September 21, 2010

Why you won't see before and after videos of my clients

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I occasionally have a prospect who asks to see "before and after" videos of my clients. I don't offer this for several reasons, but mostly because each client has her or his own goals to achieve, and watching someone else's video will not tell you anything about their achievements.

Here are some of my clients' goals for coaching:

* I really just want to learn how to be comfortable in front of a crowd... I don't want to be defeated by insecurities or self-consciousness

* To become confident and comfortable in public speaking situations. It also wouldn't hurt to become a more effective communicator

* To learn skills. When I feel prepared my anxiety is diminished tremendously

* I want to move from good to great as a speaker

* To learn how to build an excitement within my audience for my subject

* To learn how to tell my story

* To stop feeling nervous and to be more natural, spontaneous and confident

* To be the best I can be

* To be comfortable, prepared, and give an excellent speech

* To make my presentation interesting, organize my presentation, get the point across in a positive way

* To enjoy public speaking, not dread it, and to have the audience enjoy the experience too

* Increase impact learning and motivating audience into action needed

* Being able to make a presentation where I can control my focus, attention and emotion

* Become a better public speaker

If your goal in getting coaching is to overcome nervousness, how can you prove you've succeeded to someone else who may not even notice your nervousness in the first place?

If your goal is to control your focus and attention, and another speaker's goal is to become a successful motivational speaker, your accomplishments might appear to be seriously lacking to the person with the loftier goal.

It's impossible to compare one speaker-in-training with another, because each person has different skills they are learning, different style and personality, and different goals to accomplish. Even the goal "to be a better speaker" is all relative.

A speaker who wants to be more spontaneous and confident may indeed feel more spontaneous and confident after a few sessions, and this will spur him to find and accept more opportunities to speak and to continue building his skills. But to put that client up for judgment in front of someone who doesn't know him, his achievements or his struggles makes no sense and is not productive.

Each of us is constantly learning, and we each have our own reasons for wanting to be better speakers. We each have our own areas of improvement we focus on.

I have a couple of speakers who want to be motivational speakers and tell their story to a lot of people. They're just starting out and their videos would mean very little to you. But they are making leaps and strides at every session, internal growth and mental readjusting that no one can see but them, in addition to outwardly visible improvement of skills.

I have other clients who want to do better at work; I have clients who want to build their businesses; I have clients who want to be better prepared, engage the audience more, reduce anxiety or get better at communicating. I even have a client who wants to be able to tell her story without crying.

Ultimately, we all want to give better presentations by the audience's standard, to wow the audience, keep them engaged and be memorable enough that they will take the desired action after our talk. But we won't make external, visible changes until we have made internal, invisible changes.

Each person has her own standards, her own path to follow, her own challenges to overcome, and her own way of knowing when the objective has been accomplished. Each person knows in her heart what success will feel like, and it may not look anything like what you think success looks like.

And that's perfectly all right!

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