Speech Coaching: A Team Effort

The reason for this Blog is to share with the reader what the WSSA Certified Speech Coaches (CSC) do once we finish our sessions and so that you, the coached PWS/PWSS, understand that you are actually being coached by more than one person. In fact, in a way you are being coached by the whole team of CSCs, including Lee Lovett. WSSA is a team, in every sense of the word, and so you benefit greatly by our approach.

After the CSC finishes any coaching session we send an email to student with a summary of the most important things discussed in that session and we assign them “homework” to continue improving.

If the PWS follows the coach’s advice to the letter, this person will experience a noticeable improvement every week, and in some cases every day (depending on the PWS)!

When the PWS tells me that since our last session their speech has been pretty much the same, or it has worsened, we immediately analyse the possible reasons for this result. After a few questions I learn that either the PWS hasn’t been reading aloud (enough), or hasn’t been doing their mind training treatments (or not doing them correctly), or they haven’t been using the Crutches (correctly), or haven’t been a Speech Cop…. or any combination of these.

Today I had my second coaching session with a semi-severe PWS. I really enjoyed this session and it is a great example of the effectiveness of the Crutches, and how they enable us to stop thinking words and therefore speak fluently.

Below is the email I sent to this PWS after we finished our coaching session (the name of the PWS and certain other information has been omitted for privacy reasons):

Hi there XXXXXX!

Great job today! You’ve been completely fluent during the entire session thanks to speaking using a combination of soft voice and whispers. Amazing! Keep it like that and you won’t need these Crutches for much longer. In your case, I think that this combination [Crutch 7/whispering and Crutch 8/soft voice] has been the easiest way to achieve immediate fluency.

So, in order to create as many fluency memories as possible, speak like that ALL THE TIME. You will create zero dysfluency memories if you do it AND IF YOU’RE A SPEECH COP.

As discussed, being a Speech Cop is to not allow yourself to stutter, not even once. I compared this to driving a car. We have to make sure that we don’t lose control of the vehicle, or we will have an accident (or bad incident, in this case). So we have to be very vigilant, very aware of our speech. There are indicators that warn us when this is about to happen. Examples: halting speech, feeling a knot in the throat, feeling more pressured…. As soon as we feel any of these warning signals, we must do something to avoid having “an accident”: whispering or taking a break (which means, inserting a full stop of 2 seconds) and then whisper. You can combine this Crutch with any other, that’s even better.

Remember the 4 key words that I asked you to write down? You should have them with you all the time, especially in pressured situations (for example, video calls, phone calls…. I used to have my piece of paper with my key words written in it next to the screen of my computer all day long when I was in the office).

The 4 key words that I asked you to write are:
1. Soft voice/whisper
2. Short bursts (not more than 5 words, approx)
3. Full stops (1-2 seconds; count 1000-1, 1000-2)
4. Smile

As I told you at the end, another very effective way to achieve immediate fluency is singing or humming your words. This has been the only thing that has words for very severe stutterers (not your case). If you go to the Video Section of WSSA’s website (https://worldstopstuttering.org/videos/), you can use several filters to search for videos. The first one gives you the opportunity to search for the word that you write in that gap. If you search for the name “Artis” you’ll find the videos of this guy from Norway who is now a PWSS (or very close to be a PWSS), and he began singing his words out.

If you want to see how another PWSS beat stuttering, thanks mainly to C-9 (extreme pronunciation), search for his name, “Shubham”. You’ll find plenty of his videos.

And if you’re curious, search my name, you’ll find my sessions as a PWS with Lee, some years ago.

And of course:

Continue reading aloud at least 1h/day, using the Crutches (one Crutch per page, on as many words as possible). This is the best way to master them.

Keep doing at least 2 autosuggestion treatments every day. One in the morning and another one at night. Listen to the recordings in your free time. Reject negative thoughts and stuttering fears immediately with one or a couple of affirmations. Repeat them as many times as needed.

Do watch the “Crutch Mastery Series” video course. See how Lee explains the Crutches, and how he uses them. Then do the same. Record yourself if needed, to make sure that you’re doing them correctly. One thing is how we think we do something, and usually a very different one is how we really do it. And this is very true in the case of the Crutches, it happens with almost every one of the PWS that I’ve coached.

And lastly, here’s the link to the video of today’s session: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.

Watch it as many times as needed.

I’ll see you in one week, if I don’t see you this Saturday at the SAM meeting.

I look forward to our next session (I expect a huge improvement, don’t let me down!!! My money is on you! ????)

All the best,
Javier Valcázar

After sending the above email to the PWS, the next thing I do is send an email to our team of coaches with a report of this session. This allows all the CSCs to share their thoughts, ask questions and offer advice. In turn this enables each of us to continue to improve our coaching skills and, of course, help speech sufferers beat stuttering and/or speech anxiety much faster. A true win-win-win!

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