The Power of Executive Presence & Personal Brand

Episode #1077: In this episode of the Arete Coach Podcast, David McKnight, an Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Executive Coach, Image Consultant, Personal Brand Strategist, Energy Leadership Master Practitioner, Change Management Specialist, Speaker, and Author of The Zen of Executive Presence, sheds light on his time in the fashion and management industries, and his transition to coaching and image consulting. Continue reading for insight into the makeup of one’s personal brand and the importance of executive presence.



About David McKnight

David McKnight is an Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Executive Coach, Image Consultant, Personal Brand Strategist, Energy Leadership Master Practitioner, Change Management Specialist, Speaker, and Author of The Zen of Executive Presence. He has helped leaders from Verizon, Goldman Sachs, American Express, Spotify, and many other leading brands. Through his work, he has been featured in the New York Times, New York Post, the Huffington Post, and Inc Magazine.


David is the CEO of McKnight Image Lab where he provides a unique combination of image consulting and executive coaching. Through McKnight Image Lab, David helps professionals transform their professional presence, personal brand, performance, effectiveness, and productivity.


Before starting McKnight Image Lab, David was an Image Consultant within the fashion industry and Management Consultant for companies such as EY, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and E Loyalty. With his experience, David has combined his love for style with his corporate knowledge and started helping business leaders through executive coaching and image consulting.


Key highlights


The three pillars of image consulting

Timestamp 10:12


In David’s image consulting practice, he focuses on three core pillars: professional image, executive presence, and personal brand. David explains that a professional image is how people perceive you. This can be influenced by how you dress and other forms of nonverbal communication. Executive presence is how one presents themselves as a leader. Personal branding is “a collection of images that you communicate to people over time.” It includes interactions, visual assets, online presence, and even how you dress. Personal branding communicates who you are and what your business is about over time.


David’s six-step process

Timestamp 20:49


David uses a six-step process in his coaching and image consulting. His first step is assessing the current personal brand. Second, he defines and creates a new personal brand. Then he works with his clients to identify the three pillars of their brand. The fourth step is updating accounts and online presence. Next, David works with his clients to “leverage and tap into” their network. He helps them build relationships and identify opportunities for growth. Lastly, David helps his clients promote themselves and their businesses.


“Evergreen content”

Timestamp 35:24


When writing his book, David focused on creating “evergreen content” which he defines as “intellectual property that can really stand the test of time.” Sometimes he calls this a “power asset” and encourages clients to use this as a way to open up new doors of opportunity. He explains that for “evergreen content” to be impactful, it must be “unique,” “ownable,” and “something that other people can’t replicate.”


Moving towards your fear

Timestamp 40:56


When asked how he continues to grow and develop as a coach, David shares that he always works to move towards his fears. He explains, “I think we all have certain things that scare us a little bit. It’s important to move toward them, not away from them. I also try to seek out bigger challenges, greater challenges, just in terms of complexity or opportunity or what have you.”


Sayings and guiding principles

Timestamp 47:21


David has two guiding principles that he has learned throughout his coaching career. The first comes from his own coach, “you have to say ‘no’ to grow.” He learned this after becoming overwhelmed with his work because he always said “yes” to new projects and opportunities. His second guiding principle is that “growth and comfort cannot coexist.”


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