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IMGCA Article - The Mental Game of Speaking and Presentations


Playing The Mental Game Of Self-Coaching

For Anyone Who Presents

Bill Cole, MS, MA

Top performing professional speakers regularly look for help from coaches, gurus, peers, books and other sources. But all the information in the universe won't help if it's not translated into useable form. This is where self-coaching takes center stage. Self-coaching is the ability to combine knowledge about yourself with outside information to make meaningful, positive changes in your life and to perform well when you need it most.

No one can teach you anything. Ultimately, only you can take information from a teacher or coach and transform it into your personal power. Savvy speakers take responsibility for their own learning and devise strategies and systems that put information into action.

Here are five mental game success secrets that peak performing speakers can use to improve their self-coaching skills.

  1. Be Willing To Grow. If you are reading this article about self-coaching it means you want to grow as a human being. This desire is manifested by your seeking experiences that help you improve personally, as well as professionally. The self-coaching speaker realizes that to grow professionally, personal growth is a must.

  2. Cultivate A Beginner's Mind. The Zen tradition says, that to learn, we must be an empty vessel. If we know it all, we can't be very open to new knowledge and experiences. The self-coaching speaker realize that an open, seeking attitude allows new experiences to come into our consciousness.

  3. Benefit From Mistakes. Peak performers respect mistakes and use them to learn. Poor performers tie themselves up with negative emotion after every mistake. When we view any mistake as failure, our self-destructive emotions mask the valuable feedback around every mistake. The self-coaching speaker welcomes all feedback.

  4. Develop High Self-Awareness. Self-awareness is not about what should be-it is about what is. The self-coaching speaker places a high priority on becoming self-aware and realizes that self-knowledge can be about the past or present. Self-awareness is the master skill.

  5. Deconstruct Your Personal Experience. Peak performers use self-reflection to deconstruct their experiences. They know that the unexamined life fleets by out of control. Only by reviewing personal experience do we gain some degree of awareness over what we have done and over who we are. The self-coaching speaker embraces this process so new realities and realizations can be consciously created out of that.

  6. Develop A Mental Game Plan. Take these three questions as a start in developing your self-coaching action plan this week.

    a. What systems can you develop to increase self awareness about yourself? Can you write in a journal? Speak your thoughts into a tape recorder?

    b. Who can you partner with to assist you in your self-coaching quest?

    c. How will you translate what you learn about yourself into immediately useful action?

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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