As the speech coach I have no power
I cannot change anyone or anything. It is 100% up to the student. “Coaching” is a noun, not a verb. I offer coaching, and if the other party accepts my gift of coaching that’s great. If they don’t, there’s nothing I can do about it.
I did some training with the Police Dept on de-escalation tactics a while back and one of the big takeaways was that de-escalation is only offered as an item that can be received or denied. It can never be forcibly applied to someone.
It would be amazing to have the super power of de-escalation, I could walk into any situation, stretch out my hand like Yoda and say “You’ve been de-escalated” Or rather “De-escalated you are…. mhm” and everyone would suddenly be calm and rational. But that’s not how it works. Often times people won’t listen to what you have to say and they’d rather just start trading blows. Or trading blows and taser prongs, in this case.
So, the lesson here is that coaches can only offer their knowledge and it’s up to the other party to receive it and act upon it.
Effort exerted equals value gained
Winston Churchill once said, “Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence, is the key to unlocking our potential”. I think this is 100% true for the stuttering world.
Some things in life have a low return on investment, like washing my car before a road trip. I don’t know why I do it because by the time we get to our destination it’s filthy again and, yet, I still do it. Investing in yourself, on the other hand, is never a bad bet. It’s always worth it, and the more you invest in yourself the greater the return.
I think fluency is one of the greatest investments anyone can make in themselves. I have seen incredible return for people from simply being fluent. The list of accomplishments is way too long to list here. Talk about a return on investment. It’s incredible.
Coaching has taught me how to… well… coach!
The concept of being a “good teacher or coach” has always been fascinating to me because we all learn a little differently and process things in different ways. So, learning how to coach with WSSA has been one of the greatest and unsung benefits of this process.
I would highly recommend going through our coaching program and learning how to coach because it teaches so much more than just that. I learned how to communicate my thoughts better and more clearly so that a wider variety of people understand.
And I definitely learned to… well… drink my own cool-aid! Nothing will make you learn the Lovett Method faster than teaching it to someone else. I can’t emphasize that enough. Teaching someone else something is the best way to learn anything. My mom homeschooled me and my five siblings K through 12th grade. Yeah, I’ll say that again. 6 kids, K through 12. My youngest sibling graduated high school this spring. That means my mom has taught an entire education 6 times. She knows how to write a geometry proof and diagram an English sentence better than anyone I know. She spent 30 years teaching us over and over again.
I’ll say it again because it bears repeating, there is no better to learn something than by teaching it.
Another thing that coaching has taught me is how to present, which in my opinion is a very valuable skill that translates into a lot of other areas in life. I’ve learned how to speak to an audience and focus on my message and not the audience, which is weirdly hard. I’ve learned that posture matters. Have you ever seen someone speak with horrible posture? It’s terribly distracting. I know much more about how to present myself and communicate my thoughts, and I credit that to learning to coach.
The list above is a condensed version of all I could say about coaching. It has been an honor to work beside some of the greats here at World Stop Stuttering Association. I want to thank the one and only Lee Lovett for convincing me to join this organization and encouraging me all the way through my fluency journey.