Halvor and Line Holter run Holter Consulting, a firm based in Copenhagen renowned for its expertise in executive presence. Working with individuals, groups, and teams, they provide executive coaching services while also facilitating leadership development programs. They are always looking for ways to extend and deepen their expertise, expand their offerings and create more value for their clients.
The Holters saw the Bates ExPITM as an exceptional tool for this purpose. They were among the first to become certified in the Bates ExPITM and are among the most active Certified Practitioners. They have deployed the Bates ExPITM with well over 100 leaders, reflecting a broad range of industries and organizations.
Experience and Outcomes
What did you see as the value of going through the ExPITM Certification program, including working with a partner to practice the process?
Line: “We think that ExPITM Certification—getting your assessment beforehand and then going through the program—gave us an in-depth understanding of the model and the background for it… the feeling that you now know what executive presence is. After Certification, you really feel you know how the process works, and you feel ready to go back and give feedback to your clients. It was a very safe learning environment. No matter how much experience you have, this is new for everyone, and the learning atmosphere was great.”
Halvor: “During Certification, having the possibility of practicing working with the tool and also being inspired by a partner was also very valuable—learning tips, tricks, and approaches—and becoming more aware of your own style versus others’ styles.”
Give me an example of a story of a leader who has gone through the ExPITM with you as their coach. What were some insights that you arrived at through use of the report and the process?
Halvor: “I'm thinking of one executive who was part of a team. Initially, he had a tendency to score himself a little higher than others did, and he didn't see the immediate need for development. He had the over-strengths of being self-driven, being a strong thinker and visionary, having an action bias, being assertive and so forth. Understanding the flipsides of those qualities helped him realized the importance of working on the development themes of Resonance and Authenticity, because people saw him as distant and hard to connect with. So, we worked on the impact of his strengths becoming weaknesses and how that affected his ability to drive performance while being inclusive. This had a big impact for him and even more so with his organization.”
What have you seen as the business impact of the ExPITM for leaders who have undergone the process with you?
Halvor: “For the leader that I was just describing, letting go and delegating more opened up his ability to be more visionary and strategic, while empowering the people reporting to him. It helped the unit become what they were aiming for—a more strategic partner for the company. It had quite a huge impact for him and his team. For the enterprise, it decreased the distance between this unit and the rest of the company, opened up trust and created more ways for the unit to contribute to the enterprise rather than being in a silo.”
Line: “We have worked with an executive board for several years. They have been leading through a time of extensive change. We had the team go through the ExPITM twice. It wasn't exactly the same team each time, as a couple of years had passed between assessments. Still, we found that the scores had gone up on 11 of the 15 facets on average. They went up for 14 of 15 facets for one person, which was just crazy! They had taken the information and done something about their behaviors to make a positive change. In terms of business impact, it had a lot to do with communicating more effectively and being able to not come across as having all the answers… listening more. Communication was crucial in engaging people and getting the whole organization on board with the change. They also needed to come across as one team to build trust. Because of this work, now they're seen as a team. The board has been able to speed up the process of change because the rest of the organization now believes that they're all in this together. With the ExPITM, we were able to help them highlight specific areas that were crucial in how they wanted to come across. Insights from the ExPITM helped them have success in those areas.”
Halvor: “And now they have language to use with the ExPITM. They can relate facets with leadership behaviors.”
What were some insights you picked up about yourself by going through your own report with your coach on your original insights call?
Line: “What a privilege it was to get feedback as an external consultant, as you so rarely get that in the way that an internal talent development expert does. You're told that you’ve done a good job, and they pay your invoice, but it’s very interesting to learn what they really think of you. I was privileged to have the feedback twice, including last year when I participated in the Bates Executive Presence Mastery open-enrollment program. My Bates coach helped me to realize that maybe I didn't have to put so much effort into my highest-rated facets of my executive presence anymore. They're working fine, so don't put as much as energy in those--focus on other things. With my development areas, my coach gave concrete advice and tips I could use right away—advice I could use myself but also that I could pass along to the leaders I coach.”
Halvor: “It was also interesting to get insight on the intention/perception gap—how one’s own insight compared to others. In my case, I found that I was overrating myself on some facets and underrating myself in other facets. Some were a little surprising! It provided me with increased awareness about certain behaviors that led to behavioral adjustments. Becoming aware was the starting point.”