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Executive Presence: The A.C.E. Model Creating the X-factor in leadership!

Rajat Garg 

- Sep 23rd 2019



“A person exhibiting executive presence is someone who, by virtue of the effect he or she has on an audience, exerts influence beyond that conferred by formal authority.” ___ , Gavin Dagley,
Executive Presence is an evolving concept and there are many ways to define it. There is also a lot of ongoing research and study around putting this concept together. My own experience and professional training has been in area of Personal Branding, Image Management, Career Growth and now Executive Coaching. I see a lot of relationship between the recent Executive Presence concept, and what I have been practising since last 10+ years.
Based on my own experience, new learning as a coach and referring to research* around Executive Presence, I have developed a simple and practical 4 x 3 model in defining executive presence qualities which I would like to share. here. The two main principles around this model is Authenticity and Congruency which go into creating an Executive Presence – I call it the A.C.E model.

The 4A x 3C Executive Presence Model:

 The 4 dimensions of Authenticity:

is in the  ‘Full-person’ approach, i.e. Spirit, Heart, Mind and Body as it applies to Executive Presence:

  • Spiritual: Awareness and Purpose
  • Mental: Vision and Credibility
  • Emotional: Relationships and Trust
  • Physical: Communication and Impression

From the above, it is clear – that the ability to produce long term executive presence has a lot to do with “who we are”, “how we make others feel”, and not just a set of behaviours.
“Today’s job seekers are looking for leaders who share their values and will empower them to bring their full selves to work.” ___ Unknown

The 3 dimension of Congruency :

is how the 4A dimensions relate, interact, align and build upon each other at different levels of Executive Presence :

  1. The Inner Presence:

    ‘inspires’ people do what you ask of them because they believe in you even more than your words. It is your inner core—the  personal traits and values that define you — which come into play as values-in-action and ability to lead with purpose, trust, authenticity, and openness.


  1. Personal Brand Presence:

    creates the desired perception in the hearts and minds of your target audience to broaden your sphere of ‘influence.’ It is the overall qualities of mature leadership that speak to credibility, empowerment, and shared-vision that makes people compelled to listen, admire and take account of your views. Personal brand presence is relatively stable and grows as you do – adapting and moving forward as a reminder of how to present the best version of YOU.


  1. Situational Presence:

    is about creating the desired ‘impact’ in short-duration communication situations, like meetings, presentations, network events, giving feedback, etc. Before entering a situation — set clear positive intentions for the situation, feelings you want to create in your audience and align your executive presence with that intention.

While ‘Authenticity’ creates a solid foundation for exuding executive presence, ‘Congruency’ creates movement and interaction to exude ‘Executive Presence’ with an intention to Inspire, Influence and make an Impact.
You demonstrate executive presence with communication and embodied behavior that; connects easily with people, paves the path for working together, reads the room, signals empathy, builds trust, and demonstrate decisiveness. It is in these small changes that make big differences to that X-factor in leadership.
* Reference: Research by Susanne Bates on website


About The Author

  • Renuka Tandon provides Executive Coaching, in the area of Executive Presence and Career-Brand Alignment to corporate executives and entrepreneurs. She takes an inside-out, appreciative and alignment approach to how career and business vision is pursued. Renuka has 15+ years of past experience, as Founder of ACE impression – Image Consulting & Personal Branding, and  Director at TanNet Technology Resources Pvt Ltd – IT Placement and Career Consulting.  Connect with Renuka on LinkedIn

Rajat Garg

Rajat is a Master Certified Coach (MCC) with over 18 years of industry experience and over 2500 hours of coaching experience, helping people and organizations attain maximum effectiveness. His background includes working with CXOs, senior managers, managers and board of directors of small private companies to multi-billion dollar publicly traded organizations.

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