A great speaker coach is a teacher at heart.
Think about the best teachers you’ve had in your life. What were some of their common characteristics? Most likely you learned a lot from them because they were very good at explaining things, and they helped you work through challenging problems and tasks. That’s what a great speaker coach does: they help the speaker work through tough material, overcome bad speaking habits, and push them to be the best speaker they can be by teaching them new skills and habits. A great speaker coach knows how to explain, in an accessible way, what the speaker needs to do to improve.
Every experienced speaker has a unique, signature style that works well for them. A great coach works with the speaker to bring out the best in their style, rather than try to shoehorn them into a style that doesn’t work.
Additionally, a great speaker coach understands the difference in content and style for different types of presentations. Giving a keynote at a conference is quite a bit different than giving a TEDx Talk, giving a motivational speech, or leading a training. A great coach knows each type of presentation well, and will help the speaker develop their unique style to thrive in whatever setting they're speaking.
Constructive, honest feedback. Listening more than speaking.
''We were given two ears and a mouth to listen twice as much than we speak''. It's an old saying from Epictetus, which fundamentally defines a great speaker coach. A great speaking coach lets their speaker speak (imagine that), and they offer guidance and feedback along the way. They give the speaker room to practice, experiment, and work on their skills because this is the only way to get better at public speaking.
Fitting your style, not your coach's style
Ultimately, a presentations coach is in it for your success and will work with you until achieving your goals. Coaches will have their own, characteristic, unique style. Regardless, these characteristics should transcend your individual style, because it means the coach is in it to help you be the best you can be. This is where it becomes challenging for many coaches. Truly adjusting to your style, whilst still finding the best way to share their own knowledge and experiences.
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