There are many professionals out there referring to themselves as a “Speech Coach”. Be aware that anyone can use that title. It is a good descriptive term for the type of services you are looking for. It is not a professional title that holds a college degree or state license to practice. Anyone and use it legally. Good communication training is a blend of improving pronunciation, breathing, voice, body language, etc. Many of these areas require a specific degree and state license to practice.
When you are hiring a speech coach to help you with your speech and communication skills, be a good consumer and determine if they have the right professional training to avoid wasting your time, money and feeling frustrated.
These would be good questions to ask to be a smart consumer:
- What is your professional background?
- How many years of experience does your potential speech coach have working with a variety of communication areas?
- Can your potential coach detect specific behaviors from your speaking style?
If the instructor is an English/grammar teacher, has a general “communication” background/degree, or is a singer or actor, ask about their specific training and education to address communication skills such as voice, resonance and breathing. Those professionals may not have the training supported by a degree or state license. Ask what specific credentials or license they hold. Speech language pathologists have specific training in those areas and also hold a license as well as have national certification from the American Speech Language Hearing Association. Working with a speech-language pathologist would be your best approach for improving communication, public speaking and business skills.
Mastering the blend of communication skills, voice and public speaking is very specialized. Nationwide these programs are costly and are an investment for you. To avoid wasting money and time, you owe it to yourself to determine that your instructor is highly skilled and can assist you with achieving your goals. Many people claim to have a “program”. It is up to you as a responsible consumer to exercise caution and invest time in having your potential speech coach prove to you they understand your speech traits, voice issues and overall communication behaviors.
An experienced and skilled speech coach should be able to immediately identify interfering factors and ask the right questions during the initial interview. Hold them accountable for identifying your specific habits and behaviors so it is clear to you that you found the right speech coach.
Invest your time and money wisely. Interview your speech coach carefully. If they are skilled, it will be very obvious right away on how they can compare your speech patterns to the gold standard for business and professional speaking skills.
I wish you great success,
Liz Peterson, Speech Language Pathologist and Speech Coach
Director of Speech and Voice Enterprises
Denver, Aurora Colorado