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After running a successful leadership program on ‘The Neuroscience of Peak Mental Performance’, the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Daniel Smith, approached me. He was interested in running a 90-day coaching program to reach the desired goal of presenting and connecting with senior-level executives and board members in a meaningful way and translating IT security knowledge into a language Executives can easily understand.


The results of focusing on embedding a goal have been outstanding. 


What was the aim of the coaching program?

  • To help Daniel present IT Security knowledge in a way that Business Executives and Board Members could easily digest and understand
  • To be able to present on stage or at a board meeting whilst feeling calm, collected and in control without sweating and being concerned about the questions that may be asked
  • Increase self-confidence with landing communications with intention and engaging stakeholders in meaningful ways. 


What did the program consist of? 

We created a coaching program to assist Daniel in establishing a 90-day self-improvement goal to take his presentation and communication skills with Executives to the next level and, at the same time, decrease the high levels of stress and vast amounts of energy. To capture the hearts and minds of business executives through storytelling and demonstrating the business impact in brain-friendly and engaging ways.


Six x1 hourly sessions, pre and post materials and comprehensive coaching reports – outlining the plan and how Daniel is progressing, including what’s working and areas we need to tweak along the learning journey. 


1st coaching session – Creating a brain-based goal on what we want to achieve in 30, 60, and 90 days, including smaller presentations and then leading to a final presentation at the Gartner Symposium (one of the most significant IT events of the year targeting C-Level Executives). Identify the known mind blocks (triggers to threats and rewards).


2nd coaching session – Mindset pathways– focuses on Daniel’s emotional and engagement responses to foster collaboration, influence and improve motivation and inspire key executives. 


3-6th coaching session – reviewing Daniel’s progress as he starts to implement the plan and tweaking it to help Daniel reach his 90-day goal.


Each coaching session is booked in advance – 2-3 weeks apart and must be completed within the 90-days to maximise Neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to create new wiring for high performing habits.


What were the key outcomes achieved?

Identified Daniel’s emotional triggers and responses to stress – seeing these now as a challenge-response, an opportunity to connect, engage, influence, inspire and motivate internal and external stakeholders.


Understanding the brain’s ability to think, feel, and behave in new ways moves from a “threat” state to a “reward” state to reach peak performance for more extended periods. 


Establishing high-performance habits based on where he does his best thinking and increases oxygen throughout the day (re-energise). Living a healthier lifestyle by making time to exercise (cycle), fueling his brain with the right ingredients and having regular brain breaks.


Due to having new energy, Daniel’s ideas flowed more often, including designing a security management dashboard for Executives. 


Built presentation confidence by having strategies to get off the round-about, ask insightful audience questions, and clarify what Executives wanted to know regarding business outcomes. Now Daniel enjoys being asked questions and sees this as an opportunity.


In the final presentation at the end of the 90-day program, Daniel delivered Executive Insights Roundtable: Ransomware, Gone in 60-seconds at the Gartner Symposium (one of the most significant IT C’Level events of the year). He was receiving the 2nd highest scoring session (in terms of value) and the 4th highest scoring speaker score (behind the likes of Dylan Allcott – an Australian former wheelchair tennis player, former wheelchair basketball player, radio host and motivational speaker) out of an estimated 250 sessions. Impressive results considering the nerves and stress response he experienced only 90 days earlier. 


Client quote:

‘Vannessa very quickly opened my eyes to the process of developing peak performance habits through neuroplasticity.

We started with a few specific goals and gradually built towards these during a 90-day coaching program.

I am extremely impressed by Vannessa’s brain-friendly bite-size approach to helping me to achieve my goals, so much so that I feel that developing peak performance habits has itself become a habit. 

The dopamine hits from achieving results in new ways is an amazing experience. In the past, I have invested heavily in technical skills and have achieved my goal within 90-days and embedded high-performing habits that I utilise daily to improve the way I engage others, manage stress and respond to conflict situations with more ease and confidence.

It was a worthwhile investment, and I’m proud of my ability to learn, grow and adapt even when I am flat out with work projects.’ 


‘Thank you, Vannessa, for helping me set up my brain for success daily.’
Daniel Smith, Hearing Australia – Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).  


To better understand your career direction, goals and outcomes from high-performing habits book a complimentary 30mins session via this Calendly link