Home » Coaching for Speakers: Worth it or a Waste of Time?
Mar,2024

Coaching for Speakers: Worth it or a Waste of Time?

Do you need coaching for speakers? Is it necessary for you? These are the wrong questions to be asking.

Let me pose this question for you instead: is there any skill, ability, craft, or pursuit in which someone reaches great levels by themselves?

I’m not talking about prodigies here, either.

The answer, if you really think about it, is “no.” Unless you want to get into highly specific exceptions, in which case I’ll just point out that speaking isn’t one of those exceptions. That’s why coaching for speakers exists in the first place.

I won’t lie and say that natural talent doesn’t play a role. It does. Some people have a knack for getting attention, voicing their words in such a way that others hang on their every word. But that’s not the norm, nor is that where the large majority of speakers begin.

But coaching for speakers can vary widely and to be sure if it’s for you or not, here’s what we’ll cover:

  1. Do all speakers need coaching?
  2. How much does it cost?
  3. What does coaching for speakers look like?
  4. How to know if you’ll benefit

Do all speakers need coaching?

Whether or not you need coaching as a speaker depends entirely on your goals and what you want to do with speaking.

“Need” itself is very subjective in this case. You don’t need speaker coaching if all you want to do is talk more in work meetings. Making an income from speaking gigs, though? That might require some coaching in order to improve to a level in which you’re paid a desired amount.

This is a primary reason one might be searching for coaching for speakers. You have a goal and a level you want to reach, but know you can’t get there on your own.

Whether that is paid speaking gigs or getting on a respectable stage like TEDx, you can only get so far without a coach.

How much does a speaking coach cost?

The cost for working with a speaking coach varies widely, and always depends on that coach’s specification and experience. A speaker can typically expect to spend anywhere from $500 to over $5,000-$10,000 to work with a coach for speakers. The length of time you work with them and what they do for you will alter this price.

Of course, the more experienced they are, the better you can expect them to be. Some coaching for speakers also includes the writing aspect of the speech itself. Some only address how you present the speech. Others might specialize in a certain type of coaching, like for motivational speakers or educators.

What does coaching for speakers actually look like?

It’s sometimes hard to imagine what it might be like to get coaching for speakers. Do you just talk at someone and they tell you how to do it differently? Or do they take a more comprehensive approach and tailor their coaching for the speaker and their goals?

Let’s walk through some of what you can expect with coaching for speakers.

1. Initial Assessment

The coaching process typically begins with an initial assessment. Coaches evaluate the speaker’s current skills, strengths, areas for improvement, and goals.

This might look like performing a speech you’ve done already but just for your coach. You might also provide a video of a talk you’ve done at an event, on stage, or just at home. Videos can often help both the speaking coach and the speaker identify areas of improvement not obvious in a close-knit setting.

You’ll be able to identify if you have stage fright and work on methods to overcome it during this stage.

This gives you a starting point, and might even include your coach identifying specific styles or angles to lean into as a whole when it comes to your overall style. Are you a motivational speaker? Or do you perform better in a teaching style? That can be determined here, but refined later.

2. Goal Setting

Based on the assessment, coaches work with speakers to set specific, achievable goals. Your goals as a speaker can be widely different from other speakers.

Some people just want to be able to deliver a great speech as the maid of honor or best man at a wedding.

Others want to get on a TED stage and share their impact with the world.

Even more want to speak at events and get paid for what they do (which is made easier by being on a TED stage, but I digress).

You can have many goals as a speaker, and you should. These goals should be stair steps to get you to reach your ultimate goal, which you will have to determine for yourself.

Let your coach know all of your goals, even if you have a list. Being able to understand the underlying root of what it is you’re seeking with becoming a better speaker will help them craft their coaching to best support it.

3. Customized Strategies

Coaches develop personalized strategies to help speakers achieve their goals. This may involve exercises to improve voice modulation, body language, or slide design. And depending on the coaching program (like ours), you might also get help crafting the speech itself.

Because even if you’re a great performer and your vocal inflection is great, a bad speech is still a bad speech.

The message has to be clear. It has to meld together seamlessly while also retaining attention. You’re probably not a professional speech writer, and this is not common knowledge. We’d encourage seeking coaching for speakers that also aids in the craft of the talk itself.

Ultimately, what you should get is a customized approach. Good speaker coaching will do that.

4. Practice

Speakers engage in practice sessions where they apply the strategies learned from their coach. These sessions often involve delivering speeches or presentations in a simulated environment. You might also be “assigned” attending local Toastmasters groups so you can get experience and additional feedback.

After receiving notes, your coach will want you to practice both the entire speech along with sections that might feel clunky or rough.

This part can feel long and difficult at times, but you’ll be better for it. When you get to the point where your speech feels easy to say, that’s when you start to relax and can deliver more of a performance, and less of a talk in which you look like you’re trying to remember each line.

5. Feedback and Reflection

Coaches provide constructive feedback on the speaker’s performance. This feedback helps speakers identify areas for improvement and reinforces effective communication techniques.

Once you have the customized strategy and have done some practice, coaching for speakers often includes some pretty straightforward, blunt, and helpful feedback. Your coach isn’t going to just tell you what sucks. They’ll have more tact than that.

They will let you know very clearly what isn’t working and give you the opportunity to alter it.

Best of all, you’ll be able to reflect yourself. What’s working? What coaching feedback feels right? What style of coaching seems to resonate?

Don’t be afraid to offer feedback to your coach at this time. You’re working together, and if certain methods of theirs work better for you as the one being taught, let them know.

6. Skill Development

Coaches focus on developing specific speaking skills such as articulation, pacing, and connecting with the audience. During this stage, it’s more about fine tuning who you are as a speaker and building confidence into the strategies your coach put together in earlier stages.

Yes, it’s practice, but it’s also adding your own flair. Your own voice. It’s getting enough reps in that the muscles you rely on in each speech feel strong and stage.

7. Mindset Coaching

Coaching for speakers often includes mindset coaching to help speakers overcome limiting beliefs and develop a positive attitude toward public speaking. When you’ve only rehearsed by yourself for so long and your coach is saying you’re ready to take it public, it’s time to work through mental blocks.

Your mindset is a huge part of how you show up to give your speech. This isn’t just about feeling confident and secure in your abilities, but also about keeping the right frame of mind as you walk on stage—understanding the why behind your work and the reason you’re on stage to begin with.

two post-it notes on a blue wood table, first post-it says "new mindset" with arrow leading to "new result" on second post-it

8. Continued Support

The coaching process is ongoing, with coaches providing continued support and guidance as speakers progress toward their goals. This may include additional practice sessions, feedback, and skill-building exercises.

You might want to continue coaching for speakers as an ongoing part of your work, like putting a coach on retainer. You might just want to maintain connections with groups that can provide feedback. For example, Toastmasters or a mastermind that’s connected with the coaching.

9. Celebrating Success

More than anything, coaching for speakers gives you a solid, reliable support system. They will celebrate you effectively, and truly understand the feat of your accomplishments. Many people will big goals and dreams that include speaking aren’t usually surrounded by people who understand it.

That can make it lonely.

Hiring a speaking coach is a strong way to ensure that not only will you improve, but that your accomplishments are understood and effectively celebrated. This goes a long way to making someone feel confident and encouraged to continue toward their goals.

How to Know if You’ll Benefit from Coaching for Speakers

Is getting a coach for you? The answer nobody likes to hear, but always rings true, is that it depends.

Depends on what?

It depends on if you want to improve, what you want to improve, and what your goals are.

Does it make sense to hire a speaking coach who specializes in preparing people to speak on large stages if you just want to learn how to give better presentations at work? Probably not. But there is still a coach for you.

You can absolutely “make it” without a coach. It will likely take longer and you won’t have the feedback from an experienced third party to help in the pesky areas you probably don’t even notice.

In short, anyone who wants to be a better speaker can benefit from a speaking coach.


Free Public Speaker Training, hosted by TEDx speaker Taylor Conroy, click here to save your free spot

Author

Bella Rose Pope
I'm a multi-creative in pursuit of doing exactly whatever I want in life. Former speaker of book things, fiction author in progress, life figure-outer in progress, societal rule breaker extraordinaire. Smells like: homemade bread, book paper, potted plants, & potential.

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