Executive Presence Coaching at Dow

Executive Presence Coaching

at Dow

Dow Chemical enhances the executive presence of high potential middle-management leaders


Dow is a multinational specialty chemical company delivering products and services to a variety of industries. The Electronic Signature area of the company was seeking to develop the executive presence of their middle management leaders to help them be successful in current and future positions. Strong executive presence was identified as an important enabler for leaders to successfully drive business decisions, especially considering an intercultural audience. This led the HR Executive for the business unit to approach Stewart Leadership seeking a customized solution to strengthen and equip high potential middle management leaders with needed executive presence. Specifically, the company sought Executive Presence coaching for a high potential leader stationed at their Shanghai, China operation.

Significant improvement in Executive Presence skills

More productive meetings and greater confidence in leading others reported by high-potential


Stewart Leadership’s solution was to customize an Executive Presence Program that focused on four principles:

  1. How I Look
  2. How I Speak
  3. How I Manage Emotions
  4. How I Make Decisions

Four detailed sessions were offered on a one-on-one basis between a Stewart Leadership Executive Coach and a Dow High Potential Middle Manager, located in China. The Stewart Leadership Executive Presence Model was the primary source of the training with supplemental material drawn from the LEAD NOW! Model, the Individual Action Planning Guide, the Stewart Leadership Executive Presence Interviewing Guide, and Stewart Leadership LEAD NOW! Coaching Cards.


According to Dow’s Business Group Director of Strategic Planning, Marketing and Business Development for Electronic Materials, the Executive Presence program helped to solidify Dow’s belief in this individual’s leadership potential. Additionally, Dow’s HR Executive overseeing this project, indicated that Dow certainly “got its monies worth from this assignment” and that the coaching summary report “was one of the better summaries I have seen.” Dow also accepted the Executive Coach’s recommendations for future development and agreed that this high potential’s core issues had been clearly identified for future growth.

The high potential chosen for coaching reacted positively to the coaching and felt honored to have been selected to participate. In addition to the traditional Four Principles of Executive Presence, the additional four principles below were explored. These additional principles included:

  1. How to conduct oneself at dinner parties;
  2. How to greet colleagues in non-work environments;
  3. How to effectively manage meetings and meeting outcomes; and
  4. How to build a cohesive team in a matrix environment,

Improvement was self-reported by the high potential. The high potential’s engagement at meetings and social settings improved, he reported that individual one-on-one meetings were more productive and also indicated marked improvement of meeting management and outcomes.

The high potential’s initial assessment (conducted by the Coach) placed him on a 2 (Executive Presence Scale of 1-10). Although significant improvement was realized (Coach’s final assessment of 5), due to the high potential’s great difficulty with “leadership EQ”, additional coaching opportunities were identified. Pinpointed during the coaching experience was a great need for further development in the “people” side of leadership – building stronger teams, developing self and others, inspiring change, leading change, and more.

The Dow Chemical Company is a leader in specialty chemicals delivering products and solutions to markets such as electronics, water, packaging, energy, and plastics.

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