A speech coach can help improve your public speaking skills and overcome any challenges you may be facing. For example, a speech coach can help you develop a clear and engaging speaking style, overcome stage fright, and effectively use your voice and body language. Additionally, a speech coach can provide you with personalized feedback and guidance that can help improve your public speaking skills and achieve your goals. So, while it's not necessary to have a speech coach, they can be a valuable resource for anyone looking to improve their public speaking skills.
Here are some most popular coaching services non-native speakers employ coaches for:
- Accent reduction training
- Public speaking coaching
- Presentation skills training
- Leadership communication coaching
- Executive speech coaching
- Media training for public appearances.
This article highlights the several benefits of employing a coach. We also discuss six factors to consider when looking for a coach.
Five Reasons to Work with a Public Speaking or Accent Reduction Coach
There are some outstanding apps to help you work on your speech challenges. While an app can certainly provide some useful tools and resources for improving your public speaking skills or monitor and check your speech throughout the day, it is not a substitute for a speech coach. A speech coach can provide personalized feedback and guidance based on your specific needs and goals, which can be very difficult for an app to replicate. Additionally, a speech coach can help you overcome any specific challenges you may be facing, such as stage fright or a lack of confidence, which an app may not be able to address. So, while an app can be a helpful resource, it cannot replace the benefits of working with a professional speech coach.
Imagine speaking to an American audience with a Chinese accent. Even with a well-delivered speech, the communication gap will be broad. But you can prevent such situations by hiring a coach to help with accent reduction and American intonation and rhythm, for example.
You may think, why do that when self-learning English speaking courses and speech-tracking tools are available. Here are five reasons why hiring a coach beats self-learning.
- A coach can provide personalized feedback and advice based on one’s goals. Unlike buying a one-size-fits-all course online, a speech coach will prepare training with your capabilities in mind. They spend time getting to know you, listen to your pronunciation and word usage, and take down notes regarding what lessons will help make progress. You might enter accent reduction training if you still have your local accent or need professional voice training. Whatever your goal is, your speech trainer will help you decide.
- A coach can help identify and address any areas of weakness or misunderstanding in an individual's speech. A coach may ask you questions about your goals and what you hope to achieve with your speech, which can help identify areas of improvement. Additionally, a coach may provide you with exercises or techniques to practice and improve specific skills. Overall, a coach can help identify opportunities for improvement and provide guidance on how to make progress.
- A coach can offer support and accountability, which can be helpful for maintaining motivation and making progress. Self-learning might be cost-effective yet it comes with a few downsides, and a lack of accountability is a part of them. It can lead to low motivation and poor results. Accountability helps you to beat learning milestones and produce better results. While a coach will guide you in your learning journey, you'll also receive regular tasks with deadlines that help keep you focused.
- A coach can provide a fresh perspective and offer new insights and techniques that the individual may not have considered on their own. Learning can seem monotonous when you don’t have anyone to ask questions. Using only a pronunciation app or speech assistant tool is you walking down this path of monotony. Coaches provide one-on-one live training sessions. You can ask your questions on the go, practice with your trainer while learning, and get feedback in real-time.
- A coach can guide you on how to practice and improve specific skills, that might be a part of an app or not. For voice projection, a coach may suggest practicing speaking loudly and clearly, using the diaphragm to support the voice, and speaking with intention and purpose. For enunciation: practicing speaking slowly and clearly, emphasizing the correct syllables and sounds, and using mouth and facial movements to help with pronunciation. For pacing: practicing speaking at a natural and comfortable pace, using pauses and silences effectively, and using gestures and body language to add emphasis and interest to the speech. Additionally, a coach may suggest using mirroring or recording techniques to help achieve speech goals.
Some other benefits working with an accent coach include options for a group training, where you learn together with other English as a second language (ESL) speakers to achieve a common goal. According to a survey by Hansen for the American Psychological Association, 95% of students enrolled in a group learning program experienced facilitated learning more than when they worked alone. The result showed that collaborative learning helps speed up your learning process.
Accent reduction is a long shot; making it on your own with a few pronunciation tools and free online courses takes longer. It might take a year or two to find the perfect course or tool for your level of proficiency and industry expectations. This might lead to reduced interest and a lack of confidence.
Oftentimes speech trainer learns about your proficiency by providing you with a pre-assessment test. In less time, you get onboarded into a customized learning program - spend less time, and hopefully get more results.
Follow six steps to find a speech coach
There are several coaching options you can choose from, depending on what fits your needs. To help you make better decisions, we have outlined the six coaching factors below.
1. Start with your speech goals
One of the best ways to find a speech coach is to understand your needs. Once you've settled this, you can easily go around sourcing a program. Here are some examples that might align with your goals.
Pronunciation Focused Coaching
English words have patterns for calling out each syllable of words. If you are a non-native speaker, you will most likely pronounce some English words incorrectly.
Chinese first-language speakers learning English will have several pronunciation challenges due to the nature of their language. A common error is the consonant cluster omission.
Pronouncing an English word that contains a consonant cluster is almost impossible for a Chinese ESL speaker. This is because their first language does not have consonant clusters. So they either add a vowel between the consonant clusters or change the sound to something similar. Here are some examples:
- French as Flench
- Drape as Dlape
- Cluster as Cusser
Another gap in the two language pronunciation is the absence of words ending with consonants in Chinese, except 'n' and 'ng'. So, Chinese ESL students pronounce:
- Change as chain
- And as andeu
- Kind as kindah
Several other languages have pronunciation patterns that make it difficult for ESL speakers to pronounce English words correctly. This can stand in the way of speaking in public or with your customers. However, public speaking coaches have options tailored to improve your pronunciation skills.
Accent Reduction Coaching
Overall, pronunciation and accent are related but distinct aspects of language.
Pronunciation refers to the way in which individual sounds or words are spoken, whereas an accent refers to the unique way in which a language is spoken by a particular group or region. Pronunciation involves the individual sounds and syllables that make up words, and how they are articulated. An accent, on the other hand, is a characteristic way of speaking that is associated with a particular group or region. It can involve differences in pronunciation, but it also includes other elements of language, such as vocabulary, grammar, and rhythm.
For example, someone may have perfect pronunciation when speaking a second language, but they may still have an accent that gives away their first language or regional background. We can tell the difference between an American English speaker and a British speaker by listening to them. They are both English speakers but use different accents.
Accent Reduction training usually covers the English language's phonology (sound system). May teach you the rhythm and pattern of sounding letters, words, phrases, and sentences in English.
Public Speaking Coaching
An accent can sometimes cause misunderstanding when speaking publicly. Depending on the audience and the context, an accent can make it difficult for people to understand what is being said, which can lead to confusion. This is especially likely to occur when the audience is not familiar with the accent or if the accent is very strong. In these cases, the accent can make it harder for the audience to understand the words being spoken, even if the pronunciation is correct.
In order to avoid misunderstanding due to accent, it may be helpful to speak slowly and clearly, and to consider using visual aids or other support to help the audience understand the message. Additionally, it can be helpful to ask for feedback from the audience or to have someone else listen to the speech and provide feedback on any potential misunderstandings. Overall, it is important to be aware of how an accent can impact communication and to take steps to ensure that the message is being understood.
For example, pronouncing dawn as down. So, hiring a coach will be a good decision to ensure you hit the right chords whenever you sound words.
2. Choose personalization level that works best for you
Coaches arrange training using several formats. Some you can choose from include:
- Pre-recorded fixed courses
- Group learning
- One-on-one coaching
Pre-recorded Fixed Courses
Courses in this format are general purpose and cover several angles. They might not directly address your needs but cover topics to benefit everyone.
If your schedule is unpredictable (e.g. as a medical doctor) and you need something flexible you can control, a pre-recorded fixed course is your best fit. The coach will supply you with a link to the videos, which you can follow at your pace and ask your questions later.
If you had fun working on group projects back in high school and prefer a classroom setting to a standalone environment, you will find the group learning format desirable.
Coaches organize regular group learning sessions with a maximum number of entries for ESL speakers. Each group may have a maximum number of people to enable the coach to monitor progress closely.
Group learning formats may include combined project activities and group tasks. It might also feature accountability partners, depending on the coach.
This coaching format involves a direct learning session with a trainer. Usually, you can book a number of sessions with the coach. You also will pay based on the duration of the session.
One-on-one coaching formats are best for those who prefer their privacy and enjoy undivisable learning attention. During the session, you can ask your questions and get answers on the go.
3. Ask about study materials
The materials and home assignments provided by a speech coach can vary depending on your needs and goals. Some common examples of materials and assignments that a coach may provide include:
- Exercises and techniques to practice and improve specific skills, such as voice projection, enunciation, or pacing.
- Reading materials or videos to help the individual learn about effective speaking techniques and strategies.
- Worksheets or quizzes to help the individual assess their progress and identify areas for improvement.
- Feedback on practice speeches or presentations, along with suggestions for improvement.
- Homework assignments, such as practicing a specific skill or giving a practice speech, to help the individual apply what they have learned and continue to improve.
Overall, a speech coach can provide a variety of tailored materials and assignments to help you make progress and achieve their objectives. Materials for speech training can come as texts, audio, or video format.
The texts, presentations, shared folders or PDFs will contain sounds, pronunciations, and examples with sentences. Many apps have audio and video materials with pre-recorded sound inputs and repetition exercises.
Some coaches heavily rely on live video conference call format for those who prefer live visual sessions. While others prefer pre-made programs with different customization levels. Hybrid options, when you follow a program but have regular syncs with a coach are also available.
4. Check how the progress will be tracked
Being unable to track progress can be a challenge for ESL speakers. Speech training programs offer some procedures that keep track of your progress. An example of this will be the use of speech-tracking tools that monitor speech throughout the day. While speech coaches usually focus on “before” and “after” coaching one time records on a paragraph of text.
In addition, coaching options provide several assignments that help you revise what you learned during the training duration. With this, speech coaches can monitor your progress.
Meanwhile, a lack of real conversation tracking can be a common problem in coaching services. Some coaching options also do not feature communication outside session time, which might cause a gap in learning. However, a pronunciation app can be that an extra help for this cause.
5. Review your company benefits
Your company might have included speech coaching services in its benefits plan. There are several reasons why speech coaching services can be a valuable addition to a benefits plan.
First and foremost, speech coaching can help individuals improve their public speaking skills and overall presentation style. This can be particularly beneficial for employees who are required to give presentations or speeches as part of their job, as it can help them deliver more effective and engaging presentations.
In addition, speech coaching can help individuals develop more confidence in their communication skills. This can have a positive impact on their overall performance and productivity, and can help them build stronger relationships with colleagues and clients.
Finally, offering speech coaching services as part of a benefits plan can be a useful way for a company to show its commitment to employee development and training. This can help to attract and retain top talent, and can enhance the company's overall reputation as a supportive and rewarding place to work.
Overall, while the decision to include speech coaching services in a benefits plan is ultimately up to the company, there are many potential benefits to doing so.
Speech training programs can be provided on an individual, a team or company wide level. Here are some of them.
- Personal coach or course: You company can allocate annual educational budget for each employee to invest in work-related skills. This opens you opportunities to subscribe to wide range of services and app to improve American accent and public speaking skills.
- Corporate workshops: One time or a series of events for companies looking to train their ESL employees towards proficiency.
- On-demand training for employees: Your company may hire in-house coach or subscribe to an on demand program when employees can book a coach for work-related coaching.
6. Allocate budget
The cost of speech coaching services can vary depending on a number of factors, including the length and format of the coaching sessions, and the experience and reputation of the coach.
You can find prices from $10 up to $100,000. For clarity, we divided the pricing into two buckets:
You can enrol in a single program or purchase an all-in-one bundle. Single programs include app purchases starting at $10 per month to speech tracking software at $30 per month.
You can also choose from on-demand video sessions from $45 per hour to $300. A CCC-SLP (Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech Language Pathology) coach usually costs more than an ESL tutor. You can get entire pre-recorded courses from $50 to $3000 depending on the length and whether one-on-one sessions with a coach are included.
As a general rule, companies should budget for speech coaching services based on their specific needs and goals. If the company is looking to provide coaching to a large number of individuals, for example, it may be more cost-effective to invest in group coaching sessions or workshops. If the company is looking to provide more personalized coaching to a smaller number of individuals, however, one-on-one coaching sessions may be a better option. Prices can range from over $10,000 to $50,000 per session.
In either case, it's important for the company to carefully evaluate its needs and goals, and to work with a reputable coach or coaching provider to develop a plan that fits within its budget. The cost of speech coaching services is generally considered a worthwhile investment, as it can help individuals improve their public speaking skills and confidence, which can have a positive impact on the company's overall performance and success.
Need Additional Help? Try Pronounce App
Coaches might not be able to provide an all-around service such as daily speech monitoring and each conversation analysis. However, you can use the Pronounce app to check your communication throughout the day outside the class..
The Pronounce speech checker is a powerful tool to help you practice speaking correctly. It can help you get to a higher speaking proficiency and improve your confidence.
Don’t just rely on coaching help. Take your learning experience to the next level with this state-of-the-art technology. Here are some of its features.
Record yourself speaking and keep track as your accent changes. You can get a FREE Pronounce Chrome extension today and start recording. Use time you already speaking or reading aloud. Pronounce will check your speech and suggest words to improve.
Get help outside your coaching sessions using Pronounce for your real live communication. Check mistakes in pronunciation and word placement when you don’t focus on how you talk but think about what to say.
Have records of your speech along the way. See how much you talk throughout the day and when you perform better. Hear the progress overtime.
How to Use the Pronounce Features on the Website
Low on Budget? Here are Three Free Resources for Improving Your Accent
You can still improve your learning despite having a low budget. Here are four free resources for improving your American accent.
Tell us if you know more.