Elevate Your Executive Presence with a Personal Brand

by Sonya Shelton

Do you know what your personal brand is? Like it or not, you have one. The bigger question is: Did you create it? Or did you let other people’s perceptions create it for you?

At ELC, we have this conversation with many of our executive coaching clients. You can anchor the root of your executive presence in your personal brand to accelerate your leadership influence and results.

Some of our clients get the importance of a personal brand right away, and others find it uncomfortable. If personal branding feels uncomfortable to you, it might be because you have a misconception about what it is.

What is a personal brand?

Frank McKinney, author of Aspire, calls personal branding “the art of amplifying your essence.”

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is widely quoted as saying, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

Bottom line – your personal brand is your reputation, how you’re perceived.

Most people who are uncomfortable with the concept of personal branding think of it as manufactured – trying to be someone they’re not – but it’s quite the opposite.

You can intentionally create your personal brand based on your authentic essence, or you can let others do it for you. And sometimes, when you let others do it for you, they get it all wrong.

Your personal brand should focus on what makes you YOU. We call it your “OS” – Your Operating System.

How does your personal brand elevate your executive presence?

When we begin an executive coaching engagement, we often hear that a leader needs more “executive presence” to progress in their career or increase their influence. And the very next question we get is: “What does executive presence mean?”

Many leaders know executive presence when they see it, but they have a hard time explaining what it is in tangible terms. In short, it’s a leadership skill – a set of learned behaviors – that enables others to want to follow you.

Sylvia Ann Hewlett, author of Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success, defines executive presence as how a leader acts (gravitas), speaks (communication), and looks (appearance).

All three of these qualities connect to your personal brand – they’re all about how you’re perceived.

How do you create a personal brand?

If as McKinney says, your personal brand amplifies your essence – How do you find or define your essence?

When it comes to personal branding, like with everything we do at ELC, we start with unleashing your Purpose, which has three key components:

  1. Find your WHY. Why do you do everything you do? We explore and discover your WHY, not just for what you do at work, but for everything you do in your life. This is the core of your personal brand.
  • Find your HOW. Once you know WHY you do what you do, we look at HOW you bring your WHY to life. This is HOW you internally process information.
  • Find your WHAT. Your WHAT is what people can ultimately count on from you. It’s WHAT you bring to the table and WHAT you bring to the world.

When you have your personal brand, you can understand yourself more clearly, focus on what you’re passionate about, communicate better, and inspire others to action.

In other words… you can elevate your executive presence.

If you’d like to discover your personal brand, we can help. We start by discovering your WHY.os – your Personal Operating System of WHY, HOW, and WHAT. Simply contact us to learn more.

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