Executive Presence. What Is It Anyway?

Executive presence is a term that gets used a lot within organizations, yet it can often be difficult to measure.  Why?  Because it is subjective, filled with bias and depends on the context of the organization and the assessor.  Sometimes described as the “it” factor, this quality is commonly used in succession planning discussions, leadership development programs and career development plans as important criteria when considering advancement.

As a coach that prepares leaders and executives for the next level, I use a model that can help them not only develop executive presence, but also build influence at all levels.  It includes three key dimensions.

  1. Impression: How are you being perceived?  Every interaction is an opportunity to influence others positively or negatively.  Leaders recognize the importance of how they come across in meetings, personal interactions and when making decisions.  By increasing your self-awareness and making conscious choices about your actions, you impact how you are perceived by others.


  1. Expression: How are you communicating? This dimension includes the content, approach and appropriateness of your communication.  As your level of influence grows within the organization, so should the strategic focus and clarity of your communication.  In order to resonate with stakeholders at all levels, you must master excellent communication skills.


  1. “Inner-pression”: How are you showing up?  This about your emotional intelligence and relationships with others, or leadership from the inside out. Leaders must bring optimistic energy, authenticity and integrity to the workplace.  Effective leaders understand that how you show up everyday matters.


By focusing on these three areas, leaders can continue building their credibility and impact.  This supports on-going development and creates personal presence as an executive and across all levels of leadership.


If you would like a free personal assessment to develop each of these areas further, drop me an email at  I will send you a copy.      


Dorene MacVey is the owner of ithrive31®, A Coaching and Personal Development Company. Dorene has over 25 years corporate leadership experience with Rockwell Collins (currently Collins Aerospace) and works with executives, leaders and professionals providing one-on-one and group coaching.  She is a Certified Professional Coach and a Master Practitioner of Energy Leadership.  In addition to coaching, ithrive31® offers personal development workshops and speaking engagements. 

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