When we coach people we seek for nothing less than transformation – in their confidence in how they tell and live their stories. We are looking to unlock the story-telling hero within. Flo is not easy to impress. As soon as you meet her you can see her intelligence oozing out of her – emotional and intellectual, which means she spots a fake. My job is to be the opposite of fake and to unpeel the masks we put on when we present our stories. So when Flo and a group of graduates form Telefonica were thrown into a three-day coaching workshop with me in a hotel outside of Madrid that vaguely resembled the hotel from The Shining, I knew my work was cut out for me. I had to convince her within the first minute that I was worth investing her emotional energies in. I had to show her what level she was at and where I wanted to take her to.
Being a woman in the world of business is like playing a game where the rules are constantly changing, unless you establish your own. Flo came with a strong presentation style, but her strength was in danger of being mis-perceived as dismissive and unreachable. I wanted Flo to be able to reveal within the the first 30 seconds of her meeting anyone her flair, passion for work and excellence and care for others. That meant teaching soft skills, coaching her to get to the story as soon as possible and releasing the joyful and joy-filled voice that Flo had lurking underneath. This is what Flo had to say after our time together.
‘Unsure of what to expect from such a workshop, I soon realised the immense value of what Amplify are doing. Stewart's energy and enthusiasm rubbed off on everyone taking part in the sessions. His feedback on my personal presentation style will be extremely valuable to me going forwards into my career. I learnt a lot about soft skills, presenting, body language, voice and attitude and I can honestly say that I now think about all of these factors very differently since the course.’
Where is Flo today? She recently became CMO of CARTO, a fast-growing scale-up based out of Spain. I am not surprised to read this as when you teach someone to tell their authentic story, it releases confidence and people can see you for who you really are. Carto have made the best decision in promoting her to a role where she will have influence on many many people to see Carto and its clients thrive. I am truly proud to have coached this Story-telling hero at the beginning of her journey!
What does it look like when you’re somewhere near the top end of the business food chain – when you find yourself in board meetings where leaders’ time and attention is precious and the pressure to tell a story well really matters?Read MOre
Derrick A Parsons is a presence in the room – six feet tall (at least), larger than life – and when I met him at the Google for Startups: Black Founder Exchange in North Carolina I was deeply impressed.Read MOre