Coaching For Success Why Style Matters


Published on

The Presidential election is a year away, and the field is crowded with candidates.

With a 24 hour news cycle and cameras watching their every move, presentation can often be as important as policy for politicians looking to win at the polls.

It’s well known that voters respond to charisma, But are charismatic people necessarily good leaders?

Can leadership qualities be overlooked because of a lack of charisma?Is the style necessary to be a successful politician the same as that required of a successful CEO?

This program explores leadership styles and how coaching can impact success at the ballot box and in business.


* Rob Ashgar, Executive Director of Communications, USC Office of the Provost

* Patsy Cisneros, Owner/Partner, Corporate Icon, LLC

* Kathleen Schafer, Principal, Leadership Connection

* Evangelia Souris, President, Optimum International Center for Image Management


According to the Boston Globe (Sept 2nd, 2007), the 2008 race has already set new benchmarks for the use of political consultants, with two candidates, republicans Mitt Romney and
John McCain, having already spent more on consultants in six months than what the eventual 2004 nominees, John F. Kerry and George W. Bush, spent on professional advisers for their entire campaigns.

Why are both presidential candidates and many executives turning to coaches who specialize in political and professional image for help?

Popular studies conclude that people form an impression of us in 7 to 11 seconds, making decisions based solely on our appearance, including our educational level, trustworthiness, social position, success, and moral character.

Our panel discusses why appearance is important for prominent public figures, explains why we derive so much meaning in what we see, and shares best practices and tips on topics including professional image, presentation style, and communication.

Published in: Business
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Coaching For Success Why Style Matters

  1. 1. Insight on Coaching Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics Transcript Prepared for: Prepared by: Insight Educational Consulting Ubiqus Reporting (IEC)
  2. 2. Time Speaker Transcript 0:00 Tom Floyd Hello everyone and welcome to Insight on Coaching. Insight on Coaching explores the many facets, flavors and sides of the emerging professional coaching field. I’m Tom Floyd, I’m the CEO of Insight Educational Consulting and your host for today’s show. Well, today’s show focuses on Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics. We’ll talk about the successes corporate professionals and politicians who utilize coaches who specialize in image and style consulting experience, we’ll discuss some of the issues these specialists are able to help address, and we’ll also talk about some practical tips we can all apply to ensure we have our best foot forward when presenting ourselves professionally and personally. Let me give you a quick rundown of who we have with us today. Our first guest, Rob Asghar, is a political writer whose commentaries have appeared in more than 30 newspapers around the world, including The Chicago Tribune, Jordan Times, Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Wall Street Journal, and he has also been a columnist with Creators Syndicate. He is the editor of The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership and is the Executive Director of Communications, USC Office of the Provost. Welcome to the show Rob. 01:37 Rob Asghar Thanks Tom. 01:28 Tom Floyd Our next guest; Patsy Cisneros, is a Corporate Image Consultant and Executive Development Specialist, certified by the Association of Image Consultants International. She is a co-founder of Corporate Icon LLC, her client list including politicians from state senators to gubernatorial candidates nationwide, as well as corporate offices and executives of Dole Foods, Federal Express Corporation, Lockheed Martin, Prudential Insurance, and Toyota Motors-USA. She is also a co-author of The Professional Image Toolkit - How to Look Like You Mean Business. Welcome to the show Patsy. 02:13 Patsy Cisneros Thank you. 2 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 2 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  3. 3. Time Speaker Transcript 02:14 Tom Floyd Our next guest Kathleen Schafer is the founder of Leadership Connection, a company that helps people develop the skills needed to succeed in the political process. Her clients include local and state governments, non-profit organizations, foundations, corporations, and candidates for public office. She has co-hosted her own nationally syndicated radio show, For Women Only, and is an adjunct faculty member of George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management. Welcome to the show Kathleen. 02:41 Kathleen Happy to be here Tom. Cisneros 02:42 Tom Floyd Happy to have you. And our last guest Evangelia Souris is an International Certified Image Consultant and Founder and President of OPTIMUM International Center for Image Management. She is Boston's sole Certified, (AICI,CIP) Image Consultant and an award-winning image, fashion and makeover consultant. Evangelia has been featured as an expert image consultant in the nation’s leading publications including USA Today, the New York Times and The Boston Herald, and has also been featured on CNN, ABC and NBC news, and Access Hollywood. Welcome to the show Evangelia. 03:15 Evangelia Thanks, thank you. Souris 3 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 3 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  4. 4. Time Speaker Transcript 03:17 Tom Floyd Well, to set the stage I want to start today’s conversation by reviewing some statistics our research team pulled together, and I want to start out by referencing an article from the Star Ledger. According to the July 29th issue of the The Star Ledger from this past year, Steve Adubato writes, “There has been a lot of talk in media circles these days about the appearance of the current crop of presidential candidates. But it’s not just about presidential candidates; it’s also those of us who “present” in the world of business. In business, appearance and image matter big time. It is amazing we don’t do a better job coaching and mentoring people in this area, because it has so much to do with their ability to succeed and lead others.” In another very recent article this month, September 2nd, in the Boston Globe staff writer Susan Miligan’s headline says “Candidates Spending Millions for Advice – 2008 Race a Boon for Consultants” and further writes, “The 2008 race has already set new benchmarks for the use of political consultants, with two candidates - Republicans Mitt Romney and John McCain - having already spent more on consultants in six months than what the eventual 2004 nominees, John F. Kerry and George W. Bush, spent on professional advisers for their entire campaigns.” Rob, I’d like to start with you. The Star Ledger article mentions that appearance and image matter big time in business, but it also hints that not many people are coached and mentored in this area. How true does this ring to you? Has this been your experience as well? 05:04 Rob Asghar I would say that you see different kinds of people with entirely different approaches to coaching and style consulting. I think you tend to see a lot of politicians and business people who sit there and say “you know what, it’s enough to just be myself, and I just want to be myself” and that meshes with the sort of things you see where people what to believe in substance not style. They just want to believe that what counts is intelligence, and things like that. I think we’re all finding though that you can’t really just rely on that, because in a democracy, you have to manage people’s attention, and you have to get them to pay attention to you and to the right things that you have, not just to certain rough spots that you have. And so a certain amount of coaching can really help go a long way there. And what you see though is that there’s a resistance to that. People don’t really want to put in the time to just take it to the next step to become better in certain ways of how they present themselves. 4 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 4 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  5. 5. Time Speaker Transcript 06:10 Tom Floyd And what are some of the reasons for that resistance? Is it things like ego? What are some of the things that play into that? 06:20 Rob Asghar Yes. I’ll share a personal story. I have family members who did really well in a publicly held company when it was sub-prime, so obviously it is not doing as well now. But one of the family members just struggled to take a little bit of coaching in terms of how to do a conference call. It was just that sense of “I don’t want to be bothered, I just want to be myself” and the problem is that if you don’t manage yourself well, you don’t really know what part of yourself is coming through. For example it could be that you are trying to act a little bit casual but it comes across as being flip. And so I’d sit there and talk to this family member and say “You know what? We can do this a little bit better.” But there was the certain sense of pride that goes into their feeling of “I’m sure I come across just fine, I don’t need to work on it.” It takes a certain vulnerability to really put yourself out there, and allow yourself to be criticized and scrutinized in a constructive way. 07:24 Tom Floyd It’s almost like one of those situations where you might think the way you’re coming across is fine and then you see yourself on video or something like that and realize “Wow – that’s how I’m coming across?!” 07:32 Rob Asghar Exactly. 07:33 Tom Floyd You’re like “Oh my god, I cannot believe that I do X or Y” or whatever. 07:37 Rob Asghar Exactly. I know some of the other folks we have here have probably done more in terms of actually showing people the specifics, but it’s tough to look at when you really get honest about it. 07:47 Tom Floyd Got it. Evangelia. 5 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 5 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  6. 6. Time Speaker Transcript 07:48 Evangelia Yes. Souris 07:49 Tom Floyd What’s your take? How important are appearance and image in both politics and business? 07:53 Evangelia Well it’s extremely important and the first example that I can think of is the results of Souris the prime minister elections that came out yesterday in Greece. The two candidates that were competing for the race, one was full of charisma, very liked, connected with the population but was socked by a lot of criticism due to the latest scandals they had with the fires in Greece this past month, and also some bond scandals. But he turned around and beat his competitor because his competitor was really flat, had no charisma and did not connect with the population. And although he probably would’ve been the better candidate, he didn’t win, and it had a lot to do with his image. And people who know how to market their image can use it as a calling card, and although we tend to not want to be judged by our outer image, it is our initial connection with someone. There have been many studies that have been done by Harvard Business School, for instance, that say it takes 7 to 11 seconds to form an impression. So the whole secret is how do you match your inner skills, intelligence, and what you have to bring to the table with your outer image? People who know how to matriculate that tend to be very successful. 09:42 Tom Floyd So in 7 to 11 seconds, we’re forming an impression that fast? 09:48 Evangelia Yes. Souris 09:49 Tom Floyd Wow. Kathleen to build on the commentary offered in the Boston Globe, are you finding or seeing that political candidates are using external political or image consultants more this year? If so, what are some of the reasons for this? 6 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 6 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  7. 7. Time Speaker Transcript 10:07 Kathleen Well, clearly the use of professional political consultants is just exponentially Schafer increasing from cycle to cycle, and yes, I think the reasons for that are two-fold. One of them has to do with the chase for money and the amount of dollars that are there, and the political resources that are needed to garner the kind of resources and money needed for a campaign. But two, I think a lot of this has to do with the sense that these candidates are constantly looking for others to help them gauge their next move, what their next policy statement is going to be, how they are going to present themselves at the next debate, etc. As a result, looking for this kind of input and advice from different people is at the top of their agenda. 10:56 Tom Floyd Is it almost like planning for a battle or war so to speak? Is there consulting and coaching occurring to make sure they’re staying on point, delivering the right message, coming across the right way before every event, etc? 11:09 Kathleen Absolutely. Schafer I spend a lot of time talking about why politics shouldn’t look like war but the current reality is, that is exactly what it’s like. Each time these candidates are getting ready for these debates, and we’ve all seen articles about how they have started preparing many months or even a year or more out from an election, before they go into a debate they’ve spent hours being coached. They know what their opponents are likely to say about different topics and issues. And they’re prepared with every statement, and you see that in their performances. Hilary Clinton has been masterful, I mean it’s a format that is very comfortable and familiar to her and she is very, very prepared and it shows. 11:54 Tom Floyd Patsy, anything that you would add? 7 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 7 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  8. 8. Time Speaker Transcript 11:56 Patsy Cisneros Absolutely. I have wonderful things to add that go along with what the previous guests have said, and I can take it a little further as well. First of all, the personalities of leaders in both political and corporate groups typically don’t want to have image consulting, or won’t admit they may need image coaching. As a result they don’t tend to reach out for image consulting on their own. In the political arena, it’s usually the manager of the campaign who is approaching our political icon division because the candidate himself or herself thinks he or she is already fabulous. However image consulting is more critical than it was during the Nixon or Kennedy campaigns, when only television came into play. Now we’ve got television as well as newspaper, Internet, YouTube, etc. and there are so many very fast decisions made that aren’t very research and substance driven. We are very much past the 7 to 11 seconds impression now and are still driven by image. And leaders now in the corporate world are also starting to see this as valuable, but again they aren’t necessarily the person who usually approaches us. It is usually someone else in the company who recommends image coaching for a leader as they become more visible either in the global or local community, and in both communities they need to pay attention to their image beyond more than just grooming and dressing. 13:31 Evangelia Can I add something to this? Souris 13:33 Tom Floyd Of course. 13:34 Evangelia I just thought of an example, this is Evangelia. Souris This past summer Bill Richardson, who’s renowned for his retail way of politicking if you, could use that as verb. He embarrassed himself by tickling the head of a young woman and it was actually caught by a reporter. And he did it just trying to be warm and joking but it really took a bad turn on him because again decisions about somebody’s image are made instantly. And there are people out there looking more now, it’s more than just what is being presented on a debate on television, it’s getting captured on cell phones that have cameras, and it’s videos that are getting posted on YouTube. As a result of this, people are more aware today of the ramifications of their actions. 8 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 8 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  9. 9. Time Speaker Transcript 14:30 Patsy Cisneros I agree with that and Evangelia is one of those trainers, as well as is our company, that actually teaches international etiquette because the American public, as well as all of the politicians around the world, are interested in what motions, what— 14:47 Evangelia Yes. Souris 14:48 Patsy Cisneros --reaching out to people should be done accurately, it should not be done based on who their constituents are or who they’re trying to sway towards them. So someone like Evangelia or our firm does the type of training that has to do with more than body language but also includes things like international and multi-cultural etiquette. This is where both our clients and Evangelia’s clients are doing the same thing, they’re calling on us and they’re making it confidential. 15:32 Evangelia It is. Souris 15:33 Patsy Cisneros And in terms of confidentiality, they won’t let us say who they are. 15:35 Tom Floyd I hate to interrupt you, but we need to go ahead and take our first commercial break. 15:39 Patsy Cisneros Alright. 15:39 Tom Floyd Dying to jump in with some of my own comments and questions but let’s go ahead and go on pause. Stay tuned everyone, more from Insight on Coaching when we return. 9 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 9 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  10. 10. Time Speaker Transcript 18:18 Tom Floyd Welcome back to Insight on Coaching, I’m Tom Floyd. Today the topic is Coaching for Success, Why Style Matters in Business and Politics. With me are Rob Asghar, syndicated political news columnist and Executive Director of Communications, USC Office of the Provost, Patsy Cisneros, Corporate Image Consultant and Executive Development Specialist and Co-Founder of Corporate Icon LLC, Kathleen Schafer, Founder of Leadership Connection and adjunct faculty member of George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management, and Evangelia Souris, International Certified Image Consultant and Founder and President of OPTIMUM International Center for Image Management. For those of you just joining us in the first part of our show we talked about the importance of image and appearance in both politics and business. And I’d like to begin the next segment of our show with a very interesting study our research team came across. According to an early communication study by UCLA Professor Dr. Albert Marabian, the actual verbal content of our communication is relatively small compared to the power of the nonverbal. The conclusion of Dr. Marabian’s classic study look s like this: 7% of meaning is in the actual words spoken (verbal). 38% of meaning is in the way words are spoken, e.g., loudness (vocal). 55% of meaning is derived from what we see e.g., facial expressions (visual). People make 10 decisions about you based solely on your appearance: Economic level Educational level Trustworthiness Social position Level of sophistication Economic heritage Social heritage Educational heritage Success Moral character Now Patsy, reading this was just amazing to me and I actually saw that you reference this study on the Corporate Icon LLC website. 20:14 Patsy Cisneros Right. 10 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 10 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  11. 11. Time Speaker Transcript 20:15 Tom Floyd Can you tell us a little bit more about this? 20:17 Patsy Cisneros Yes, absolutely. Dr. Marabian really is the foremost researcher, sociobiology is his area as well as psychology, and he focuses on things like how we interpret physical image, how we sound, and how we look when we are speaking. However that particular quote about the 7%, 38%, 55% breakdown of communication is so often misquoted around the world, because we think therefore 93% of our communication is non- verbal so we could walk into a country where we have no frame of reference of communication and because we don’t understand the words, we think “no problem, I’ll watch their body language or listen to the way they sound and I’ll know what they’re talking about even if it’s an out of context conversation.” That’s not what Dr. Marabian meant. His research was more specific to liking or disliking the communication that’s someone is presenting to you. Is it congruent or incongruent to hear what they’re saying and to watch how they say it and hear how they say it, and decide that what they say is credible. So Dr. Marabian’s study is often just cut short, but it’s a great communication formula. With coaching, we take communications where someone’s words are already crafted politically or in the corporate environment by their lawyers, by marketing or by public relations. But if that person is not being authentic to what they believe to be their mission and their vision for their company for example, this is going to come across in how they deliver those communications. So how can we utilize their authenticity, their genuine feelings, and put it into the sound of their voice and how they present that and how they’re presenting themselves with their body language? And we can also take it a step further with image to also include clothing because if their clothing is incongruent it impacts them as well. Much like the story of “do you want your doctor to be driving a Volkswagen or do you want to your doctor to be driving a Mercedes-Benz?” You want the person driving the Mercedes-Benz because we assume successfulness based on what he or she is driving. 22:29 Rob Asghar Success, right. 22:30 Patsy Cisneros Well, and… 11 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 11 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  12. 12. Time Speaker Transcript 22:30 Kathleen The clothing is also part of this. Schafer 22:32 Patsy Cisneros I think it’s a very interesting point because I think this is where the challenge comes in for a lot of people running for office. They absolutely need to be authentic in order to express themselves effectively and yet so often people who are running for office are counseled to pursue policies or to take positions that may not be in total alignment with where they’re at. An excellent example of this is Al Gore in the 2000 election. I mean one of the reasons that people had a lot of difficulty with him is that they didn’t feel the was presenting who he was, and in fact he was being advised a certain way. He was advised to be the environmental candidate, the high tech candidate, he was going to be “Clinton-light” so to speak and he was never got comfortable just being himself. 23:27 Tom Floyd Now when I see him it just seems like he’s more relaxed and his personality just comes across now so much more. 12 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 12 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  13. 13. Time Speaker Transcript 23:37 Rob Asghar Tom this is Rob Asghar if I could jump in. I first heard of that UCLA study in a book by Burt Decker which is called You’ve Got to be Believed to be Heard and I think it is very transforming for politicians and for business people and all kinds of leaders because the idea is that in Burt Decker’s mind, people have an “old brain” and a “new brain.” They use their old brain to make powerful impressions about the people they see. The old brain is reading a person’s visual cues and sound of voice, things like that. His point was about what we tend to do as speech writers – coach on how the message is delivered. I’ve been a speechwriter for much of my career, and I tell people I would love to put myself out of business because if a speaker really is “getting it,” he or she is able to get up there without all of my notes and comments. They are able to get up there and be themselves in a powerful way. What we’re talking about in terms of being authentic is reaching the old brain. If you are really worried about getting your words out and fine-tuning them, send people an e-mail or give them a handout It shoots down the idea that you need to have some kind of good PowerPoint presentation, because as I say PowerPoint is basically a picture of a thousand words. If you want to really reach people, you reach them with your presence - not with words. 24:53 Tom Floyd I have two coaches that I work with personally. And one of the things one of my coaches who’s a somatic coach taught me about myself that I never would’ve known, but I thought was fascinating that relates to presence, is that when I get excited about something or really get energized, my eyes get wider and I lean forward towards somebody. I never noticed that. He said “you know what Tom, that can actually be intimidating at times when you do that.” As he observed me he told me my voice sounded excited, and that was fine, but my eyes actually made him want to back up a little bit from me. That was fascinating to me. I just had no idea. So I find myself thinking about my eyes now, more like “okay don’t do that pop-out thing!” 13 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 13 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  14. 14. Time Speaker Transcript 25:38 Rob Asghar That’s a great example. Sometimes we think too much with our new brain, with that sense of “if I do A, B or C I’ll have this effect” and you don’t realize how it’s more about subtle cues, the more primal ones that are a part of just being a human animal. And I think what a lot of the folks here do is help people navigate that. 26:02 Patsy Cisneros I’d like to mention Kathleen Schafer’s… 26:02 Tom Floyd What are some non-verbal no-no’s? I’d like to pose this question to all of you. What are some general non-verbal no-no’s to keep in mind, particularly if you are a less experienced business professional or politician, that you should really try to avoid? 26:17 Evangelia Well, this is Evangelia. Souris I think some of the biggest non-verbal no-no’s are avoiding eye connection, keeping your head down, and shifting your eyebrows. Former Governor Mitt Romney was often accused of not being able to connect with the populous because he had a certain comfort level and he was his best when he spoke in front of a crowd where he was controlled in a prepared speech. But when you got him out of that context or you asked questions of him that he wasn’t prepared for, he got angry, he got nervous, his eyes shifted, and his body language was very closed. For example he would cross his arms in front of him, or cross both his arms and legs in various ways. Those are some of the examples that I can immediately think of. 27:19 Patsy Cisneros I’d like to mention two female politicians and their body language that it is very important to bring to attention. We’re using a lot of men as examples and we also need to speak to – 27:29 Evangelia [Interposing] Oh yes. Souris 27:29 Patsy Cisneros --to the body language of leaders who are women as well, and what we… 27:31 Evangelia Wasn’t Hilary criticized for wearing a “wrong jacket” during one of the debates? Souris 14 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 14 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  15. 15. Time Speaker Transcript 27:37 Patsy Cisneros Well, I wanted to mention body language and this is what I was going to refer to. When I was on Fox news I was asked to speak to what Nancy Pelosi should have done during the State of Union Address when she was first visible behind President Bush, so maybe we can talk about that, and then also what Hilary should be doing with her body language as the camera scans her. 28:00 Tom Floyd Got it. Those are great points and examples to come back to when we get back. I’m hearing the music for our next commercial break. Stay tuned everyone. More from Insight on Coaching when we return. 30:47 Tom Floyd Welcome back to Insight on Coaching. I’m Tom Floyd. Today the topic is Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics. And with me are Rob Asghar, Patsy Cisneros, Kathleen Schafer and Evangelia Souris. Now Patsy I wanted to come back to the point you made right before our commercial break. It was around the importance of body language. You mentioned Nancy Pelosi as an example, can you talk a little bit more about that? 15 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 15 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  16. 16. Time Speaker Transcript 31:11 Patsy Cisneros Yes absolutely. Of course she didn’t have any coaching and it was apparent for the very first State of the Union Address. She was very conscious of her introduction to President Bush. As he turned around and shook hands with her, she was very gracious. However I don’t believe anyone coached her on being prepared for the camera constantly being on her secondarily, because President Bush stood in front of her and she was immediately behind him. So as he made comments or discussed things at the State of Union that might be contrary to both her personal beliefs and her platform as a Democrat, she was working her mouth quite bit. Now some people said it could’ve been a lozenge in her mouth, but other people said “no, she was chewing on the inside of her cheeks trying to not express her dissatisfaction with what was being said.” There were a lot of theories but it all looked bad, and became a very big discussion point afterwards for the next four or five days. Pelosi was not coached to know how to be very contained about her behavior behind President Bush, especially her first time out. I have some other comments and examples about female executives and politicians as well. Hilary Clinton wants to be perceived as being powerful enough to be a president, not just the first lady, and also in terms of her policies about healthcare etc. that— 32:43 Tom Floyd [Interposing] Right. 32:44 Patsy Cisneros --didn’t go well before so now she’s really needing to power up. One of the body language things that has not been addressed, has been that she looks down, she tilts her head back and she looks down her nose as she’s speaking. And that is because she’s feeling confident. 33:00 Tom Floyd So it’s almost coming across as a little bit higher than people? 16 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 16 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  17. 17. Time Speaker Transcript 33:00 Patsy Cisneros She wants to lift her head but it’s a little too hard. She’s using the same coaches as Bill Clinton did, which in a way is good because some of her hand gesturing, the way she postures and her eye contact is working very well because I can see the similarities. And when Kerry used exactly the same consultants, image consultants, he was using the same gesturing as Bill Clinton, and it wasn’t effective because his body is not shaped the same. So his thumb is twice as long, so when he did that thumb resting on the closed fist, it actually looked like a thumbs up instead of a closed fist. So one must also be coached by their body shape and how it will work effectively for or against them. Not just say “wow this is a great consultant and what they taught worked for Bill Clinton, it worked for Ronald Reagan, and it worked for Kennedy, therefore it will work for me.” You can’t just say “I’m going to do exactly the same thing.” It needs to be customized to the person. 34:06 Kathleen Well, that’s really what happens all too often in political circles, you’ve hit the nail on Schafer the head. These consultants come into vogue just like fashions do, and they very often try and apply the same principles this way from one candidate to the next. As you eloquently stated many times it doesn’t work. 34:28 Tom Floyd From your experience, do you notice across politicians as well that they start to adopt behaviors they see working for other politicians? I guess that builds upon the point that Patsy just made with Hilary Clinton or John Kerry. For example if Hilary Clinton saw something that John Edwards did and thought “you know what, I like what he did, I’m going to try that.” Do you see cases where that happens? 17 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 17 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  18. 18. Time Speaker Transcript 34:51 Kathleen Oh, absolutely. Schafer I think this happens for candidates that are down line in terms of local and state offices more than they do in the federal arena where they are having their own coaches, but I think Patsy made the comment earlier which is right on, which is these candidates don’t want to either be perceived as needing a coach or thinking that they do. And most of the time my calls are the same thing. They’re coming from the staff who are noticing these things and aren’t quite sure how to talk to the candidate or to the office holder about these things. 35:24 Rob Asghar That brings up an interesting image there, if I can use a metaphor. It’s that “I’m a great dancer because I’ve gone to dance classes and I’ve danced with a lot of people.” Well, you can dance with somebody who is experienced, and they may tell you, “you know what, you’re just going through the steps, and that’s not dancing.” And you say “oh really?” And you realize you are going through the “put your hands here” and “make your face do this” motions. But the idea is, what you want to ultimately do as a business leader or any kind of leader, is learn a certain kind of a language in which you’re expressing something genuine as opposed to just going through the motions. And I think it ties to something that Daniel Golman talked about, which was the whole idea of emotional intelligence. That for the typical person, two-thirds of your success deals not with your technical skills, your expertise or your raw IQ, but rather with your emotional intelligence. And when you’re doing these gestures, when you’re standing up a certain way for example, all of these kinds of things aren’t simply about going through the motions. They’re about emotionally relating to other people and knowing how you’re coming across, for example if you’re taking a dominate position or a submissive position, and managing that. And it is similar to the metaphor of going through the motions on the dance floor, but not really getting into the rhythm of it. 18 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 18 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  19. 19. Time Speaker Transcript 36:43 Tom Floyd And I think that’s such a great point too. I’ll use my own employees in our company as an example. One of things that we do in our interviewing process is we have folks give presentations. So we’ll ask them in the final part of the interviewing process to come and give a presentation on a topic, and we assume the identity of a typical customer for example, and there will be three or four of us sitting in a room. It’s interesting, some people are very robotic, it’s like they’re reading the slides. 37:07 Rob Asghar Yes. 37:07 Tom Floyd But one of my employees did the opposite, and did such a great job. She realized about 10 minutes into the presentation that she was blowing it. By the way we were reacting for example, she completely stopped, turned, sat down and said “you know what? I feel like I might be off point and I want to ask a few questions here. How are you feeling based on what I just said?” A dialogue started immediately. It was one of the best presentations I’ve seen. I loved it instantly. I thought to myself “she’s the one.” 37:35 Rob Asghar That’s great. 37:35 Tom Floyd She’s perfect. She sensed what was going on in the room; she changed the entire direction of the meeting and the energy and really connected with all of us to make sure that we were all feeling comfortable. We all felt great by the end of that meeting. It was fantastic. I believe emotional intelligence is so important. 37:51 Rob Asghar Yes. 37:51 Tom Floyd Immensely important. 19 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 19 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  20. 20. Time Speaker Transcript 37:52 Rob Asghar Yes, being present as opposed to going through the motions. You’re right, it’s great. 37:56 Patsy Cisneros It’s understanding yourself and having confidence in yourself to be real in front of other people. And I do think a lot of this is a two step process and you have to be willing to look internally and say “this is who I am, these are my values, this is what I’m about and here is my message.” And when you can get to that point of having that understanding, the true image coaching gets to be much easier because you’ve got to be a confident, clear person. When you have somebody who isn’t there, then they fall prey to “I’ll just copy what’s working for somebody else and hopefully it’ll work for me.” 38:33 Tom Floyd Yes. 38:33 Patsy Cisneros It is so important to start with coaching the internal image, and the coaching process for image. People that specialize in the external areas like Evangelia Souris and my company Corporate Icon and Political Icon, that’s where we can be successful at making sure it doesn’t look fake or staged. For instance, you’d asked earlier about bad body language. Well the steeple is a very positive hand gesture around the world for example. However people often “try on” the steeple before having gotten to the place where it is a comfortable place to rest their hands in between proper gestures that go with their communication. 20 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 20 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  21. 21. Time Speaker Transcript 39:25 Evangelia This is Evangelia. Souris One of the things that I usually do when I start with a client, I start with various assessments and one of the questions or one of the topics that I try to nail with them is just try to find out what they’re passionate about and that’s what makes their body language come to life, their eyes are warmer, that energy you described about yourself when you got excited about something. And once we figure out what it is that makes somebody passionate, through various aspects of image, either the behavioral part, the communication part or the outer appearance part, that’s how we try to bring it all together. And once you nail that, it’s transforming because people want authentic presence. They want to believe that this person is who they are, and they want to see somebody passionate. When they show that in every aspect of their image, then people line up right behind them. 40:37 Tom Floyd Is there ever a point though - and I have a feeling the answer is yes - is there ever a point when as a politician or a business professional, in being authentic, you can be “too authentic” or “too real” or actually divulge things that can hurt you? 21 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 21 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  22. 22. Time Speaker Transcript 40:54 Patsy Cisneros I’d like to answer this from a specific point of view, and that is you can be coached on what your messages are. You can be coached on the external things to do but there is also the authentic part of your actual structure, of your faith, and of your body etc., and that is very much scientifically proven to be a determiner of how someone selects leaders and politicians who they want to vote for – regardless of whether it’s war time or peace time. And these research results, by the way I’m sure you noticed on our website that we have all these quotes of science. We use science, we don’t just say “this will look nice on you” or “you seem to be very excited about this, let’s bring this out.” We need to also utilize what the sociobiologist and the psychologist have come up with. For example asking questions like “When people observe you, what are they naturally tending towards?” And for instance the masculine face verses the effeminate face, whether it’s male or a female. It also who they’re going to be. For example who’s going to be voted for in an election has been proven time and time again around the world. In war time, the physical characteristics that look dominant will actually come across so strongly and be preferred for protection and safety. But not for trustworthiness. Interestingly enough, dominant physical characteristics are not considered trustworthy. If you’re in a corporate environment, you may want to be dominant but the pro-social type of features and emphasizing the social features that you already have, are also going to be important. 42:43 Tom Floyd Got it. 42:44 Patsy Cisneros And that’s what we do. 42:45 Tom Floyd Interesting. I’m hearing the music for our last commercial break, let’s go ahead and go on pause. Stay tuned everyone, more when we return. 22 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 22 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  23. 23. Time Speaker Transcript 45:20 Tom Floyd Welcome back to Insight on Coaching, I’m Tom Floyd. Today the topic is Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics. With me are Rob Asghar, Patsy Cisneros, Kathleen Schafer and Evangelia Souris. I’d like to spend the last segment of our show talking a little about how the effect that working with image experts, consultants and coaches can have in terms of helping politicians, business professionals and the rest of us in general in making sure we’re stepping with our best foot forward. Some research I wanted to share to quickly set the stage in advance. The first ever image research study measuring the effectiveness of the work of image consultants and the gain experienced by their clients was conducted by Dr. JoAnn Linrud, Interim Associate Dean from the College of Business Administration at Central Michigan University. The study found that working with an image consultant has a positive influence on a client’s ability to realize and appreciate his or her own self-worth as well as personal and professional development skills which relate to the areas people deem most important in life: Self-confidence Career Promotion and performance And interpersonal relationships. Dr. Linrud reports that: “It is truthful to state that clients’ self-esteem, as measured by the Hartman Self Esteem Index®, was higher following the consultations than before. It is accurate to say that these results were overwhelmingly positive.” Other components evaluated in the Index showed appreciable changes in self-assessment, self-improvement, self-management and internal self-esteem. Rob, any anecdotes or success stories that you can share, where you’ve really seen a great example of image coaching or consulting in action? 23 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 23 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  24. 24. Time Speaker Transcript 47:00 Rob Asghar I’d say that if you look in the political front, there are people you see who seem to slowly get it. I think you could say that Al Gore was somebody who got his share of consulting certainly, and I think you could argue that he’s certainly gotten better over time and partly just by finding himself, just going toward what his passion was, and in doing so, perhaps he was meant to be a prophet instead of a politician. But by going to where his passion really is, it seems as though a lot of other issues fell away about whether he was going to try to be a down home kind of guy or an intellectual guy or that kind of person. In terms of other stories, working with CEOs and other kinds of people doing speech writing, sometimes it just comes down to experience. Sometimes people just have to get out there and experiment. I know one client of mine was very awkward with speeches. I had to get him to work more off notes, and focus more on just being himself. 48:03 Tom Floyd Right. 49:04 Rob Asghar But some of it just takes time and they have to work at it, consciously working at getting better. And when they do that, you realize that sometimes it can take several years. But for some of these people, I think they also have to realize you don’t just get a consultant and expect you’re going to six months later be a different person. These people may not realize that those who have gotten better may have done so over two or three years, and only at that point have those who are successful realize they are now mastering the ability to really be themselves, mastering how to bring out the best parts of themselves, the parts that connect with other people’s passions. At that point it’s liberating and transforming for them. 48:41 Tom Floyd Got it. Kathleen, any anecdotes or success stories you can share? 24 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 24 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  25. 25. Time Speaker Transcript 48:45 Kathleen Oh well what I was going to say is that my experience working with these candidates Schafer is that many of them come in as very successful individuals. And yet they feel as they embark on this like “I’m running for office and I need to become something that I’m not.” And they all come with this fear that “I’m not going to be able to project myself like a leader, I’m not going to be able to speak like a leader.” And what I have found in working with them is that once they begin to understand their success is incumbent upon their ability to become more of who they are instead of becoming something that they’re not, that’s when they bloom, that’s when they grow. I’ve seen people grasp it relatively quickly and say “okay I get it, I don’t have to pretend, I get to be who I am” and here are some ways and tools to feel comfortable doing that. For those who are less able to have the insight about where their skills are, it’s a longer process. 49:49 Tom Floyd Interesting. So it comes down to knowing yourself, knowing what you want to be about and what you believe in, and being comfortable with that and expressing it. 49:59 Kathleen Correct. Schafer And the candidates who are able to do that are the ones who are ultimately successful. Again Patsy has talked a lot about the various studies that say the way people communicate things through facial signals and the way they’re using body language is largely incumbent upon how comfortable they’re feeling about who they are, and what it is that they’re saying. 50:21 Tom Floyd Evangelia, in terms of some of the things in the study that I just referenced that talk about the effect that some of this work can have on a client’s overall self worth, self confidence, career and things like that, can you speak a little bit more to that? Is that something you commonly find or see in your work as well? 25 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 25 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  26. 26. Time Speaker Transcript 50:41 Evangelia Well, I see it in two ways. Souris First of all I was part of the research team that produced the study you referenced which was commissioned by Central Michigan University through the association of image consultants. So I’m glad you mentioned that because it was the first image research study like that ever done in the nation. But getting back to the question of does it affect self esteem, does it work, yes I definitely see it with the political clients that I work with. And we can never change them, we can’t, it’s an issue of finding out what they are about and what they have to say and presenting it in the best manner. It’s hard to change someone because it won’t be authentic, and again it comes back to being authentic and bringing that out to the surface. When I work with corporate clients again it’s an issue of finding somebody’s strengths and improving on them. And then when addressing the issues that are not strengths in their image, you can never coach them in a way that attacks them personally. It’s always the action that needs to be corrected, and once they get that, they realize the action itself can be presented in a different manner, and as a result their image follows through much more successfully. 52:43 Tom Floyd Well, I remember one thing a former boss told me that I’ve never forgotten, is to “learn to love your style.” I watched her ace a presentation with a client and I said to her afterwards “gosh, how did you do that? How did you know to present things that way?” And she said “You know what? That’s just the way I present things that works for me.” She continued and said “Tom, you might go and give the same presentation in a completely different format that’s just as successful. The point is, don’t try to imitate me, do what works for you - love your own style.” That’s always stuck with me. 53:10 Evangelia Exactly. We all have our own filters and experiences. Souris There are things I’ve experienced in my life that you haven’t, so when I present something regardless of whether I’m speaking to a small group or addressing a crowd, I’m communicating in a way that touches every aspect of my being. 53:35 Patsy Cisneros I’d like to mention also… 26 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 26 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics
  27. 27. Time Speaker Transcript 53:35 Evangelia When you tap into your self and are comfortable with your own style, you present Souris things in the best light possible. 53:43 Rob Asghar I can give you an example of where it’s helpful to find yourself by imitating someone else. I knew a young seminary student who modeled himself extensively after his idol and mentor, and some people thought it was too much. They said “look at Bill, he’s always trying to act like Greg and he’s always trying to be a little Greg.” What was happening was that he needed that for awhile, because it allowed him to find himself. He was using his mentor and idol as a template, and it did gradually allow his own personality to come out. Some years later people realized the student had exceeded the master, and he’d become quite good. So sometimes it’s okay to have somebody you look up to, but again it’s the idea that if you use those influences, it’s got to be for the purpose of finding your own true unique voice. 54:31 Tom Floyd Great example. Well huge thank you to the four of you today, we are unfortunately at the end of our show. And as always huge thank you to our listeners as well. For more information about our show you can look us up on the Voice America Business channel, you can visit our website at and don’t forget you can access the podcast version of this show in Apple iTunes. Just go the iTunes Store, click podcast on the left side of the screen, and enter Insight on Coaching in the search field. Thanks everyone, we’ll see you next week. 27 | Confidential June 22, 2008 Page 27 Coaching for Success: Why Style Matters in Business and Politics