• Devika Das

WOMEN AND THE CURSE OF UNDERSTATING ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Updated: Feb 15


Recently at a networking event in Hong Kong, I was asked what I do. My answer instinctively was, “Not much.” “Not much” is far from the truth. I am accomplished in my field as a coach in psychodynamic executive coaching, in the process of writing my first book, bringing up two wonderful women-to-be, and yet for some reason, my first response was to say not much. Luckily a friend and fellow INSEADer came to rescue (me from myself) and said, “That is not true.” Yes, it was not true, and thank you, Martin Garnes, for showing me that I need to reflect on how I responded.

I should have known better than this. I specialized in ‘Executive presence’ and wrote my thesis at INSEAD on it. The instincts of being an introverted woman kicked in. Through my research, I also know that presence is evolving and I will always be a work in progress.

Empirical data shows that women often under-communicate their accomplishments, and it can impede their career progress. 

Here are some tips on how to communicate success from me ( though on some days I need to take a dose of my own medicine)

While projecting accomplishments as an executive use the four categories of arguments:

1. Quantify impact- Use numbers where ever you can

2. Talk about coaching and mentoring teams

3. Show being creative – products and processes

4. Existential map of position or designation and the time in the organization


Here are top three communication strategies for women to communicate accomplishments confidently.

1. Start strong- Build credibility quickly. Don’t wait for work to speak for itself. Let the performance show later but start with building credibility.

2. Stay succinct: Keep it short and sweet. Make clear and direct statements

3. Sell your ideas in your own signature voice and let people see the vision of the future. Use gestures to communicate ideas.

4. Project warmth by building trust and inspiring others.


Remember there is no heroism in making yourself small or understating your accomplishments!


Direct message me if you need help via the website here!

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8 HIGHLIGHTS ABOUT ME 1.NICHE AS A COACH: I am a coach and trainer specializing in psychodynamic transformations for leaders-coaching on presence, power, influence & impact. 2. BUSINESS SCHOOL PERSPECTIVE: I am a graduate of INSEAD’s Masters in Consulting and Coaching for Change. My research thesis at INSEAD was on the psychodynamic study of Global Executive Presence included developing a coaching tool to enhance sustained and evolving presence in leaders. 3. GLOBAL EXPERIENCE: With twenty-plus years of global experience, I have lived and worked in India, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Indonesia, China, and Hong Kong. Almost 20 years of coaching and training experience, 10 of which were in Mainland China. 4. AUTHOR: Published a book - Reflective Edge Series for senior executives that help leaders enhance self-awareness for impact, influence, presence, and power through self-awareness. The second book of the series should be available in mid-2021. 5.CONTRIBUTING TO INSEAD: I continue my engagement with INSEAD with contributions to their blog and marketing efforts. I am a learning coach for their executive program on gender diversity and inclusion. 6. HAVE A NERDY MEMBERSHIP: A member of the International Society for Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations-This keeps me academically grounded. 7.WRITE: I add insight into LinkedIn and INSEAD Business School blog, contribute to Medium and Thrive Global, and now as a Member of Forbes Coaches Council. 8.HUMAN/MOTHER/WRITER ON A JOURNEY: Love spending time with my daughters, practicing mindfulness, writing, and connecting with people.

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