September 30, 2017 / Articles We Like / Stress / Work-Life Integration

On “Here’s What Mindfulness Is (and Isn’t) Good For”

According to the media, the benefits of mindfulness have recently exploded into an ubiquitous cure-all for fixing our problems. As it happens, most of the research around mindfulness is not grounded in rigorous scientific evidence.

In his recent Harvard Business Review article “Here’s What Mindfulness Is (and Isn’t) Good For,” Daniel Goleman found that less than 1 percent of the studies he researched met rigorous scientific standards. So, while you can’t believe everything you hear about mindfulness, he is quick to point out that there is solid research that shows us what meditation can really do.

What do you think about Daniel Goleman’s four key benefits of mindfulness?

March 12, 2013 / Ask Mariposa / HR / Talent Management

Ask Mariposa: Developing Executive Presence


Susan asks: I’ve been told I need to develop “executive presence”.  What does that really mean and how do I go about it?

Edie Heilman, Executive Leadership Coach responded:

Quite often the missing piece in successful leadership is the nebulous “executive presence”.  A very bright person with impressive technical accomplishments can often get stalled professionally if there’s the perception that s/he isn’t looking or sounding like other leaders at the company.

A great place to start is to look at the leadership team and those who are advancing and ask yourself “what differentiates them besides their work record?”  Most successful business people have strong social intelligence skills.  These skills include self-confidence, great communications skills, the ability to read others and empathy.  Even these days, there can also be expectations about attire.  Once you get clear about the leader profile at your company, you can determine how to further develop your own authentic “presence.” Engage your boss (or whomever gave you the feedback) in the process by telling them about the specific things you are trying and ask for on-going observations. Experiment, get feedback, try again!

To learn more, explore Daniel Goleman’s writings, like the classic HBR article “Social Intelligence Biology”.  I also recommend Executive Presence by Harrison Monarth.

February 19, 2013 / Ask Mariposa / Coaching Skills / HR / Talent Management

Ask Mariposa: Team Listening Skills


Drew asked:

The CFO of our company is technically fantastic at her job, yet I am hearing from her team that morale is down because she is not that open minded and doesn’t listen well. What are some things she can do?

Barbara Baill, Senior Leadership Consultant responded:


It’s great that your CFO has the technical component of the job down.  Next, she needs to understand that the leadership components of her role are equally important. This is a common challenge for many who come to a leadership role through their technical expertise.  Daniel Goleman, famous for his research in emotional intelligence, has identified that emotional intelligence is critical to effective leadership (refer to HBR, “What Makes A Leader”, Daniel Goleman, November-December 1998).  He has identified five components for emotional intelligence for effective leaders:  self-awareness, self-regulation,  motivation, empathy, and social skills. It sounds like your CFO could benefit from developing the capacity to show more empathy and build more rapport (social skills) with her people through active listening.

Your coaching of her will be key to her continued growth as a leader. Specifically, first give her straight and compassionate feedback. Appreciate the value of her technical expertise to the business. Second, explain her next opportunity for growth is as a leader of her team. As part of this, she will need to spend more team listening to her team in a way that they feel heard and appreciated. “Expert” executives often feel that their job is to have all the answers. You will need to coach her that her job as a leader is broader than that. It begins by having an engaged and empowered team.  The first step in that process is listening to the team, building rapport, and only then, will she be able to motivate them towards a common goal. Through your coaching, you will be increasing her self-awareness as you help her to develop the leadership part of her role.

This is a great opportunity for the two of you to work together to enhance her contributions to the overall business and become an more effective leader.

For more resources on developing leadership skills, refer to previous Ask Mariposa blogs.