Many executive coaches come from the business world, where they apply their experience in leadership to their coaching practice. Serving as a leader is the best training for coaching a leader: you can identify with your client’s challenges and needs.
As a leader, you may have acquired presentation skills and experience speaking to groups of people. Don’t think these skills can be left behind when you enter the coaching field! Business and management coaches often need to make compelling presentations to clients in the proposal phase and/or the findings, solutions or results phases. Even if you eventually coach an individual, presentations are commonly given to management teams.
Contrary to what some coaches think, making convincing presentations is critical for success. Here are a few practices that support the best presentations:
Best Practices for Executive Coaches
Most people need to hear information three times before they grasp it. Employ the triple-awareness technique of preview-view-review. Start out with your summary: summarize the topic you’re going to cover. Next, cover your material. Finally, wrap up with a summary of what you just covered.
With a triple exposure, people will be more likely to retain, and retrieve, you and your information.
2. Clarity & simplicity
People need to receive clear and concise information, or they will become confused…or worse…bored. Organize your talk into logical segments where the relationship and flow are clear. Cover only one topic at a time and stick to your theme. Rabbit trails and repetition clutter your delivery.
Speak at a reasonable pace using clear and basic language. Keep your material simple enough for non-experts to understand, yet sophisticated enough to convey the power and impact of your message.
Words alone rarely stimulate and hold peoples’ attention for long. Use visual effects with simple, yet enhancing appeal. Too much stimulation distracts and is confusing. Better to have more slides that are simple, than few that are packed. Don’t make your audience work hard to see what you’re telling them.
Fluctuate your voice between calm and passionate. This draws your audience’s interest and keeps them in anticipation. When creating visuals (i.e. presentations), take the images, leave the words. Don’t create presentations laden with words, rather, include engaging images. When necessary, use words or short phrases in bullet form. Above all, don’t read directly from a word heavy presentation. No one wants to be read to, especially when they can see the words!
4. Lively discussion
Confirm that your audience grasps your message: ask simple questions. As you make your presentation, allow (and encourage) questions. Let brief discussion make an effective impact, as long as it doesn’t drag you off course. (Use a parking lot to gather questions that need to be answered at a later time.) Be mindful enough to stay on track.
Also allow for a question and answer time after you present. Respond to questions with the same clarity and simplicity as your presentation. Always appear grateful for their attention and desire to ask questions.
Take the time to polish your presentation skills. The right blend of knowledge, wisdom and presence will make you memorable, for the right reasons. What do you think? Send us an email; we’d love to hear from you.