Voice and Communication Coaching

Five Reasons Why You're Not Right For Communication Coaching

News Posted: 14 November 2021

'Come back after you've read this blog!'

'Come back after you've read this blog!'

Five Reasons Why You're Not Right for Communication Coaching

A wide range of people come to me for communication coaching. You might think that I’d work with anyone who needs this type of coaching. What I’ve noticed over time is that even though this work is hugely transformative not everyone is right for it.

I’m going to give my top five reasons why you might not be right for communication coaching:

  1. You don’t want to feel uncomfortable

Who wants to feel uncomfortable and more to the point pay for the privilege?! Communication coaching can make you feel just that! You’ve been communicating in the way you do for a very long time.

Here are some of the communication objectives my clients have had:

  • Speak with a voice that engages so that people listen and don’t interrupt.
  • Have more energy and charisma so that you can motivate and inspire.
  • Increase your personal presence so that you can communicate across your organisation.
  • Come across as credible and assertive so that you look, sound and feel like a leader.

Implementing these new behaviours may make you feel uncomfortable

because they’re different to your gut level response. Altering how you

show up in the world can feel very alien. You may feel for a while like

you aren’t being you.

If you want to increase your personal presence, for example, you’ll also have to deal with feeling more visible. This, in turn, can push you into territory that can make you feel exposed and vulnerable. Familiarity feels safe even if it’s not getting you what you want.

By adopting the behaviours that underline being assertive and credible you challenge your limiting belief systems that your current lack of credibility and assertion is based on. You may have been carrying around these beliefs for years and the result created the communication patterns you have now. So when you use different behaviour, your beliefs are challenged. This can be uncomfortable and confusing. The process may force you to recalibrate who you are at an identity level.

If you want to be comfortable and consider this a must then communication coaching isn’t for you.

  1. You don’t want to do ‘weird’ exercises with your voice and body

My way of working directly involves the physical and vocal aspects of communication as well as the language you use. For me, communication coaching is about how your body and voice communicates what’s in your head.

Let’s assume you’re the expert in your particular field. What you know and your understanding of your job isn’t in question. How you get that expertise across successfully is in effective use of voice, gesture and word. How you own those words, how they connect to you and how you land your message is a relationship between body, voice and mind. Since your knowledge is a given, the focus of communication coaching is how you physically transmit your message.

If you don’t look at the use of your voice, gesture, posture and presence nothing changes. So – you’ll do vocal exercises to make the voice strong and expressive. You’ll lie on the floor and do breathing exercises that connect the breath to the voice. You’ll even do strange exercises to make the body relaxed and grounded.

You’ll have already spent a lot of your time using your intellectual facilities. There can be a certain comfort in retreating into our heads where logic reigns and there at least appears order and reason. This is not where integrative communication sits.

If you don’t want to get physical and work with the body, breath and voice - don’t do communication coaching!

  1. You’re incredibly busy and you just don’t have the time to practise

You don’t think about how you communicate on a day to day basis. It happens subconsciously. Similarly for communication coaching to be truly effective any new skills you adopt need to move from being used consciously to being used unconsciously. When the skills drop to an unconscious level they’ve often become a part of your communication repertoire that requires no thinking to implement. They may also have been authentically integrated at identity level.

Rather like learning a musical instrument, you’re the instrument on which you have to practise. When you first learn new skills to communicate, it might feel clunky and wrong. Practice will make them feel natural and easy.

Some practice can be done while you’re talking to someone at work – either in person or on a virtual platform. That could be one to one, in a meeting or a presentation of some kind. Other more focussed practice requires 15 minutes here, 10 minutes there, occasionally a whole half an hour! The more regular the practice is, the better. This is particularly true for voice coaching. I would even go so far as to say that if you want to work on your voice and don’t want to practise you’re wasting your time and money.

If you don’t want to put some practice in between sessions on a regular basis communication coaching may not bring you the results you hoped for.

  1. You want to see immediate results

You may well see immediate results in some areas of communication coaching. You may be given some techniques that you can take away and use directly. There are some areas though which require more time and practice. As I mentioned above, acquiring a stronger, more powerful voice in particular takes time and commitment. Why is this?

The nervous system controls our body via the transference of impulses through neural pathways. Neural pathways are a series of connected nerves along which electrical impulses travel in the body.

New behaviours involve the formation of new neural pathways.

To implement a new habit or behaviour we have to repeat an action until it’s defined in the brain as a new neural pathway and can happen without us thinking about it.

For years it’s been bandied around that it takes 21 days to create a new neural pathway. However, more recent research, carried out by Phillippa Lally at University College London in 2009, found on average it takes 66 days to create a habit. That is, perform a new behaviour automatically. Having said that, Lally found that people varied dramatically - from anywhere between 18 to 254 days!

If all this is sounding a bit depressing there’s good news! If you miss practising it doesn’t necessarily stop you moving forward – as long as you go back to some kind of regular routine. However, overall inconsistency did show that your progress will be hampered.

What I’ve found is that you can change someone’s breathing pattern and immediately slow the pace of their voice. For this to be used automatically when the stakes are high – like in a presentation – will take practice so the body can do this under pressure.

People can respond more positively to you after your first session of communication coaching. However, think long term when working on the voice and communication.

If you want a quick fix rather than a lasting, natural and authentic change then communication coaching isn’t for you.

  1. You don’t want to feel your emotions

There are a number of reasons why communication coaching will put you in touch with your feelings.

This type of coaching involves moving your awareness from your head into your body. If you’re developing your voice you may need to release long held tension, for example, in your shoulders. This will, in turn, allow your voice to function more efficiently. Letting go of this tension may also release emotional patterns that originally created the tension in your shoulders in the first place. This could be feelings of sadness, fear or anger.

In the type of communication coaching I do there’s much more emphasis on changing your behaviours than changing how you think and feel. However, with a change in your communication skills there will be a relational change in your thinking. The relationship between your physical and your psychological expression is termed ‘psychophysical’. I define ‘psychophysical’ here as ‘the relationship between your internal psychology and how that translates to your communication’.

This psychophysical change can result in a battle between your new found communicative empowerment and your old mind-set that would like to keep things the way they were. This can give rise to internal feelings of conflict, stress and vulnerability. However, as your skills become more practised and begin to reap benefits the battle subsides. The mind finds that this new way of behaving is neither dangerous nor detrimental to your well-being and will eventually get on board!

Communication coaching can put you in touch with the negative feelings that underline your communication, though not always. This doesn’t last for long but people are often surprised when it happens.

Is it all worth it

Listing the above five reasons why communication coaching may not be for you I draw attention to obstacles that I’ve noticed people struggle with. It may also sound like a miserable journey full of pit holes and emotional turmoil. This is absolutely not the case. For starters, communication coaching isn’t psychotherapy. It doesn’t directly touch on the emotionally charged content and history that therapy does. It’s much more a journey into exploring how the body and voice works for you rather than against you. I’m always amazed at the enjoyment and pleasure people take from this type of work. Also, how quickly people progress and the skills can be applied.

As I tend to work with logic-driven senior management with backgrounds in IT, finance, fintec, engineering and law some of the above five reasons may trip them up more than other types of people. This doesn’t mean this will necessarily happen. Communication coaching will transform how you show up in the world and give you your own personal brand of charisma that will be an invaluable asset professionally. If you’re willing to put the work in and persevere when you feel uncomfortable the rewards are priceless. The skills you learn will last a life time and support you in all aspects of life.

Next Steps

Before working with clients I recommend a 30 minute consultation on zoom to discuss how this type of coaching can work for you. I then draw up a detailed proposal of your learning outcomes, your journey to get to your goals and the time frame involved. I then present this back to you in another zoom call. There's no fee for this process and no obligation to continue.

Put your name and email address here and I’ll get back to you.

Author Posted by: Louise Collins.

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