Choosing a Public Speaking Coach: What Most People Overlook

Find the right speaking coach for you.

Choosing a public speaking coach can be challenging. With thousands of coaches  worldwide, zeroing in on one that best fits your needs can seem daunting.

I coach hundreds of clients every year – execs from companies like Amazon, Google and IBM, to ambitious entrepreneurs like Ruben Hassid and Lara Acosta who are building their personal brands. The one thing they all have in common: they want to grow their influence and impact every time they speak. They all found me on LinkedIn. But how can you find a coach who you sync with, and who can offer you the biggest transformation?

LinkedIn pic Choosing a Public Speaking Coach: What Most People Overlook

It’s not just about finding any coach, but finding the one who understands and can improve your unique speaking style. This guide will show you exactly how a public speaking coach can help you improve the way you speak – and how to find the right one for you.

What is a Public Speaking Coach?

In this section, you’ll:

– Gain clarity on the role of a public speaking coach.

– Understand the impact of a public speaking coach on improving public speaking abilities.

A woman on her desk thinking where to find a speaking coach

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk

Role and Responsibilities of a Public Speaking Coach

Defining a Public Speaking Coach

A public speaking coach is a trained professional who guides individuals in improving their communication skills. As coaches, we provide tools, techniques, and advice tailored to our client’s requirements. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or new at public speaking, improving your speaking skills helps you get your next promotion, client or partnership.

Having been a speaking coach for 10+ years, I help CEOs and entrepreneurs grow into impactful speakers. I give them tools and actionable techniques to improve their confidence, enhance their delivery style and develop more memorable presentations, podcasts and video courses.

The Job Spectrum of a Public Speaking Coach

A misconception that a lot of people have is that “public speaking” is for big stages. However, I often get clients who don’t want to prep for a specific talk or presentation. They want to be impactful regardless of when or where they speak.

A public speaking coach offers a lot more than just improving speaking skills. We help with stress management, storytelling, listening skills, persuasion, building rapport, and adapting communication to different audiences.

In short, a coach can transform you into a compelling speaker. Anywhere.

Your communication skills can increase your chances of success – whether or not you’re speaking on a big stage or to a small room of investors.

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The Importance of a Public Speaking Coach

Bridging the Gap in Public Speaking Skills

Very often, senior leaders and entrepreneurs either underestimate or overestimate their speaking skills. I come across a number of subject matter experts who are unable to articulate that expertise with clarity and precision. I also see a fair number of leaders who are oblivious to how they lose their audience within minutes of starting their presentations.  

business executives participating business meeting Choosing a Public Speaking Coach: What Most People Overlook

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A public speaking coach can enhance your speaking skills regardless of whether you get stage fright or whether you’re above average but not outstanding as a speaker yet. By identifying areas for improvement, a coach paves the way for developing more confident, persuasive and engaging speakers. We help uncover potential blind spots in your public speaking skills and guide you towards overcoming them.

The Ripple Effect of a Public Speaking Coach

The value of a public speaking coach extends beyond just verbal communication. A coach can impact your overall persona, influence, and credibility.

As coaches, we bring about a positive ripple effect, from fostering stronger team relations and business connections to elevating career progression. Our constructive feedback, practical techniques, and continual motivation go a long way in shaping your public speaking skills while also reflecting in other areas of your professional life.

A Client’s Success Story

Wes, an introverted entrepreneur, once struggled with severe stage fright. Every time he had to speak, his mind went blank, and he stumbled over his words. But then, he came to me, seeking help to overcome his fears and speak confidently.

Wes and I worked on his transformation journey. We silenced his negative self-talk and boosted his confidence. Wes practiced speaking on the spot, using improv techniques as we created a safe environment for him to grow.

With dedication and perseverance, Wes started to shine. He went from struggling to express his ideas to confidently engaging in spontaneous conversations. Soon, he was meeting with clients effortlessly and creating captivating videos for his YouTube channel—all without a script!

Wes’s progress was remarkable. Through our collaboration, he turned his fear of public speaking into enthusiasm and empowerment. His business did really well, and he realized how powerful his voice could be.

In Wes’s own words: “Working with Nausheen as a coach was the best investment he ever made.” His journey is a testament to the incredible transformation that is possible when you have the right guidance and support.

When Should You Hire a Public Speaking Coach?

– Public speaking coaches can alleviate fears associated with public speaking. 

– Coaches can significantly enrich your presentation skills. 

– Furthermore, these professionals can enhance every aspect of your communication capabilities.

Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking

Engaging a public speaking coach may be one of the most effective ways to combat the dread of public speaking. A credible coach can not only help identify the root cause of your fear but develop tailored strategies to address and minimize it.

Expert coaches understand that every person’s fear of public speaking is unique and offer personalized methods addressing individual needs. We provide practice techniques – from breathing exercises to thought reframing – strengthening mental resilience when facing an audience.

Improving Presentation Skills

Most presentations are average. If you truly want to stand out every time you present, a public speaking coach can dramatically improve your presentation skills. From crafting compelling narratives to delivering them effectively, your coach can provide feedback and guidance to make your presentations stand out. 

Coaches guide on best practices for visual aids – how they should be used, when and where. We help you develop a knack for storytelling – an underrated but powerful tool in captivating audiences. Moreover, we also provide guidance on voice modulation, pacing and body language – things one might overlook but which ultimately play a critical role in commanding an audience’s attention.

Enhancing Communication Skills

Improving communication skills is crucial for any kind of professional success. A coach helps you develop a unique speaking style that matches your personality and message.

Moreover, coaches can equip you with powerful tools to engage audiences, facilitate discussions, and tackle challenging questions. Above all, we teach you to adapt your communication style to fit different audiences and context settings – a skill that takes the effectiveness of your communication to a new level. 

Benefits of Hiring a Public Speaking Coach 

  • Fuels exponential business growth
  • Bolsters personal growth
  • Fuels career advancement

Exponential business growth

Speaking in public is a big part of how people see you as an entrepreneur. When you speak in videos, others get a better sense of who you are than just from reading what you write. Potential clients, partners, and investors see you talking, and you become more familiar to them.

When you share your videos online, you’re in control of how people see your brand. Even if you spoke to a small group, a video of your talk could reach thousands or tens of thousands of people online. This helps more people know about you and trust you.

By speaking in public and sharing your story on different platforms, you can make yourself more visible and get your message seen, heard and remembered.

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Personal Growth and Development

Having a public speaking coach can be a game changer in your personal and professional development. 

Your biggest chances to grow often come from your deepest fears. A public speaking coach helps turn your fear of public speaking into a strength. With regular feedback and practice, we can help you overcome the fear of public speaking, which lays a strong foundation for personal growth. Acquiring public speaking skills can improve confidence, critical thinking, and leadership abilities.

And if you’re not scared of speaking in public? The right coach can help you enhance your speaking skills, regardless of whether you’re going from 0 to 1 or from 90 to 99 in your speaking skills.

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Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

Career Advancement 

Advancing in one’s career or industry involves more than just mastering hard skills or achieving performance metrics. A vital aspect often overlooked is one’s ability to effectively communicate and influence – two abilities which can be significantly improved with public speaking coaching.

Most clients I work with are either speaking as senior leaders for the first time in their companies or are hoping to get promoted to senior leadership.

But you can’t expect to be promoted as a senior leader if you don’t speak as one. Working with a coach can exponentially improve your chances of getting promoted and of your team and peers seeing you as the leader you are.

A good public speaking coach helps you present ideas convincingly, succinctly, and engagingly, whether you’re delivering a formal presentation or talking to your team..

As a skilled public speaker, you’re likely to gain recognition at industry events like conferences, workshops, or panel discussions. This boosts your professional reputation as well as your company brand, helps with networking, and opens up career and business opportunities.

How to Find a Good Public Speaking Coach

– Knowing what a public speaking coach does and why they’re important is the first step.

– Essential qualities in a public speaking coach ensure your success in public speaking.

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Understanding the Role of a Public Speaking Coach

Firstly, public speaking coaches go beyond the basic “how tos” of speaking in public. Think of us as your personal trainers for communication. Every great speaker is supported by a skilled coach who provides feedback, identifies areas for improvement, and ensures effective speaker-audience interaction. 

The right coach can help you build skills that you’ll be using for life.

“The one easy way to become worth 50 percent more than you are now at least is to hone your communication skills–both written and verbal.”Warren Buffet

Key Qualities to Look for in a Coach 

You should look for 3 key qualities in a public speaking coach:

  1. Relevant experience
  2. Their own communication skills
  3. Their coaching style

A speaking coach in session with a client

Photo from Unsplash

1. Relevant experience: Consider what your coach’s background and experience are: For example, I see a lot of actor-turned-public speaking coaches. So if you’re choosing someone whose primary medium has been the stage, keep in mind that they may not be the best person to guide you on how to do online podcasts, webinars or create courses.

Conversely, there are also a number of video makers who coach folks on how to speak on camera. A coach like that may not be the best choice if you want to speak on a big stage.

Match your goals, your industry and your personality with your coach. A seasoned coach has a wealth of knowledge and practical lessons from diverse client profiles – and they know what works. They’ve seen it all, the great, the good, the bad, and the downright awful!

2. The coach’s own communication skills: This sounds obvious but it’s shocking how often it’s overlooked. Remember, these professionals aren’t just there to teach or perform for you, they’re there to listen too. Good coaches will actively listen to your needs, understand your objectives, and create the best plan tailored uniquely to you.

Watch out for coaches that simply ask you to mimic what they do. They likely aren’t going deep enough to figure out what your style is and might want to force fit you into a style that’s not yours.

3. Coaching style: Accountability and empathy should be at the core of the coach’s methodology. Coaches should be able to hold you accountable for your progress, motivating you to accomplish your goals while empathizing and acknowledging your fears and concerns. 

Aim to find a coach whose methods match your learning style. Are you the kind of person who prefers frequent check-ins but your coach is hands-off? Do you thrive on ultra-customized coaching but your coach has a specific methodology they teach? These might be early signs that the coach isn’t a good fit for you.

Without a conscious evaluation of these attributes, you could potentially set up for a mediocre journey in your public speaking. Remember, the more knowledgeable and adaptable your coach is, the smoother your path to becoming an effective and engaging public speaker.

Check the Coach’s Credentials

A man checking files

Understanding a coach’s qualifications is the first step to assessing their suitability. Not all public speaking coaches are created equal, and their certifications, affiliations, and experience can differ greatly. 

In the sea of self-proclaimed “experts”, it’s essential to verify the coach’s background. Look at their qualifications, experiences, and client’s testimonials. This will give you an understanding of their expertise and how they can help you.

Understand the Coaching Approach

Every coach has a unique approach. Some might focus more on theory and knowledge, while others might prioritize practice and real-life experiences. The key is to choose a coach whose methodology aligns with your learning style.

My Speak as a Leader System

I’ve coached leaders at IBM, Amazon, AT&T to become confident and impactful speakers through my signature Speak as a Leader System.

It’s completely personalized to your unique needs:

Find your Spark

We kickstart our journey by doing a deep dive into your speaking skills.
What are you already a champ at and where could you use a little help?
Then we create your 360°, no-holds-barred, speaker profile.

Ignite Your Speaking Skills

You lean the tools to bring clarity, energy, confidence to every talk and presentation.
You’ll be able to apply targeted strategies to overcome your limiting beliefs and fears that hold you back.

Fire it up

We’re in this together – you talk, I guide.
We analyze your performance, pinpoint the highs and lows, and establish strategies for your continuous improvement.

Choosing a public speaking coach is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. It’s a deeply personal journey where the right coach can catalyze your success in delivering compelling presentations. Keep these points in mind, and you will be in a favorable position to make an informed decision.

Where to Look for a Public Speaking Coach

Your journey towards mastery in public speaking starts with finding the right coach. Yet it’s often a daunting task. Instead of spending hours googling and wading through ads, I’d advise you to use LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is the best place to find coaches, interact with them and their content and go deeper to find great matches.

If you search for “public speaking” or “public speaking coach” on LinkedIn, you’ll find coaches who are sharing content about how they coach, their success stories and the kind of programs they offer. Once you come across something interesting, don’t hesitate to start a conversation. 

Remember, the coach’s physical location matters less if you’re open to online learning. A great coach can coach you on the best principles and practices without being there in person. 

Understanding the Investment Needed for a Public Speaking Coach

Set to invest in a public speaking coach? Here’s what you’ll need:

– An understanding of the factors setting the price of coaching sessions

– Strategies to set aside funds for this engagement

A woman  on her laptop encoding her credit card details for payment

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Factors Influencing the Cost of a Coach

When looking to hire a public speaking coach, costs can drastically differ. It’s important to note the following key triggers.

Coach Base Rate: Does their level of experience justify their rates? Established coaches bring years of experience and often price accordingly. Expect to pay anywhere between several hundreds to a thousand dollars or more per hour for their personalized coaching.

Watch-out for coaches who charge much below industry averages. They may not be as experienced – or worse, they might teach you incorrect principles or methodologies that hinder your progress.

Individual vs Group Coaching: Prepare to invest 3 – 5 times higher for individual, personalized coaching as compared to group programs. The advantages of a group program are that you get access to world class coaches for a fraction of their one-on-one programs. 

Specialized Knowledge: Coaches specializing in a specific niche, such as motivational speaking or TED talk preparations, might charge more due to their specialized expertise. This is good news because if you work with a coach who is too generalized, they may not be the best one for your specific goals. 

If you want to start working with a coach, consuming their public content as well as their paid courses might be a good point to start. This will help you understand if you’re in sync with their ideas, personality and worldview. 

VIP vs Standard Packages: Most coaches offer varying packages with different price tags. Standard coaching offers generally include preset sessions, while VIP packages may include perks like 24/7 availability, additional feedback, and more. 

How to Budget for a Public Speaking Coach

Ready to invest in a coach? Here’s how to ensure your wallet can handle the transition.

Prioritize: This isn’t a casual expense; it’s an investment in your future. If becoming a better public speaker is a priority for your professional growth, other less impactful expenses might need to take a backseat.

Plan ahead: Factor these expenses into your annual budget. If necessary, start setting aside a small amount each month in anticipation of these costs.

Seek Employer’s Support: If your improved public speaking skills benefit your employer, they may be willing to contribute towards the expense. It never hurts to ask.

Financial Aid and Installment Plans

Don’t let sticker shock deter you; many coaching services offer financial aid or flexible payment schedules. Reach out to potentially suitable coaches, explain your circumstances, and enquire about possible financial arrangements.

Remember, expanding your skills is always an investment that pays off massively in the longer run – both in terms of personal growth and potential career advancements.

Evaluating a Public Speaking Coach

– Role of reviews, testimonials and initial consultations in final decision making

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Seeking Reviews and Testimonials

Hearing firsthand experiences from previous clients offers a more personal take on how the coach impacted their speaking ability. 

Consider how clients describe their gains. Look for changes in confidence, clarity, and the ability to captivate an audience. Note if clients point out the coach’s adaptability to different learning styles and their capacity to address specific issues or fears.

The Power of Honest Feedback 

While positive testimonials are encouraging, don’t turn a blind eye to negative reviews. They can reveal red flags like inflexible training methods, failure to deliver results, or poor interpersonal skills. 

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Conducting an Initial Consultation

An initial consultation can serve as a firsthand assessment of the coach. It’s an opportunity to ask specific questions and evaluate the coach’s communication style and responsiveness. 

During this session, be keen on how the coach articulates their coaching process, their ability to understand your needs, and how they plan to achieve your goals. This meeting can reveal whether their approach aligns with your learning style and comfort level. 

Assessing Compatibility 

Even if a coach is experienced and highly recommended, if you don’t vibe with their personality or coaching style, it might hinder your progress.

Remember, the relationship you establish with your public speaking coach significantly affects your learning. A comfortable rapport can amplify the quality of the coaching experience and potentially accelerate your progress. 

You’re not simply hiring a coach. You are choosing a guide to transform your public speaking skills. Meticulous evaluation assures you won’t overlook crucial aspects in this decision-making process.

Starting Your Public Speaking Coaching Journey

Remember – a coach isn’t someone who has a magic key that can open the doors of infinite opportunity for you. The right coach is someone who can work with you side by side as you forge that key for yourself.

Now’s the time to dive into the exploration phase. Start looking for coaches, keeping in mind your specific needs and the key points from this guide. Request consultations, ask questions, and trust your intuition. 

Let’s talk and you’ll see how my coaching can empower your voice and transform your speaking journey. 

Nausheen I. Chen

Nausheen I. Chen

Nausheen I. Chen is a public speaking coach and a 3-time TEDx speaker. She coaches startup founders, entrepreneurs and execs at companies like IBM, Amazon, AT&T, Twitch, SAP to speak with impact and influence - anywhere.

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