I was recently coaching one of my executive clients who works in the financial services industry. As I met with this high-level executive in one of our sessions, I was surprised to hear that he was sending one of his junior-level supervisors out to speak to an assembly at the local high school. Anyone who has ever spoken in front of an assembly of teenagers knows how brutal this can be. I asked what he was doing to coach this supervisor to success. He told me he was giving her some brochures and that he had introduced her to the principal of the school, but that was about it. He didn’t have time to talk to her about the scope of the presentation. I was a little concerned that the stage was being set for failure.
As a manager or supervisor, it is our job to help those who work for us to be the best at whatever they tackle. I applaud this executive’s decision to give his subordinate an opportunity to try something new, but suggested that he take the time to better prepare her.
Some of the things I suggested were that they talk together about the audience and discuss ways to reach this age group with examples and giveaways that have meaning to them in their young lives.
We also talked about the logistical part of the presentation discussing the time of day, size of the groups, and how the room would be arranged.
When it came to coaching him about the material to be presented, we discussed the best way to organize the information for greatest impact, knowing the speaker needed to grab the attention of this group in the first five seconds of beginning her presentation. (I told you this audience was tough!)
And we finally talked about the dreaded Q&A period that was sure to generate some wise-cracker or class clown asking some crazy question intended to throw the speaker off guard to get a laugh.
At the end of our coaching session, my client realized that there was so much more he needed to do to prepare his subordinate, colleague, and teammate for this assignment.
Happy to report…the presentation was a tremendous success!
How much time do you dedicate each week to coaching your staff?