(更新)專訪打造冠軍得主幕後英雄/Spotlight on Leon VanderPol
1. What are the criteria to be a good coach? What do you think your strength is to be a good coach?
For me the overriding criteria for a good coach is the ability to listen to the client, on a number of levels. While this sounds simple, it is in fact not so. The role of a coach is not to tell the speaker what to say or how to say it—a coach is not like the director of a performance. I believe that the best coaches are learners first: they ask questions to understand what the speaker desires to express—deeply wants to express. Lance Miller (2005 World Champion of Public Speaking) called that “Finding Your Voice”. Finding your authentic voice in speaking or in life is always a growth process, and a good coach is a partner in that process.
The coaching process entails asking first the right questions, then carefully listening and observing what is expressed. Then a coach reflects back to the speaker, just like a mirror, whether the speaker is moving towards their vision (or not) and what might need to shift to better realize that vision or voice.
For me it is not language perfection that makes a great speaker, it is whether they are speaking from a place of authenticity—that is the power that each of us has within us, and a good coach is there to bring that out of the speaker and help shape it into whatever form the speaker is striving to achieve, whether it is a business presentation or a speech contest.
As a coach, I truly enjoy partnering with people to find their true voice, because it gives me joy when that voice emerges. In addition, I love language and playing with words and they way they create emotion and meaning, so another of my coaching skill sets is helping to craft ideas into words. I admit the theatrical side of public speaking gives me a big kick too, and so I always weave in elements of play.
2. What were your strategies or approaches when you coached Tom Ashby? What was the biggest challenge for you?
Tom was my first speech coaching client and I didn’t have a grasp on my style or what I could really do for him. One day I approached him and said I was willing to be his coach, and he was open to the offer. I had to just feel my way along, rather than using any particular strategy, although I did listen to a number of CDs from professional speaking coaches to help me understand coaching from a wider perspective.
The approach I did take was to actively support him to achieve what he wanted to achieve, which I understood to take his speaking to a new level and to leverage the speech contest process to do that. Winning the speech contest was an objective for Tom, but it was not the number one objective—finding his voice and to give a speech on a topic that mattered to him was— and so “winning” was not what we held foremost in our minds as we prepared for the contest.
In order for Tom to reach a new level in his speaking, we discovered that he had to break a number of habitual speaking patterns. For example, when he wanted to add emotion to his voice, he would speak directly from his throat, and the tones of his voice became unnaturally high and strained. We all have our habitual speaking patterns, and what makes breaking them especially hard is if those patterns have worked for us—if those ways have contributed to our success. So these patterns were not bad habits, they were success habits! But, they were also standing in the way of him moving to a new level.
3. In the process of your coach, did you encounter any difficulties? What were they and how did you overcome them?
Replacing old habits with new habits takes a high level of self awareness at all times, and a strong commitment to the learning process. The toughest part is that for a while, while you are shifting gears and experimenting with new styles, things can seem to be getting worse and falling apart—and this can be quite discouraging.
A good coach needs to understand these very human responses and to maintain a stable and accepting presence of support and motivation throughout, and this was my greatest personal challenge as a new coach through that time with Tom. I needed to let him process his learning in his own way. I had to learn when to step out of the way and when to get involved, when to speak and when to listen, when to make suggestions and when to just be silent. Watching someone else struggle is hard for me, and my natural inclination is to jump in and try to solve the issue. But good coaching requires the coach to be self aware as well, and to really tune in to what the person needs—which is sometimes nothing more than space and silence.
4. What type of people would be good coaches?
The kind of people who desire to be of service to others. Coaching is, at its essence, heart driven. For some people the pull to be of service to humanity is so strong, and if you answer that call within you then I believe you will make a magnificent coach. And I say this in relation to speech coaching or any other kind of coaching. Coaches are amazing people because they serve.
5. How can a coach help a contestant?
A coach is your partner in your unique process towards a goal that you define. And it does not matter if your goal is to compete at a club level or to win the national championship, a coach’s role is to enable that process. A coach lifts up your dream when you feel like letting it go. A coach holds up a mirror so you can see what did see not before. A coach stands ready to catch you when you jump higher than you have ever jumped before. And a coach celebrates your every attempt to become what you know you can become. If this sounds good to you, then you can be helped by a coach.
6. Do you have any advice for those who are invited to be someone's coach? Are there any tips?
When I first started coaching, I had no idea how much I had to learn. Good coaching starts with learning—the coach’s learning. If you feel you are ready to coach, then I say go for it!
Be prepared: to learn from other coaches, to learn from the array of resources on-line, to learn from your client (to listen), to learn from your difficulties, and most importantly to learn to trust your own judgment—your own sense of knowing.
Coaching continues to give me the most delightful rewards, in ways that I never expect, and I encourage any one with the desire to try, to do so.
Leon VanderPol is a certified life coach and a professional speaker trainer. In addition to coaching people who desire to transform their lives, also conducts seminars and workshops on speaking and presentation skills for executive teams from international corporations. To contact about coaching or training, feel free to call him at 0956-161-437.
對我而言，成為一個優良教練的標準是能夠在不同層次下傾聽顧客的能力。這話聽起來很簡單，事實上卻不容易。教練的角色不是要告訴演講者該說什麼或者是如何說—教練也不是演奏家。我相信最優秀的教練是個一流的學習者。他們透過提問來了解演講者所想要表達的想法—內心深處想要表達的。Lance Miller (2005 世界演講冠軍)稱此為” 發掘你的潛能”。找尋你在演講與人生中真實的潛能，是個一直在成長的過程，而一個好的教練在這樣的過程中，扮演著夥伴的角色。