The Impact of Leadership Presence: A Case Study


The most powerful skill you can cultivate in leadership is presence.

Presence empowers you with the agility that is needed in this information age. There is no formula for interactions with others, but by facilitating presence in yourself and others, you are able to meet what’s here – and to respond with ability versus react to situations.

Being Present Is the #1 Skill in Effectiveness

Conscious leaders know that being present is the #1 skill in effectiveness. Witnessing a present leader in action is incredibly inspiring. I was able to witness this last week with my client, a senior vice president of a technology company.

The company hired me to coach Mary (whose name has been changed for confidentiality) to raise her profile with the executive leadership team and to expand her strategic ability.

I taught Mary how to recognize when she is present or not present. By learning how to be present, Mary is able to tap into her inner wisdom, as well as her intellect, for what is being called for in the moment. By raising her awareness, she is able to pivot quickly and overcome conditioned patterns that may be producing unproductive or undesired results. When she is present, Mary is able to access creative solutions previously unseen.

I continued to teach Mary how to be present with her emotions and how to use her emotions to her advantage. Each of the five core emotions – anger, sadness, joy, fear, and sexual feelings – have a piece of wisdom that comes with their energy. Rather than bottling this energy up and losing presence, Mary can use this energy to her advantage.

By the time of my next facilitation, Mary was consciously recognizing some of her preferred styles. We all have preferred styles; without consciously recognizing our preferences, we are on autopilot. Our preferred styles may not meet the demands of the moment, however.

For instance, Mary has a preferred kinesthetic/experiential learning style with a secondary preference for visual learning. Therefore, when she is in a room full of auditory learners and there is much talking, she starts to feel angry. She bottles up this energy and loses presence, and then her effectiveness drops.

Results from Coaching and Facilitating About Presence

After just four sessions, Mary has experienced the following results:

  • She is able to notice consciously when she is in the present moment.

  • Presence empowers her to be with what is, and therefore, she can consciously choose to be more strategic in her conversations.

  • Being present allows her to be consciously aware of what is being called for in a situation, act congruently, and be more effective.

  • By being present – instead of following conditioned patterns or her ego’s lead, or both – she is more connected to herself and others.

At the midpoint meeting with her manager and human resources business partner, I witnessed Mary’s manager compliment her on how calm she has been and how satisfied he is with the level of strategy she is expressing at their meetings.

Mary was present with herself at this meeting, and she revealed that although it is a learning edge for her to speak strategically, she is able to recognize when it’s being asked of her and adapt accordingly. She also expressed that she is excited about going to the next level in her leadership.

During the meeting, we discussed what it means to be present, that it’s a necessary skill for leaders (and all human beings). Mary’s manager said, “I am learning something today along with you, Mary.”

This meeting strengthened the trust and connection between the two of them. Now they’re both expanding their leadership abilities while being in a more connected relationship.

How About You?

This is just one of many examples of the power of presence. I continue to be amazed at what I witness with leaders who are awake. The ability and willingness to increase awareness produces simple shifts that make a profound impact.

Are you ready to go to the next level?

If you want to learn more about the “how” of conscious leadership, let’s connect!

This article was originally published on May 24, 2016, and has been updated