One of my lovely executive coaching clients was recently invited to give a presentation on leadership and personal development to his international board of directors. Colleagues were aware of our coaching work and impressed with his own personal development and leadership, both of which are exemplary and, mutually inspiring. So, what does it take to be an inspirational, motivational, effective, charismatic, powerful leader? This is the first in a series of articles on the role of personal development in leadership.

Strong leaders are essential for business success, never more so than in the current challenging climate. As a leader, you need to command respect, have presence and gravitas, combine strategy with emotional intelligence, make people naturally want to follow you, inspire your team to excellence.

Gandhi famously advised us "to be the change you want to see in the world." I believe that leaders need to model, exemplify....essentially be what they are asking for in their teams and companies, and that this takes advanced personal development.

Self-understanding is fundamental. You need to understand yourself, your personality and what you need to be to deliver your best, and to understand and maximize how you come across to others.

Essentially, excellent leaders need to be authentic and to convey this congruence and alignment between thoughts, words, and actions in everything they do. Otherwise you get a jarring dissonance and disconnect that undermines your ability to lead effectively. As one of my executive coaching clients, Maria Horn, HR Director for Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants puts it (and she is a shining example of the power of personal development for leadership), " you can't be authentic if you don't know who you are."

Integrity and authenticity are about wholeness, really, a state where your actions are aligned with both your individual values and the shared values of the company.

Here are some aspects of how my executive coaching programs help executives to develop into their leadership potential:

Understanding your personality and how you can deliver your own unique brand of leadership

Understanding the impact you have on others and how to maximize this

Raising your energy so that work and life become mutually energizing rather than draining

Identifying your needs and getting them met to raise your energy and effectiveness

Identifying and leveraging your strengths to create brilliant results

Understanding your values and leading with them to inspire others

Creating clarity and alignment internally and externally to reach optimum performance

Being exceptional not just in your business strategy, but in how you motivate and inspire your team to stretch into their potential and work together to deliver their best

Personal development, approached with a systematic and structured framework, is, I believe, a precondition for brilliant, powerful leaders who need to embody the change they want to create, and the results they want to see.
©Dr Nicola Bunting, 2009

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Author's Bio: 

Dr. Nicola Bunting is a top international personal and professional coach, with the Master Certified Coach credential from the International Coach Federation (ICF), one of only 1% of coaches in the world to reach this level of certification. Working with successful professionals in Europe and the USA, either as a personal or executive coach, Dr. Bunting specialises in helping ambitious individuals dramatically accelerate their success and fulfillment. With individual, group, and corporate coaching programmes on offer, Dr. Bunting's coaching company, La Vita Nuova (the New Life!), can design a coaching plan to help you achieve beyond your expectations.