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         As the football craze surrounds us this time of year it brings to mind a simple question: “What makes a great coach?” From that question I thought it would be time to share some insights on the coaching process in the presentation world. You may hate public speaking, but you can still be a great source of productive support for others if you train yourself to be a good coach!

Help them relax! Most people prepping for a big speech or media interview get nervous – and don’t really work to get past that nervousness. As a coach you can set a practice plan that will put that nervousness in the rearview mirror! With your help they can have a roadmap of working on their content, then working on their delivery and finally going through it in its entirety so that it feels comfortable. Next thing you know, you’re the hero and everyone feels better about the finished product!

Get them out of the weeds! Often the speaker wants to launch into ALL of the details they know about the topic. Rarely does the audience want that much information. They want the highlights. The coach helps the speaker edit content down to a much more manageable message. You will have done a favor for both the speaker and the audience!

Be a cheerleader! Prep work for a presentation can take some time. It can be easy to lose focus or enthusiasm for the process, but that won’t happen if you are a good coach! Remind your presenter the audience will be ready to hear what they have to say and time spent NOW will pay off big time LATER. If you stay focused on the end product, your speaker will be very thankful when the applause is raining down on them. If the person you are coaching is your boss, that can’t be a bad thing!

Remind them a good speaker is a rare find! No matter the skill level of your presenter, if they improve because of your direction everyone benefits. The audience may be surprised at how much better they are. The speaker may be surprised they were actually able to enjoy the experience. And you will be seen a key to the success. Again, that can’t be a bad thing!

What makes a great coach? Often, it is not so much about having perfect knowledge of every situation. Instead, it is about the focus and energy you put into the cause. Be the person your speaker can count on to get them to a better place and they will be forever grateful.

Now go out there and do it!


Please follow along through the month @CaryPfeffer


Cary Pfeffer is the founder of ClearComm Consulting,, a Scottsdale, AZ communications consulting firm that helps people tell their story. He works with clients to make the most of their media and live audience communication. Email him at: