Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Speaking of Self-Sabatoge...

I've coached a lot of speakers over the last decade. I meet them all where they are in the moment. Some are brand new - they've heard speaking is the way to pump up their business, and want to get going. Others are Toastmasters looking to turn their hobby into a profit, or just finally win a contest. A few are already pretty darn good, and are just looking to fine-tune their content and put a glossy finish on their presentation skills.

As a coach, one of my biggest jobs isn't even related to speaking, to a point. I'm half psychologist, half bartender for my clients. It's my job to walk them through, around, under, and/or over a myriad of obstacles before they ever hit the stage. Obstacles that all qualify as Self Sabatoge.

Reluctance to Practice - big surprise here, right? Nobody likes to practice, but everyone wants to be good. No matter how many people tell you you're great off the cuff, you'll end up with better results if you're actually prepared to speak. Practice comes in a lot of forms, but one of the best is still speaking in front of your coach, and going over the HD video.

Reluctance to Write - I've written a lot about this lately, but its can be a tough nut to crack for some coachees. After all, it takes time, and they don't think they are a good writer, and if I write it all down it's going to be tough to memorize. Yes, it takes time. Whether you are good or not, write. Even if you hire a speechwriter, you're going to have to at least rewrite to be authentic and effective. No, you don't have to memorize!

Reluctance to Speak - On the other side of the coin, some speakers are more willing to write than speak! They read directly from their prose, and some of them quite well. But there's a difference between reading & reciting and actually Speaking & Delivering! At some point, put the pen and paper down, and Speak!

Resistance to Change – Yes, if you hire a coach, he or she is going to bring change into your world. You want change, remember? The very fact that you've 'always done it this way' is why you need change. Should you stand up for what you believe in when it comes to your own speech? Yes – of course. But if you aren't prepared to bring some change into your world, a coach is not for you – hire an assistant instead.

Shiny Object Syndrome – “I want to do seminars, and webinars, and speak to big companies, and speak at associations, and fill Madison Square Garden. And write a book. Oh, and I need a website.” So many directives we give ourselves as speakers, so little time. As a coach, I work to keep my clients focused, but its amazing how much can change in someone's stated goals in just a few days. And then another few days. “Oh yeah, I need a demo video too!”

Lack of Self-Belief – this takes many forms, from a belief that they don't really have anything worthwhile to say to a physical obstacle like stuttering or feeling bad about their appearance to an assumption that nobody wants to listen to them in the first place. As a coach, I work with clients to debunk these and countless other myths. While I don't serve alcohol, this often brings me closest to being a psychologist/bartender than any other aspect of my job!

Procrastination - “Oh, I didn't have time to get to that yet, coach!” Its amazing how time flies when you're having fun, instead of doing your homework. “I'm not quite ready for a live audience yet.” Yes, you are – trust me, it's my reputation on the line too! “Oh, the last couple sessions have been great, and I need more time to work on what you taught me – can I cancel this week?” Which means just what it does in the workplace – they'll get started the day before the next meeting.

Worse still – those that are THIS close to hiring a coach – who know they can use speaking to change their live, advance their career, and find their voice – and don't. Is that you? Are you waiting for the perfect time? The perfect time is now. Call that coach you've been thinking about for so long, and set up your first meeting.

Getting one step closer to Speaking & Delivering brings you one step closer to the audience that will change your life when you change theirs.

Self Sabotage is a life skill most of us learned at a very young age. A skill that we have honed to a fine point - so fine that we don't even notice it as it punctures and deflates our dreams. My job as your coach? To save you from yourself. Whether you like it or not!

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