When we consider leadership presence there are several different areas to consider. As I outline them, my guess is that you will nod yes in agreement:

How you think

How you communicate

How you act/ interact/react


There is an area I haven’t listed that in my opinion doesn’t get enough spotlight, and it comes before the other steps I already outlined.  This is:

How you FEEL


As you know from our shared blogs, the heart of Emotional Intelligence is accurate self-awareness.  It’s a challenge to be a REAL leader without this skill, and if the will is there, this can be developed. Many people have been taught to not share or express emotions, since they were young children.  Feeling emotions, being with emotions and releasing emotions can be challenging for many.  For the next couple of blogs we’re going to explore more about emotions and see if there is a shift here for you.


This story comes from a four day Coach the Coaches training session I was facilitating about six years ago. We were in the “facts and feelings” portion of understanding people and coaching and here’s how it goes.

One of the strongest coaching participants I had ever had in a classroom put his hand up and said, “Nancy – I get it. I understand the importance of coaching to and with the feelings of the employee yet I have a problem.  I only know four feeling words: happy, sad, anger, mad.”

We all laughed.

Two others in the session put their hands up and said they felt the same way.

So I asked three men if I could challenge them.

They said sure.

I said – “you need to sit and make a list of 75 feeling words.”

They took the challenge, and the next day, on a bar napkin (which I still have in my training materials by the way) they shared 75ish words.

Some of these words included:




The reason I am sharing this story with you is that if you don’t have the words to capture what feeling you are seeing in the other person, how the heck can you identify it, let alone coach to it.  And to take this “feeling stuff” up a notch: you need to START by beginning to identify various feelings you experience yourself.


So, my homework challenge to you:

Create a list of 75 feelings words.

Google can assist you if you wish.

Circle the words on this list that you AREN’t using.

Start watching for them in others.

Start feeling them for yourself.

Then you can start coaching them when they arise.


Next blog, we will build on this exercise.  Here we come LEADERSHIP! xo