagley.


Leadership Presence is an evolving concept and there is also a lot of ongoing research and study around putting this concept together. My own experience and professional training is in Executive & Leadership  Coaching and previously in areas of Personal Branding, Image Management, Career Growth. I see a lot of relationship between the recent Leadership Presence concept, and what I have been practising since last 10+ years. Based on my own experience, I have developed a simple and practical 4 x 3 model in defining 'Leadership Presence' qualities which I would like to share here – I call it the A.C.E model.


A.C.E. Executive and Leadership Presence model consists of unique interaction of two main dimensions -- Authenticity and Congruency -- which go into creating Leadership Presence for Impact, Influence and Inspiration. As we look at modern leadership through the lens of Executive Presence, we take an holistic approach that addresses -- the 'harder' driving , 'softer' emotional and social components of leadership.


The capacities of Authenticity in our 'holistic' approach, lies in evolving the 4 dimensions of our human-nature -- i.e. Spiritual, Emotional, Intellectual and Physical -- bringing it forward to its potential and capacity, as it applies to Leadership Presence. The capacities:

Spiritual:   Inner-core Capacity that Inspires Excellence

Intellectual   Intellectual Capacity that Executes Vision

Emotional:  Socio-Emotional Capacity that Forges Relationships

Physical:   Socio-Communicative Capacity that Drives Performance

From the above, it is clear – that the ability to produce long-term executive presence has a lot to do with “who we are”, “how we make others feel”, in addition to a "set of behaviours" -– which when combined, send all the right signals.


Congruency, is how the 4A dimensions Relate, Interact, Align and Build upon each other at different levels of Leadership and Executive Presence :

Executive Presence: is about creating the desired ‘impact’ in short-duration communication situations, like meetings, presentations, network events, giving feedback, etc. Step back and think about your leadership presence and if you are thinking, saying, and showing up as you most hope to and creating the impact intended.

Leadership Presence: creates the desired perception in the hearts and minds of your target audience to broaden your sphere of ‘influence.’ It is the overall qualities of mature leadership that speak to authenticity, credibility, connection, empowerment, and shared-vision that makes people compelled to listen, admire and take account of your views.

The Inner Presence: ‘inspires’ people do what you ask of them because they believe in you even more than your words. It is your inner core—the personal traits and values that define you — which come into play as values-in-action and ability to lead with purpose, trust, authenticity, and openness.

While ‘Authenticity’ creates a solid foundation for developing leadership presence, ‘Congruency’ creates movement and interaction to exude ‘Executive and Leadership Presence’ with an intention to Inspire, Influence and/or make an Impact.

"You demonstrate executive presence with communication and embodied behavior that; connects easily with people, paves the path for working together, reads the room, signals empathy, builds trust, and demonstrate decisiveness."

It is in these small changes that make big differences to that X-factor in leadership.

  • Having an Executive Presence is a leadership requirement:

    Be proactive, take control and define what you represent as a leader and how this will shape the manner in which you will serve others. Leadership Presences qualities that build trust, inspire action, forge connections and drive performance support your development as a leader.

  • Facing New and Complex Challenges:

    As leaders face new and complex challenges at work, whatever got you here—that combination of technical skill, business acumen, and drive to succeed—will only take you so far. It's here, in those new challenges like promotions, new roles, as you stand on a bigger stage— that leaders create opportunity for growth and success. The needle for developing leadership presence qualities has moved from 'good to have' to 'must-have' qualities as a leader.

  • 'Softer' Qualities of Leadership matter:

    The ‘softer’ socio-emotional qualities of Leadership Presence are just as important as the ‘harder’ driving ones, when it comes to achieving outcomes. The so-called soft skills, are certainly no easier to demonstrate, but they are equally wired to the bottom line of business.

  • BE the leader you want to be:

    Your behaviour must be congruent with what people know and believe about you and your role in the organization. If there is dissonance, people judge you as ineffective. Their view of these leadership presence qualities is relevant to your success as a leader. Fearlessly approach your leadership development so that you unleashed the power of your unique presence.

  • Improve your mingling quotient

    Learn to handle a variety of social and business situations such as networking events, business meetings and making presentations, etc.. Hold attention of your audience when speaking, be totally present in a conversation or in a meeting, and learn the art of being perceived as being of value to others around you.

ACE Executive & Leadership Presence
Online Small-Group Coaching Program:

Small Coaching Group enrolment for 12 month period. Safe environment created for candid sharing and learning from each other. Hot seat coaching, Client-generated topics, Experiential learning, Break-out rooms and Peer support. Curated media delivery, exercises, mentoring, with quarterly extra ‘Ask me Anything’ live coaching call.

We will work together, as I take you through the coaching process to support your own self-reflection and learning, to discover your inner resources and find new ways to manage the challenges of modern leadership.

Work with us>


'Leadership Presence' Program is available in the PREMIUM category (i.e. 1-to-1 coaching). If you are ready to commit to taking your career to the next level... Schedule a free 40-minutes Strategy Session with us.

Schedule My Strategy Session