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IMGCA Article - The Mental Game of Speaking and Presentations


Do You Need A Speech Coach?

The Advantages Of Hiring A Presentation Consultant

Bill Cole, MS, MA

With all the hundreds of books written about how to write and give a speech, why would anyone want to hire a speech coach? Why would they need one with the huge number of videos and DVDs on speech-giving success? Why do people feel the need to take large group classes on presentation skills when they can simply learn the material on their own?

Why do some people like the guidance of a private speech coach?

One answer is that they can't learn it on their own. Another is that people enjoy being with a real person they can interact with when learning. Still another is that learning the "facts and nuts and bolts" about giving a speech is not the entire speech. There's much. much more.

  • There's the almost ineffable mental and emotional side of a presentation.
  • There's the artistry of how to construct, stage and perform a memorable speech.
  • There's the ability to read the audience and being able to give them what they want and what they need.

In short, books on public speaking serve a wonderful purpose, but for anyone serious about being excellent on the platform, they are usually not enough.

People looking for a presentation coach ask, "What are the advantages to having a speech coach?" The number one answer is personalized feedback. A coach can help you see what you are doing and make simple adjustments that can save you months and years of trial and error on your own.

Here are some of the reasons people say they are glad they have a coach at their side. Coaching helps them:

1. Learn to speak like a leader.
2. Master the art of the high-stakes presentation.
3. Jump up a level faster than any book can teach.
4. Practice their talks in a safe, low-pressure environment.
5. Practice variations of their speech and make mid-course adjustments in the moment.

In short, the major reasons to hire a presentation coach for one-on-one training, instead of taking a public speaking class or reading a book are these:

1. To rapidly shorten your learning curve.
2. To get personalized, custom feedback on the spot.
3. To instantly reduce mistakes you are making on the platform.
4. The value add a coach brings to the table.

If you find the right coach for you, the synergy can be magical. You'll make more progress than you ever dreamed. Remember that there are various levels of presentation coaches. Here are some of the attributes of a top-flight presentation coach. Such a coach:

1. Has the judgment to know what will work for you, and what will not.
2. Knows what to do right away for your level of experience.
3. Can go any direction you like at any moment.
4. Knows what speaking advice to avoid.
5. Is or was on the speaking circuit.
6. Has written speeches for people.
7. Regularly publishes articles on presentation skills.
8. Maintains a busy coaching practice.
9. Has many satisfied speech coaching clients from numerous fields.

If you are one of those people who learn well from books, audios and videos, more power to you. You may still want to consider working with a speech coach to fill in the gaps that these learning aids can't address.

Dream about your goals in speaking, set some objectives and time lines, assess your strengths and weaknesses, and then decide if you have the tools and abilities to go where you want to go. If you want to go higher than you dreamed and get there faster, with less stress, consider working with a presentation coach.

Good luck to you!

To learn more about how presentation coaching can help you become a better, more confident speaker, visit Bill Cole, MS, MA, the Mental Game Coach™ at

Copyright © Bill Cole, MS, MA 2005, 2011 All rights reserved.

This article covers only one small part of the mental game. A complete mental training program includes motivation and goal-setting, pre-event mental preparation, post-event review and analysis, mental strengthening, self-regulation training, breath control training, mental rehearsal, concentration training, pressure-proofing, communication training, confidence-building, breaking through mental barriers, slump prevention, mental toughness training, flow training, relaxation training, psych-out proofing and media training.

For a comprehensive overview of your mental abilities you need an assessment instrument that identifies your complete mental strengths and weaknesses. For a free, easy-to-take 66-item presentation skills assessment tool you can score right on the spot, visit This assessment gives you a quick snapshot of your strengths and weaknesses in your mental game. You can use this as a guide in creating your own mental training program, or as the basis for a program you undertake with Bill Cole, MS, MA to improve your mental game. This assessment would be an excellent first step to help you get the big picture about your mental game of speaking and giving presentations.

Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and President of the International Mental Game Coaching Association, Bill is also founder and CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps organizations and professionals achieve more success in business, life and sports. He is a multiple Hall of Fame honoree, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments visit him at

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