I have received multiple inquiries asking whether Angela Ahrendts was one of our clients. If she were, I could not acknowledge that fact without her permission.
Ahrendts is currently a Senior Vice President of Apple. There was an INC article quoting her in an interview that said she went to Minneapolis for two days of video coaching and walked out after the first half-day because she felt she was being asked to be something she was not. Her Shakespeare quote was “So, I just think that to thyself be true.”
To Be Perfectly Clear
We have never had a client walk out on us after a half-day. Our goal in coaching is to help people be more authentic and not less so. We provide a money-back guarantee that no one has ever claimed in over three decades of coaching.
“Seeing Yourself as Others Do” informs each of us about what everybody else already knows. Having a new awareness and choosing to communicate more effectively does not change our core being. In fact, awareness increases our authenticity. One of the more common responses when people see themselves through others’ eyes is, “That is not what I meant!” The natural action is to improve communication to better reflect one’s intent. That seems more authentic to me.
We all have a meter in our heads when someone is talking that tells us if we believe the other person is authentic, or if we believe they are a fake. We value authenticity in others and hopefully strive to be authentic ourselves.
What does that really mean? There is an internal authenticity … making choices that align with our values and principles … our true north. Most discussion of authenticity focuses on internal authenticity, which is very important. There is an external authenticity where others believe we are being authentic or not. When attempting to influence or lead others … external authenticity is very important.
When our visual, vocal, and content messages are aligned, people see us as authentic. When the vocal tone or voice do match the content … we believe the visual and vocal over the content. We see them as fake. We intuitively know that managing our facial expression and vocal tone is harder to manipulate than our words. Even method actors need to imagine the emotion or situation to get their face and voice to express that emotion. For the rest of us, it turns out that understanding the Other Person’s Point of View (OPPOV™) and being more thoughtful in our communication is much more effective and more authentic.
Saying whatever comes to our mind is not being authentic … it is immature. We are one person and yet we appropriately communicate somewhat differently with our children (as a toddler or a teenager), parents, college friends, work associates, and our neighbors. The communication can all be somewhat different and still be authentic. Being choiceful and aware of how we are impacting the other person is self-awareness. It is also our key to being externally authentic.
Authentic Executive Presence
Over a decade ago, as we wrote our book, we asked people about “executive presence”. Some thought it was being fake or an “empty suit”. Yet, when we asked about who had executive presence and why … the answers were around vision, motivation, listening, presentations, relationships, effectiveness and many other positive characteristics. We were choiceful in adding “authentic” to the title of our book, “Seeing Yourself as Others Do – Authentic Executive Presence at Any Stage of Your Career”
Being authentic requires us to spend more time being our “higher self”, which is a choice based on understanding our impact. We all have a complex of good and bad instincts in us. We get to choose every moment as to which part of our “real self” we are going to be. Both sides of us are authentic and impact our relationships. Understanding our impact and choosing which part of ourselves we want to be is the ultimate authenticity.