The Look & Sound of Leadership

By Essential Communications - Tom Henschel

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An ongoing series of Executive Coaching Tips designed to help you be perceived in the workplace the way you want to be perceived.

Episode Date
The Focused Executive

This month’s coaching conversation focuses on a leader who finds herself in a storm of heavy seas. To help her find calm, Tom shares a technique from his past.

You can grab the PDF that Tom mentions in this episode at:

In the archive, this episode is tagged in four categories:
For Women
Managing Yourself
Personal Growth & Self-Development

Related episodes are:
Combating Emotional Hijacks
Conquering Fear
Eliminating Distractions
Choosing Persistence
The Mindful Executive

The archive of Executive Coaching Tips is at:

Subscribe to the HTML version and get transcripts of each month’s episode at:

Be in touch with Tom at:

Thanks, all! See you next month!

"The Look & Sound of Leadership" team

Jul 11, 2019
Fighting Authority

This month’s coaching conversation revolves around a former client’s direct report who is caught up in old wiring which is short-circuiting his effectiveness.

This episode is tagged in six categories. Something of a record!
For Women
Management Skills
Managing Yourself
Perception – How Your Perceive Yourself
Personal Growth & Self-Development

Here are eight, yes, eight related episodes.
Combating Emotional Hijacks
Conquering Fear
Negative Self-Talk
Self-Limiting Beliefs
Self-Awareness & Self-Management
Taming the Wild Child
The Many Parts of You
Unmasking a Stand-In

The archive is at:

Subscribe to the HTML version at:

Be in touch with Tom at:

Thanks for your iTunes reviews!!!

Jun 06, 2019
Ask The Coaches - Readers' Letters

This month’s coaching conversation is between Tom Henschel and Mindy Danna who answer questions from our audience. Tom and Mindy have grown up together professionally. He runs Essential Communications where Mindy is a coach. She also works with the cutting-edge global consulting firm Cultivating Leadership.

During the episode, Mindy mentions two books:
"Being the Boss" by Linda Hill & Kent Lineback
"Thanks for the Feedback" by Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen

Five related episodes are:
Discussing Difficult Behaviors
Giving Powerful Feedback
Handling Defensive Behaviors
Soliciting Feedback
Upward Feedback

In the archive, this episode is tagged in four categories:
Management Skills
Managing Up

The archive is at:

Subscribe to the HTML version at:

Be in touch with Tom at:

Thanks for your reviews and ratings!

May 02, 2019
Inviting Dialogue

This months’ coaching conversation is with a leader who genuinely wants open dialogue with his direct reports but finds he may have been unintentionally limiting his conversations.

In the archive, this episode is tagged in four categories:

Communication Skills

Management Skills

Relationship Building

Social Skills


Six related episodes are:

Building Rapport

Communicating With Clarity

Creating New Behaviors

Facilitating Open Dialogue

Leadership & Listening

Questions as Leadership

The archive is at:


Subscribe to the HTML version at:


Be in touch with Tom at:

Thanks for your iTunes reviews!

Apr 11, 2019
Becoming Expert

This month’s coaching conversation focuses on a leader striving to become “more visible.” She and Tom imagine raising her presence by giving her a way to speak about herself as an expert without feeling like she’s bragging. A challenging needle to thread!

If you want help on this topic, Tom mentioned a resource he strongly recommends
“Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It” by Peggy Klaus.

In the archive, this episode is tagged in four categories:
For Women
Executive Presence
Perception - How You're Perceived

Five related episodes are:
Act “As If”
Acting on the Corporate Stage
Personal Branding
Speaking Your Truth
The Look & Sound of Self-Esteem

The archive is at:

Subscribe to the HTML version at:

Be in touch with Tom at:

Mar 07, 2019
Managing Former Peers


Internal promotions can be mixed blessings. Managing former peers has the potential to upset everyone. This month’s coaching conversation explores ways to handle this live grenade with aplomb.

Two books mentioned during the commentary:
Difficult Conversions by Stone, Patton & Heen
Crucial Conversation by Patterson, et al.

Lots of related episodes mentioned:
Relating to the issue of clarity:
Communicating with Clarity
Creating Clarity
Driving Your Message Home
Sorting & Labeling

Relating to the issue of managing people who are upset:
Combating Emotional Hijacks
Building Emotional Intelligence
Dealing With Emotional Responses

Deep gratitude to those who post reviews. Thanks!

Browse the entire archive at:

Be in touch with us at:

Feb 07, 2019
Executive Presence - Three Pillars

This month’s coaching conversation explores the three pillars of executive presence.

In this episode's commentary, Tom mentions research about Executive Presence conducted by the Center for Talent Innovation. The key findings are available at:

Three episodes grew directly from ideas in that white paper:
Emotional Intelligence
Showing Teeth

The Executive Coaching Tips archive has a filter for "Executive Presence." It's at:

Four additional episodes you might listen to are:
Conquering Fear
Inhabiting Executive Presence
Short Sounds Confident
The Voice of Authority

Browse the entire archive at:

Be in touch with us at:

Jan 10, 2019
Ask The Coaches - Readers’ Letters

This month’s coaching conversation is between Tom Henschel and Mindy Danna who answer questions from our audience. Tom and Mindy have grown up together professionally. He runs Essential Communications where Mindy is a coach. She also works with the cutting-edge global consulting firm Cultivating Leadership.

Tips related to the questions and answers in this episode are:
A Breakdown of Listening

The Executive Impostor

Leadership and Listening

Managing Trauma

Self-Limiting Beliefs

Mindy mentions:
“Being The Boss” by Linda Hill.

Google’s Aristotle Study

Tom mentions:
“What Color is Your Parachute” by Richard Boles

Every episode is available at:

Be in touch with us at:

Dec 13, 2018
The Executive Impostor

This month’s coaching conversation explores that insidious feeling of being an impostor. Research tells us that the vast majority us experience this to some degree at one time or another. Here are ways to combat impostor syndrome.

The two psychology professors mentioned in the episode were Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes at Georgia State University.

The TED Talk is:

Related Categories in the podcast archive:
For Women
Managing Yourself
Perception – How You Perceive Yourself

Related episodes are:
Act “As If”
Acting on the Corporate Stage
Inhabiting Executive Presence
Self-Awareness & Self-Management
The Many Parts of You

Browse the archive at:

Nov 08, 2018
Leading Offsites

A senior leader wants to give one of his direct reports the experience of leading her own offsite. This month’s coaching conversation is about how a leader can foster an offsite with the power to create change.

AN INVITATION: Send us questions for our upcoming Q&A episodes! Send your questions to

In the episode, there are many resources to help you learn to lead activities with your team. The six mentioned in the show are:
"The Fieldbook of Team Interventions" by Harry Eggleton
"The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Patrick Lencioni
"Overcoming the Five Dysfuctions of a Team" by Patrick Lencioni
"Power Tools for Teams: Plus/Delta" April 2016, The Look & Sound of Leaderhip
"Personal Histories as Your Brand" May 2016, The Look & Sound of Leadership

Five episodes to help you build your team leadership skills:
Facilitating Open Dialogue
Leading Teams
Questions as Leadership
Your Team’s Best Interest – Part One
Your Team’s Best Interest – Part Two

Don't forget to send us your questions!

Oct 04, 2018
Animating Your Persona

A coaching client needs to exude more presence. Tom proposes a visualization process and walks another coach through it.

In the archive, this episode is tagged in three categories:
Developing New Behaviors,
Perception - How You Perceive Yourself
Personal Growth & Self-Development

Five related episodes are:
Acting on the Corporate Stage
Creating New Behaviors
Inhabiting Executive Presence
Self-Awareness & Self-Management
The Many Parts of You

Plus, if you want to hear about why our brains find visualization so powerful, listen to:
Prepping Like A TED Talker.

Five listeners posted reviews in iTunes this month. Thanks go out to:
In the US,
catalyst leader
Then, from the UK, Ewen C
And from India, FP PJ Sharma
Thanks. We couldn't keep growing without this steady stream of support. Thanks so much!

Every episode is available in the archive at:

Subscribe to the HTML version at:

Be in touch with Tom at:

Sep 06, 2018
Managing Bad Behavior

This month’s coaching conversation focuses on a feedback technique that can help manage bad behavior. The coachee likes the technique so much, he wants to try it on his high performers, too!

Related episodes:

Discussing Difficult Behaviors
Holding People Accountable
Managing Disruptive Executives
Managing Performance: Up or Out
Sorting & Labeling

Every episode is available in the archive at:

Subscribe to the HTML version at:

Be in touch with Tom at:

To everyone who has ever posted a review for the show in iTunes -- THANK YOU! If you haven't yet, please do. Our survival depends on it. Thanks!

Aug 09, 2018
Managing Trauma

This month’s coaching conversation focuses on developing someone who may be a trauma survivor. A team leader’s compassionate caution may not be in the survivor’s best interest.

Related episodes:
Dealing with Emotional Responses
Intimacy in Business: Setting Boundaries
Managing Beyond Bad Behavior
Showing Teeth
Speaking Your Truth

Every episode is available in the archive at:

Subscribe to the HTML version at:

Be in touch with Tom at:

Thank you so much for your reviews. It's hard to convey how meaningful those are. You help keep the podcast alive when you post a review. Thanks!

Jul 12, 2018
Taming the Wild Child

This month’s coaching conversation features a high-performing client who sometimes wrestles with her fear. Knowing that her fear can diminish her, she seeks a way out.

Tom also talks about the new course "Improv for Leaders” taught by improv master Jeremy Rowley.

Related epsidoes this month:
The Many Parts of You
Combating Emotional Hijacks
Conquering Fear
Negative Self-Talk
Self-Limiting Beliefs
Unmasking a Stand-In
Managing Nervousness

Every episode is available in the archive at:

Subscribe to the HTML version at:

Be in touch with Tom at:

And thank you so very much for your reviews. Your contribution is beyond measure when you take a moment to post a review. Thank you!

Jun 07, 2018
Readiness in Coaching

Why do some coaching engagements achieve positive transformations while others get stuck in the starting gate? This month’s coaching conversation explores who’s coachable, who isn’t, and why.

The PDF discussed during this episode can be downloaded at:

The “Who’s Coachable?” episode containing the eight-item list from 2008 is available at:

Aside from the “Who’s Coachable?” episode, four other episodes that echo the motifs in this month's Executive Coaching Tip are:
Leading Teams

Managing Disruptive Executives

Managing Performance: Up or Out

Resolving Conflict

Every episode is available at:

Be in touch with us at:

May 03, 2018
360s: Weapons or Tools?

360-degree feedback can be intense. Or confusing. Like many reports, it often needs explaining, even if the information is familiar. This month’s coaching conversation explores the many sides of 360s.

Curious to learn more about 360s? Listen to Tom's interview on "Coaching for Leaders."

Want to learn more about quantative 360-degree feedback reports? Contact Envisia Learning.

Want to learn about qualitative 360-degree feedback reports? Contact us.

Want to see a sample of a qualitative feedback report?

Every episode is available at:

Be in touch with us at:

Apr 05, 2018
360s: Weapons or Tools?

360-degree feedback can be intense. Or confusing. Like many reports, it often needs explaining, even if the information is familiar. This month’s coaching conversation explores the many sides of 360s.

Curious to learn more about 360s? Listen to Tom's interview on "Coaching for Leaders."

Want to learn more about quantative 360-degree feedback reports? Contact Envisia Learning.

Want to learn about qualitative 360-degree feedback reports? Contact us.

Want to see a sample of a qualitative feedback report?

Every episode is available at:

Be in touch with us at:

Apr 02, 2018


Who wouldn’t benefit from heftier influence? This month’s coaching conversation digs into two ways to build your influence bank account.

During this month's episode, Tom talks about a behavioral self-assessment called DiSC. See a sample DiSC report here:

If you're looking for more Executive Coaching Tips about influence, check the archive filter:

"Perception -- How You're Perceived." There's a lot there about influence.

Tom explained a five-point Influence model on "The Everyday Innovator" podcast with Chad McAllister. Episode #162.

Five "Look & Sound of Leadership" episodes relating to this month's conversation are:

A Breakdown of Listening
Building Empathy
Building Rapport
Getting Agreement
Your Goodwill Bank Account

What sort of problems would you like to hear about on the podcast? Write me:

Mar 08, 2018
The Sound of Leadership and of Management

Some ways of speaking lend themselves to more effective management. And some ways of speaking lend themselves to more effective leadership. This episodes explores those differences.

Feb 01, 2018
Leadership versus Management

Are leadership and management really different? And does it matter? This month’s coaching conversation explores what separates leadership from management. And what connects them. And why it matters for you and the people you lead.Are leadership and management really different? And does it matter? This month’s coaching conversation explores what separates leadership from management. And what connects them. And why it matters for you and the people you lead.

If you're interested in related episodes, you can search the archive under "Leadership" and/or "Management Skills." Those are at:


Five specific episodes you can listen to are

  • Building Empathy
  • Dynamic One-on-Ones
  • How Teams Fight
  • Taming Meetings
  • The Voice of Authority

During the episode, three lists are built. Here they are:

Leadership behaviors:

  • Motivating
  • Aligning
  • Recognizing patterns
  • Creating visions and strategies

Management actions:

  • Staffing
  • Budgeting
  • Controlling
  • Measuring
  • Problem solving

Relationship skills:

  • Strong, positive networks
  • The ability to persuade
  • Having influence
  • Using emotional intelligence

The thought leader about leadership versus management is John Kotter from Harvard Business School. He has many books and articles that explore this topic in depth.

Jan 11, 2018
The Conflict Conversation

What do you say when you’re in an argument? And how can you prepare to have an argument? This month’s coaching conversation dives deeper into the topic of “Conflict” that began last month. In this installment, scripts and concepts for mastering The Conflict Conversation.

To sharpen your skills, read "Difficult Conversations" by Stone, Patton & Heen from the Harvard Negotiation Project. It's very friendly and very powerful.

Every episode is available at:

Be in touch with us at:

Dec 07, 2017

Conflict is inevitable. But most of us were never taught the skills that would help us find our way through the dark corridors of this house called ‘Conflict.’ This month’s coaching conversation illuminates predictable patterns and practical tools to navigate successfully through Conflict House.

The book Tom references in this episode: "Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most" by Stone, Patton & Heen.

Related episodes this month are:
A Difficult Conversation
Disagree Agreeably
Getting Agreement
Repairing Damaged Relationships
Resolving Conflict

In the Tips archive is a category called "Relationship Building." Many episodes there have useful tools, too. Help yourself.

Nov 02, 2017
Dynamic One-on-ones

There are a million ways to conduct one-on-one meetings with direct reports. How you run yours will reflect your personal style. This month’s coaching conversation focuses on specific best practices that will enhance your one-on-ones no matter what your style.

In the commentary portion of this month's episode is a question for you. Share your thoughts in an email to:

You can sharpen your management skills with the Executive Coaching Tips in the "Management Skills" category of the archive:


These five episodes may be particularly helpful in developing your management skills:
Engagement & Performance
Leading Teams
Managing Performance: Up or Out
Managing Up
Your Team’s Best Interest – Part One

And, if you are going to be giving performance reviews this fall, this episode has helpful tools for you. Give it a listen:
Performance Reviews

Every episode is available at:

Be in touch with us at:

Oct 05, 2017
Acting on the Corporate Stage


This month's episode introduces "Acting on the Corporate Stage." That phrase was Tom's original branding phrase, before "The Look & Sound of Leadership" became his branding phrase.

"Acting on the Corporate Stage" aims at helping you be perceived in the workplace the way you want to be perceived, which, of course, is the reason d'etre of every episode.

Also this month, Tom shares reflections on attending his first-ever podcaster's convention. And his reflections are all about YOU!

He also points you to two very different interviews on other podcasts:

The Everyday Innovator with Chad McAllister, episode 137. He and Chad deconstruct the "Sorting & Labeling" tool. Very helpful!

Fatherhood 360 with David Wissore, episode 11. While exploring how parenthood influences leadership, Tom reveals some very personal stories.

The four related episodes this month are:
Act “As If”
Creating New Behaviors
Self-Awareness and Self-Management
The Mindful Executive

The archive of Executive Coaching Tips is at:

Sep 07, 2017
Performing Like a TED Talker

Delivering a top-notch presentation requires you to master your ideas. Of course! But even more, you need to master yourself. Your audience won’t be able to lock onto you unless you are “in focus.” This month’s coaching conversation shows you how to get “in focus.”

Related episodes are:
Prepping Like a TED Talker

Talking Like a TED Talker

All Presentation Skills Tips are available at:

A PDF summary of Chris Anderson's book, "TED Talks" is
available to you. Just pop Tom an email and ask for it. He's at:

Aug 03, 2017
Prepping Like A TED Talker

Preparing a presentation raises many questions. How much are you going to rehearse? What will you actually do during your rehearsal? Are you going to memorize your talk? This month’s coaching conversation covers all that and more.

Four core concepts this month:

  • Rehearsal is obligatory.
  • Manage your self-talk.
  • Find your throughline.
  • Rehearsal means “out loud.”

In the archive is a whole set of Tips about “self talk.” It’s at:

There’s another set about “presentation skills.” That’s at:

Many different Executive Coaching Tips are referenced in this episode. Four related episodes are:
Captivate Your Audience
I Talk Too Fast!
The Power of Rehearsal
What Compelling Speakers Share

The entire archive of Tips is at:

Jul 13, 2017
Short Sounds Confident

Holding each other’s attention is a constant challenge. But you can’t achieve The Look & Sound of Leadership if you can’t keep people listening to you.

This month’s coaching conversation emphasizes three little slogans to make sure you aren’t driving your listeners away from you. All three slogans are just three words long: “Short sounds confident.” And “Communication takes effort.” And “Stop talking sooner.”

There are so many reasons why embodying those slogans is hard. And, in truth, it’s easier for some people than for others. But everyone can get at least a little better at this. This month’s podcast will give you lots of practical tips – and some metaphors!—to help get you there.

Past Tips are available at:

Be in touch with us at:

We love hearing from you.

Jun 01, 2017
Readers’ Letters — Bonus Episode 2

Tom exchanges emails with two listeners. One exchange addresses issues of personal boundaries in the workplace; the other addresses scarcity and abundance.

This Bonus Episode is only the second one in the 9-year history of "The Look & Sound of Leadership." If you like this and want more, tell us. Contact us through the homepage at:

Or by email at:

The prior bonus episode -- with two other email exchanges -- is titled "Readers' Letters." It was posted in May, 2016. Find it in your feed. It’s not available on our website. (We’re working on that!)

May 23, 2017
Talking Like a TED Talker

TED Talkers turn us into engrossed detectives, absorbed in solving the mysteries unfolding before us. But TED Talking doesn’t have to be saved for special events. This month’s coaching conversation explores ways to turn everyday presentations into compelling content that will hold people's interest ... like a TED Talk.

If you're crafting an actual TED Talk, use Chris Anderson's terrific book: "TED Talks."

I have a nifty 3-page reduction of Anderson's book. Reach out to me at and I'll send it along.

Working to improve yourself as a presenter? The Coaching Tips archive are full of related episodes. Go to: and search the topic: "Presentation Skills."

May 04, 2017
The Voice of Authority

Authority. It’s a slip-sliding sort of thing, isn’t it? Do we get it automatically along with a title? Sometimes. But sometimes not. This month’s coaching conversation examines both the thoughts and the words that give us authority.

The ideas in this month's episode echo motifs embedded in many other episodes. Just a few related Executive Coaching Tips are:

Every episode is available at:

Be in touch with us at:

Apr 06, 2017
The Human Element

At work, we often diminish the importance of feelings – our own or those of others. We think, “I don’t have time for that” or “That’s silly.” But feelings don’t disappear just because they’re inconvenient. And, when unacknowledged, their impact can be severe. This month, two coaches discuss the difficulties of managing “the human element.”

Related episodes:

Mar 02, 2017
Self-Limiting Beliefs

Self-limiting beliefs hold us back. We limit who we are so we don't shatter those beliefs.

This month's coaching conversation serves up several strategies to help you push back against those demons.

Along the way, we mention "Leadership and Self-Deception," a great book to help you on your journey.

We also touch on the topic of "Coaching versus Therapy," something I've been talking about for years. You can find an epsiode about it in the archive.

I also mention an interview I did with Eric Cacciatore on his podcast, "Restaurant Unstoppable" episode 298, in which he and I talk about management and turnover and motivation. It was a blast. Check it out.

Related episodes:
Conquering Fear
Negative Self-Talk
The Look & Sound of Self-Esteem
Thinking Errors
Unmasking a Stand-In

Feb 02, 2017
Inhabiting Executive Presence

Getting to the next level of executive presence usually demands the adoption of new behaviors. This month's episode explores a three-step process that helps new behaviors become habits.

Helping you change behavior so you can be perceived the way you want to be perceived is the raison d'être of this podcast. If it's time for you develop more effective behaviors, there is an entire category in “The Look & Sound of Leadership" archive that will accelerate your development.

The archive is at:

The category, "Developing New Behavior" is at:

Five favorite episodes in that category are:

The episode called "Creating New Behaviors" has a PDF that goes along with it. If you'd like it, just ask. I'd love to send it you. Pop me an email at:

Jan 12, 2017
Combating Emotional Hijacks

When we feel threatened or in danger, an old part of our brains, the one that regulates emotions, hijacks our executive functioning. We say and do things we regret. In the workplace, this can have serious consequences. This month’s Executive Coaching Tip has seven strategies for stopping yourself from getting hijacked.

The seven lessons in my conversation with my client, Kimberly, are:

  • Emotional hijacks are real. They happen when your emotions take control over your reason;
  • Emotional hijacks happen because of a trigger. Triggers activate your emotional flight/fight/freeze response. We all have triggers;
  • Your triggers follow a pattern. track them over time and the pattern will emerge. Often those who witness our hijackings know our triggers before we do;
  • The first step to mastering your triggers is to be able to name them. By way of example, two of Kimberly’s were feeling left out and being ignored. Two of mine were feeling ineffectual and fearing a bad outcome. Triggers are personal and are different for each person;
  • Emotional hijacks are usually preceded by a feeling somewhere in the body, most often somewhere in your core;
  • Learning to recognize the pre-hijack feeling in your body as a warning bell can help stop – or at least slow down – the emotional hijacking;
  • When you’re struggling to keep your executive functioning online, you can speak about your struggle. “I’m really upset at the moment.” Or, as Kimberly suggested, “I’m not sure I can make good decisions right now.” Speaking about the feeling helps make sure you don’t act from the feeling.

If you want to work on combatting your emotional hijacks. other episodes you can listen to are:

The entire archive is available to you for free at:

Dec 08, 2016
Under Executive Questioning

This episode addresses three issues that arise when you’re facing an executive team. First, what meaning are you making about the event itself? Is that meaning helping you or not helping you? If it’s not helping you, change it.
Second, how will you address the moment when you need to say, “I don’t know”? Prepare for it. It’s going to happen. This episode has lots of ideas to try.
The final issue is confidence and finding your executive presence; the core of every episode of The Look & Sound of Leadership podcast.
In addition to the ideas in this episode, you can ask for a PDF that lists 15 related episodes to help you show up the way you want to show up.
Send an email to and ask for the PDF that goes with this episode. I’d love to send it to you.

Nov 03, 2016
Creating Safety for Hard Talks
You can’t be an effective leader if you are not able to have hard conversations that are successful. “Successful” means addressing tough topics in a way that will create change. 
One crucial skill to make hard conversations successful is attending to how things are being said. Without an awareness of the ‘how,’ things won’t be as safe as they could be. And if things aren’t safe, they won’t go deep. And if they don’t go deep, they probably won’t stick.
Five other episodes that relate to these skills are:
If you want to dig even deeper into this topic, two books to read are:
“Difficult Conversations” from The Harvard Negotiation Project. The authors are Stone, Patton and Heen. 
And from the folks at VitalSmarts is “Crucial Conversations.” The authors are Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler.
Both books are great. Lots of scripts. Lots of insights. Lots of tools.
Oct 06, 2016
How Teams Fight

Conflict on teams is a good thing. Really! Well, it's good if it’s healthy.

This month, two techniques to help team members engage in healthy conflict: arguing about what's best for the business and turning hostile non-verbals into dialogue.

Related episodes to help with these skills are:
Disagree Agreeably
Facilitating Open Dialogue
Getting Agreement
Holding People Accountable
Leadership and Listening
Resolving Conflict

Sep 08, 2016
Taming Meetings

Meetings are often viewed as a necessary evil to be endured. But they can be engaging events that build people’s skills and accelerate the work. This month, a recipe for mixing up meeting magic.

There is a four-meeting model discussed in this episode. If you want a graphic illustration of the model, just look at the online version in the archive: or email me at

Two books are also discussed in this month's episode: Patrick Lencioni's "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" and "Death By Meeting," both essential reads for team leaders.

Aug 04, 2016
Conquering Fear
Fear is natural but insidious. It can carve caverns in the foundations of our confidence, weakening our capacity. This month, a client learns about three kinds of fear and a transformational question that tames fear.

A seminal book to help master fear is "Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway" by Susan Jeffers.

At the end of this month's episode, Tom tells a story about the amazing reach of podcasts.
Jul 07, 2016
Building Empathy
Empathy is a crucial component of The Look & Sound of Leadership. Some people have it naturally, others don’t. In either case, it can be developed and learned. This month's episode has lots of ideas about what empathy is, what it isn't, and how you can develop it.
There are lots of resources discussed this month.
A book called "The EQ Edge" by Stein and Book.
A great 3-minute animation by Brene Brown about sympathy versus empathy. It's on the home page of her website: Look for the cartoon of a bear and a fox.
Other epsiodes you might listen to are:
Building Emotional Intelligence
Dealing With Emotional Responses
Self-Awareness & Self-Management
You also might go to, select "Coaching Tips," then search two subjects in the archive :
Managing Yourself
Personal Growth & Self-Development
Finally, if you or someone you know is in the middle of a job search, Tom did an interview this month with a wonderful career coach names Alyson Garrido. The interview has lots of helpful tips and tools. You can find it at: LA The show is called "Get Yourself The Job." The show is in their archive for May, 2016. 
Be good to the people you're leading. And be good to yourself! Until next month, thanks for listening!
Jun 09, 2016
Readers’ Letters — Bonus Episode

A bonus episode!

Tom shares email exchanges he had with two podcast listeners. One exchange is about handling people who interrupt presentations. The other is about defining tasks and responsibilities when they're not defined for you.

During the podcast, Tom mentions two other episodes that support the ideas here: one episode is “Facilitating Open Dialogue.” The other is “Creating Devoted Followers.”

If you’d like more bonus episodes like this one, let Tom know at

May 17, 2016
Personal Histories as Your Brand

How you brand yourself sticks with people a long time.Thismonth, a senior executive dreads having to brand himself duringaninterview – until he learns about the PersonalHistoriestechnique.

In addition to giving you this simple yet powerful tool tohelpbuild your personal brand, this episode also references abookcalled "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team."

Details about this book is at the end of the podcast. ThereIdiscuss that there are actually TWO books about theFiveDysfunctions. They're quite different. Here’s how.

"The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable" has ajuicystory about a team struggling to succeed. In the back of thebook,the author teaches The Five Dysfunctions and explains atarelatively high level how to overcome them. The tools in thisbook– including an assessment your team can fill out – areuseful.

If you’d like to know how to build a high-performing team,thesecond book is even more useful. It’s called, "Overcoming TheFiveDysfunctions of a Team: A Field Guide for Leaders, ManagersandFacilitators." This book has detailed, step-by-step instructionstoguide to and your team to high achievement.

May 05, 2016
Power Tools for Teams — Plus/Delta

This month, The Look & Sound of Leadership gives you a tool for developing your team. A process that takes only minutes to learn, if practiced regularly, this exercise has far-reaching ripples. Welcome to "The Plus/Delta Tool."

Other episodes to help you develop as a leader of teams are:

Your Team's Best Interests - Part One

Your Team's Best Interests - Part Two

Coaching Your People

Engagement and Performance

Performance Reviews

Resolving Conflict

Apr 07, 2016
The Mindful Executive

From the Harvard Business Review to the New York Times, mindfulness is widely touted as a powerful tool to increase personal effectiveness and well-being. This month’s Executive Coaching Tip explores the “how to” of being mindful with an executive who was already on the path but didn’t know it.

This episode shows that mindfulness is neither complex nor mysterious; it just takes practice. More importantly, this episode puts forward the idea that all professional and personal development requires you to be mindful to some degree.

If this episode inspires you, there are even more Tips to help support your growth. Go to the Executive Coaching Tips archive and select the category “Personal Growth & Self-Development.”

Mar 03, 2016
Coaching Under Attack
Coaching is expensive. Coaching is hard to measure. Coaching is too touchy-feely. There are a million arguments against coaching. This month, a tough CEO puts Tom on the defensive about coaching.
If you'd like to explore this topic further, here are nine related Tips:
Or you can search the free archive of all ten years'  worth of Tips. Use the "Search by Subject" tool to look at the category called "Personal Growth & Self-Development." There are more than 40 Tips in that cateogry to help support your professional development.
At the end of this Tip, Tom invites you to become a client. If you're interested in being coached, send him an email at
Feb 04, 2016
High-Stakes Meetings

The goal of this episode is to give you a three-step process to help you succeed in meetings when you feel there’s a lot at stake.

Step one: Clarify the Story. Four other episodes can also help with this step: “Sounding Executive,” “Communicating With Clarity,” “Executive Presenting” and, the mother of all communication tools: “Sorting and Labeling.”

Step two: Do Your Homework. This step is different for everyone. Sometimes it means getting information from another department. Sometimes it means researching data. Sometimes it means talking to people who’ve gone before you. 

Most people seem to know what homework to do; the struggle is finding time. Because we’re busy we think, “Oh, I’ll let the homework slide.” But I promise – doing your homework will make you feel much more confident.

That brings us to the final step: Managing Yourself. In this episode I mention several concepts to help you manage yourself that you can find in other episodes. “Assume Equality” is a critical self-management tool. Another, to help manage feeling like a victim, is called “Status.” Another is called “Choosing Stories Over Truth.”

This month’s episode is all about preparing for a high-stakes meeting with a tough company president. Next month’s episode will be about what happened when I was finally in the room face-to-face with her. 

Jan 07, 2016
Showing Teeth

For many businesses, uncertainty and ambiguity is their new norm. In such anxious times, people long for leaders who will make tough decisions, stand behind those decisions, and protect their people. In some circles, this is called “showing teeth.”

In this episode, I refer to The Center for Talent Innovation and their white paper on Executive Presence.

I also refer to four related episodes:

Assertion versus Aggression 


Speaking for Yourself

Speaking Your Truth

For more ideas about “Showing Teeth,” you might also check out all the episodes in the Assertiveness category of the Executive Coaching Tips archive. The Executive Coaching Tip that explains “unconscious competence” is Creating New Behaviors.

Dec 03, 2015
Engagement & Performance

Lack of engagement can assume many disguises but there is one outcome that is predictable: poor performance. What would you say if you found out you could get people engaged – and improve performance – with just two questions? Sounds like a miracle, right? That’s what I thought, too.

Nov 04, 2015
Managing Disruptive Executives

Disruptive executives take many forms—bullies, catastrophizers, resisters, you name it. But no matter what mask they wear, they create upheaval. Whether the disrupter is your boss, your peer or your direct report, coping successfully requires two things: courage and skills. Here’s how to find both.

Sep 30, 2015
Executive Presenting

Presentations are a golden opportunity to display your executive presence. Here are six behaviors that’ll help you command the room and deepen your brand.

Sep 02, 2015
A Breakdown of Listening

We all think we’re better listeners than we really are. Luckily, we all have the capacity to improve our skills. But not all listening is the same. Here’s a breakdown.

Aug 05, 2015
In Sync Communications

When you’re communicating, you not only need to fly through the intricate patterns of your own information, you need to be sure we can thread that needle along with you.

Jul 08, 2015
Executive Gender Bias

The research is unequivocal: in the workplace, women play on a tilted field. Everyone contributes to work's off-center world -- even women! This episode explores ways to bring the tipping back in balance.

Jun 10, 2015
The Narcissistic Executive

Narcissistic executives can be infuriating. And, unless you’re one of their favored few, they can be dangerous, too. These five actions will help protect you—and keep you sane.

May 06, 2015
Coaching Your People

Helping develop your people is a win for everyone. But developing people is quite different from managing people: developing people requires you to be a coach. Here’s how.

Apr 01, 2015

We all assign ourselves a certain status. Of course, that means we assign status to others, too. The question is: do people experience your status as appropriate? Or do you need to dial it up? Or down!

Mar 04, 2015
Defining Success

“I’ll know it when I see it” is a natural thought when starting a new project.  Feeling “It’s just not right” is natural when a situation is nagging. But your followers need you to tell them specifically what success looks like. If you don’t tell them, how will they know?

Feb 05, 2015
Mentoring & Mentors

Finding good mentors – and using them wisely – can change your career trajectory. So can being a mentor to others. Here are actions for succeeding in both roles.

Jan 06, 2015
The Honorable Executive

Executives create honor in the workplace not by declarations and speeches. Rather, honor is built in the display of small, consistent behaviors every day. This month’s Tip examines two of those behaviors and one over-arching factor.

Dec 03, 2014
Managing Performance: Up or Out

Poor performers often linger far too long. Leaders who avoid these performance issues damage their reputations and weaken their teams. Here are five actions to help you manage poor performers up or out.

Nov 06, 2014
Thinking Errors

Thinking errors are tough to spot in yourself because they seem true.  Usually we've believed them for a long time. Here are ways to free yourself from thinking errors

Oct 02, 2014
Pursuing A Promotion

We'd all like to be given a promotion merely because it's our turn. But earning a promotion is actually a job in itself. Mastering the four factors described here will accelerate the process.

Sep 04, 2014
Managing Up

We all want bosses who are sensitive to our needs. But savvy players know we need to manage our bosses at least as much as they manage us.

Aug 06, 2014
Personal Branding

Each one of us has a personal brand. Every day we reinforce our brands consciously or unconsciously. The tools in this episode will help you craft your brand with intention. 

Jul 09, 2014
Leading Through Delegation

Your ability to execute senior-level work correlates directly to your ability to delegate effectively. The better you are delegation, the higher you can rise.

Jun 05, 2014
Achieving Authenticity

Leaders who are authentic display The Look & Sound of LeadershipWe follow them eagerly. But how to achieve authenticity? Here are five tools.

Apr 30, 2014
Your Goodwill Bank Account

Certain people seem to have unlimited leeway when they make a mistake or miss a deadline while others seem to acquire black marks and penalties for the most minor infractions. This month’s episode explains why.

Apr 03, 2014
Captivate Your Audience

If you don’t grab your audience at the start, it’s tough to win ‘em over later. The two behaviors described here will help you engage your listeners before you’ve said a word.

Mar 04, 2014
Creating Devoted Followers

We all sense the subtle messages we send each other. When those messages have even a whiff of disapproval, your followers may begin to cool.

Feb 05, 2014
Perception Is Reality

Accepting how others see you can be a struggle. Until you can, you may not seem ready for the next step in your career.

Jan 08, 2014
Taming Email

An ongoing series of Executive Coaching Tips designed to help you be perceived in the workplace the way you want to be perceived.

Dec 05, 2013
Speaking Your Truth

We all have moments when we don’t speak up because we worry what other people might think. Here’s a way to help you find—and keep!—your voice. 11/07/13

Nov 07, 2013
The Generous Executive

Choosing to collaborate often feels like inviting an invader to sit down and eat your food. It can be done, but it doesn’t feel natural. And why would you? Where’s the benefit?

Oct 03, 2013

Gravitas is credibility that goes beyond titles or credentials. Without it, you can’t achieve The Look & Sound of Leadership™. This Tip will help you get it and keep it.

Sep 05, 2013
Soliciting Feedback

Without good feedback about yourself, you can’t achieve The Look & Sound of Leadership. But how can you get good feedback about yourself?

Aug 01, 2013
The High-Maintenance Executive

Being “high maintenance” can derail a career. Here are four mistakes people make that get them labeled “high maintenance.” And four actions to help you avoid the high maintenance label.

Jul 11, 2013
Capitalizing on Differences in Style

Our own work style seems completely natural—to us! But what about all those people whose styles are different? What do you do with them?

Jun 06, 2013
Creating New Behaviors

We create impressions, in part, through our behaviors. And changing behaviors can feel overwhelming. This four-stage process makes behavioral change manageable.

May 02, 2013
Building Emotional Intelligence

Companies invest in developing Emotional Intelligence (EQ) because its presence improves performance. EQ has four steps. Here is number one. 04/04/13

Apr 04, 2013
Shouldering the Burden of Leadership

Every leader casts a long shadow. Casual comments can have huge ripples. Such is the burden of leadership. How well are you shouldering the burden?

Mar 07, 2013
The Flexible Leader

Everyone you manage is at a different stage of their professional and personal development. Are you managing them all the same way?

Feb 07, 2013
Communicating with Clarity

Expert communicators put up signposts so their listeners can follow them easily. Using these “frameworks” can distinguish you as a clear and expert communicator.

Jan 10, 2013
Upward Feedback

Giving upward feedback can be a dicey proposition. The three-step formula in this Executive Coaching Tip will make that potentially dangerous enterprise a whole lot safer.

Dec 06, 2012
Turn Values into Behavior

Companies proudly post their values in their lobbies and on their websites. But values are mere slogans until leaders help people transform those ideas into concrete actions. But that shift can be difficult. Even explosive.

Nov 01, 2012
Self-Awareness & Self-Management

Leaders who are technically gifted leaders are often less gifted when managing their relationships. To avoid derailing—and to have healthy relationships—leaders need the two skills addressed in this month’s podcast.

Oct 04, 2012
Getting Unstuck

It’s usually painfully obvious to us when we’re stuck. What’s frustrating is that we can’t get ourselves unstuck. Here are three practical ways for getting unstuck that are particularly helpful in the workplace.

Sep 06, 2012
The Well-Balanced Executive

This 100th edition of The Look & Sound of Leadership™ discusses the best predictor of an executive’s long-term effectiveness.

Aug 02, 2012
The Disruptive Executive - Part Two

Trying to manage a disrupter is tough work. Managing yourself while managing a disrupter is no easier! These four tools will help you contain yourself during emotional encounters.

Jul 12, 2012
The Disruptive Executive - Part One

Trying to manage disrupters is like getting pummeled by a heavyweight. Here are five tools to help get traction with the disrupters in your life.

Jun 07, 2012
The Exhausted Executive

Many high performers are running on empty. Here are tools to replenish your reserves.

May 10, 2012
The Distracted Executive

Trying to get your message through to a distracted person isn't easy. It takes mental energy, preparation and willingness to repeat yourself. But what happens if YOU are the distracted person?

Apr 05, 2012
The Many Parts of You

Recognizing and managing the many, often contradictory, parts of you is crucial to becoming an authentic leader.

Mar 08, 2012
Your Team's Best Interests - Part Two

Engaged and productive employees believe their boss has their best interest at heart.

Feb 02, 2012
Your Team's Best Interests - Part One

Engaged and productive employees believe their boss has their best interest at heart.

Jan 12, 2012
Performance Reviews

Six lessons for delivering meaningful performance reviews.

Dec 01, 2011
Leading Teams

Five questions your team needs to answer if they're all going to move in the same direction. Plus a four-layer pyramid that needs defining.

Nov 03, 2011
Facilitating Open Dialogue

Tips and techniques for the extremely difficult task of getting people to speak openly in public forums—or in private!

Oct 06, 2011
Smiling—The Look of Leadership

Your smile can be a credibility builder or a credibility killer. How is your smile working for you?

Sep 01, 2011
Leading Change

Navigating the minefield of change is fraught with danger. Here's your road map through change's treacherous terrain.

Aug 11, 2011
Resolving Conflict

Three actions, plus three behaviors, to help warring factions to lay down their arms and get back to work.

Jul 07, 2011
The Power of PowerPoint

PowerPoint can be a blessing but all-too-often is a curse. Here are 8 tips to harness the positive power of PowerPoint.

Jun 02, 2011
Compelling Openings
May 19, 2011
Intimacy in Business: Setting Boundaries

The ability to create a sense of intimacy in the workplace leads to deep and long-lasting trust. And it’s not about being personal.

May 05, 2011
Recommendations & Resources
Apr 21, 2011
Stop Giving Away Your Secrets

Transparency is great in business—except when you tip your hand and reveal thoughts and feelings that are better kept to yourself.

Apr 07, 2011
Women as Powerful Communicators
Mar 17, 2011
Making Stories Soar

Stories stick with people long after data becomes a blur.

Mar 03, 2011
Questions as Leadership
Feb 17, 2011
Leadership and Listening

Two listening behaviors that will get different results and foster collaboration.

Feb 03, 2011
Self-Knowledge as Leadership
Jan 20, 2011
Building Rapport

Rapport is easy when people’s styles match. But when there’s a mismatch, what then?

Jan 06, 2011
Smoothing Harsh Edges
Dec 16, 2010
Three Little Phrases with Big Impact

Phrases to keep people listening to your data and to get people to comply with your decisions.

Dec 02, 2010
Getting Growth Acknowledged
Nov 18, 2010
Compassion During Change

When a star performer suddenly declines there’s always a reason. The question is where should you look for the reason?

Nov 04, 2010
The Look & Sound of Self-Esteem
Oct 21, 2010
Strategic Apologies

Apologies can enhance or damage a relationship. Too few can be as damaging as too many. Here are four apologies—two to emulate, two to avoid.

Oct 07, 2010
Handling Defensive Behaviors
Sep 23, 2010
Unmasking a Stand-In

Interacting with phantoms from the past is dangerous both personally and professionally.

Sep 09, 2010
Leadership Behavior in Meetings
Aug 19, 2010
The Power of Rehearsal

Rehearsal doesn’t mean reciting by rote.

Aug 05, 2010
Repairing Damaged Relationships
Jul 22, 2010
Three Words You Should Never Say

Want to boost your credibility? Stop saying these words.

Jul 08, 2010
Negative Self-Talk
Jun 24, 2010
Don't Take It Personally

Think that insult was about you? Think again!

Jun 10, 2010
Eliminating Distractions
May 20, 2010
Dealing With Emotional Responses

Six tips for handling yourself when faced with others’ emotions.

May 06, 2010
Delivering Tough Feedback
Apr 15, 2010
Disagree Agreeably

How to disagree without being disagreeable.

Apr 08, 2010
Sounding Executive
Mar 25, 2010
Getting Agreement

Giving instructions without getting agreement is a recipe for disappointment.

Mar 11, 2010
Accessing Your Best Thinking
Feb 25, 2010
Act "As If"

This fundamental actor’s tool helps you be perceived the way you want to be perceived.

Feb 11, 2010
Speaking For Yourself
Jan 28, 2010
Assertion Versus Aggression

One builds relationships, the other damages them. Are you clear which is which, and why?

Jan 14, 2010
Stories -- The Ultimate Persuaders
Dec 17, 2009
Leadership and Self-Deception

Our self-limiting behaviors are invisible to us but apparent to others.

Dec 03, 2009
Managing Your Strengths
Nov 19, 2009
Answering Essay Questions

Avoid a long-winded ramble with this three-step model

Nov 05, 2009
Creating Clarity
Oct 22, 2009
"I Hate Politics!"

Hating politics puts you out of the game that’s being played around you.

Oct 08, 2009
Getting Good Feedback
Sep 24, 2009

A crucial skill even if you’re in your job for life—which you’re not!

Sep 10, 2009
Your Workplace as Calling Card
Aug 20, 2009
Sorting and Labeling

The communication tool that will set you above the rest.

Aug 06, 2009
Holding People Accountable
Jul 23, 2009
I Talk Too Fast!

What happens in our brains when we hear someone talk “too fast.”

Jul 09, 2009
How Behaviors Change
Jun 25, 2009
Positive Opposites

Dichotomies are great learning tools—when they’re framed positively.

Jun 11, 2009
Listen Without An Agenda
May 28, 2009
Choosing Persistence

Two stories to fuel persistence in the face of frustrations.

May 14, 2009
Playback as Feedback
Apr 30, 2009
A Difficult Conversation

Discussing touchy, even explosive, subjects.

Apr 16, 2009
Sounding Well-Spoken
Apr 02, 2009
Be Impeccable With Your Word

Hold yourself accountable for what comes out of your mouth.

Mar 19, 2009
Speed of Thought
Mar 05, 2009
Focus in the Face of Distractions

Results are important and so is how they’re achieved.

Feb 19, 2009
Giving Powerful Feedback
Feb 05, 2009
Elevator Speeches

Create crisp executive summaries of everyday topics.

Jan 22, 2009
Messaging During Hard Times

A time-tested formula for communicating in difficult times.

Dec 11, 2008
Becoming More Expressive
Dec 04, 2008
What Compelling Speakers Share

Two qualities that will keep your listeners listening.

Nov 20, 2008
Being Concise
Nov 13, 2008
Handling Feedback Effectively
Nov 06, 2008
Managing Beyond Bad Behavior

“Repeated Headlines” can rein in ongoing bad behavior.

Oct 30, 2008
Assume Equality
Oct 23, 2008
Act with Intention
Oct 16, 2008
Project The Image You Want

Manage how you’re perceived in the workplace.

Oct 09, 2008
The Art of Chat
Oct 02, 2008
Choosing Stories Over "Truth"
Sep 25, 2008
Answer What's Asked

How to sound executive when answering questions.

Sep 18, 2008
Drive Your Message Home
Sep 11, 2008
Owning Miscommunications
Sep 04, 2008
Coaching Versus Therapy

Determining what coaching is and what it isn’t.

Aug 28, 2008
Keeping Repeated Material Fresh
Aug 21, 2008
Managing Your Boss
Aug 14, 2008
When Learning Makes Things Worse

Integrating new behaviors may actually send you backwards.

Aug 07, 2008
Building Trust
Jul 31, 2008
Staying on Track
Jul 24, 2008
Who's Coachable?

Can your direct reports be coached to achieve their potential? Can you?

Jul 17, 2008
Remembering Names
Jul 10, 2008
Managing Nervousness
Jul 03, 2008
Creating Charisma

Turn up your heat from a gentle simmer to a rolling boil.

Jun 26, 2008
Lead With Your Heart
Jun 19, 2008
Choose the Impression You Make
Jun 12, 2008
Ask for What You Want

Give yourself permission to ask without apology or fear.

Jun 06, 2008
Discussing Difficult Behaviors
May 15, 2008
Leading With Your Heart
Jan 26, 2006