Presence Coaching Best Practices
The next time your coachee delivers a presentation or leads a meeting, pay attention to their presence. Take notes: draw a line down the middle of the page and write what’s working on one side and suggestions for improvement on the other.
During a Leadership Presence program last week, a participant pulled me aside and said, “This is a totally different kind of training. I’ve been to a lot of trainings but I’ve never had the opportunity to try something, get coaching and then try it again. It feels like it could stick.”
That’s no accident. The Ariel Group methodology is designed for transformational learning and is based on the way actors rehearse and develop their craft.
Brain science supports this methodology. The speech and thought centers are in two completely different areas of the brain. “Rehearsing” out loud moves us from the thought center to the speech center, allowing us to easily repeat changes we’ve made in the way we present ourselves.
Why not take a page from the Ariel handbook and try coaching a direct report on their presence during an upcoming meeting or presentation? Here is a step-by-step process to help you get started:
- Watch them in action. The next time your coachee delivers a presentation or leads a meeting, pay attention to their presence. Take notes: draw a line down the middle of the page and write what’s working on one side and suggestions for improvement on the other.
- Endorse, endorse, endorse. After the meeting or presentation, tell your coachee specifically what they are doing well. You might say, “The story you told at the beginning of the presentation was very compelling and had a strong teaching point – I could tell people were really with you.”
- Give specific, actionable feedback. Tell them 1-2 things to work on so as not to overwhelm them (even if there are 10 areas for improvement). Focus on behaviors, not personal judgments; for example, “You lost volume towards the end of your presentation and I was having a hard time hearing you,” as opposed to “You are coming off as under-confident.”
- Get them “on their feet.” Have your coachee go back to a tricky moment in the presentation or meeting and ask them to do it again. If you are already practicing Steps 1-3, chances are they will trust you enough to do that. Endorse them, remind them of the feedback, and then let them try it again right away and make the change. This way they can feel the change, which enables them to repeat the new behavior when they next present.
- Endorse, endorse, endorse. Notice the change in their delivery and presence and praise them for it. Think of yourself as a parent who wants this kind of behavior to continue. Don’t skip this step. Your coachee has just taken a big risk with you—reward them for it.
Good luck! Feel free to ask questions or let us know how your coaching session went in the comment section below.
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