The term “coaching” has acquired a wide range of meanings in the business world in recent years. It could involve developing business strategies, leadership advice, marketing assistance, or guidance on life choices or decisions. It almost always involves one-on-one work between you and a professional, either in person or over the phone. But another way that many people may not be aware of is individual training for presentation skills. You generally think of presentation skills training in terms of participating in a workshop. But in today’s tough economic times, it may not be feasible to host a workshop or be able to take a day out and participate in one.
When a workshop is not possible, individual coaching can be a solution. This is where you work with a one-on-one coach to improve your presentation skills. There are both disadvantages and advantages to honing your skills in this way:
All the disadvantages of individual coaching center on one fact: you have no audience.
Artificial. Getting training in public speaking or presentation skills will always be more powerful when done in a group setting. It is invaluable to have an “audience” to introduce yourself to, as well as a group of peers to provide feedback. When you do it one-on-one, where it’s just you, the coach, and a camera, you lose your sense of an audience and it can seem a bit more artificial to pretend you’re talking to one.
Not so eager. The main problem with public speaking is, of course, anxiety. That anxiety comes mainly from the fact that you are introducing a group of people, be it three hundred or three hundred. It is the overwhelming concern of the vast majority of people who want to improve their presentation skills. They want to get rid of butterflies and build their confidence in front of a group. Practicing in front of a group is the best way to face your fears head-on and overcome them. When working individually, there may be some nervousness; after all, a trainer and a camera can be a bit intimidating. But it’s not up to the anxiety of facing an audience.
No visual communication practice. Finally, it is extremely difficult to practice visual communication in a one-on-one setting. When facing your audience members, it is evident whether you are connecting with each of them individually or not, giving them the feeling of looking at them and talking to them. That level of connection is simply not possible to replicate in a one-on-one environment, so it is a skill set that can be neglected.
However, these disadvantages do not discount the value of individual coaching. It has many advantages:
Personalized coaching. When you work with a coach, you get individual feedback directed specifically at you; there are no other people in a class that you should share the training with. You get specific and detailed attention, which means that you will get a specific benefit and are more likely to learn more and retain it better.
More time efficient. Since there are no others giving presentations and receiving feedback, you are the sole focus of the coach / coach. So you can accomplish in a couple of hours what could have taken a full day if you had to share the stage with others.
Your own rhythm. A shop environment by its own design means there is an agenda and time considerations. The coach must stick to a schedule. That sometimes means that something may fall short, or it could mean that you spend too much time on something that is not relevant to you. When it’s just you and the coach, you can work at the pace you want, only on the topics you want. It is restricted only by the time limits that the two of you agreed to.
Directed to your needs. Maybe you feel good about your content and presentation and just want to work on improving the PowerPoint that will accompany your presentation. That can be done in a coaching session. Perhaps you are struggling with your organization and want help organizing your speech and perhaps adding appropriate humanizing elements. Again, that’s where coaching can focus. Maybe you have a great 30-minute presentation coming up that you want to polish up and practice. That would be impossible to do in a workshop, but it is ideal for coaching work.
A trained and experienced coach can work with you individually on your presentation skills and give you the most bang for your buck.