We all have a voice. Many of us develop our voices during our adolescence from singing in choirs, taking speech and drama training or being in the debating team. Like so many skills though, they are not formally taught as part of a curriculum in schools. Many schools will hold an annual speech contest or debating competition but few students are taught how to speak and present effectively. Even Toastmasters has speeches on vocal variety and speaks of developing your body language, but they don't discuss how to develop your voice.
This is where a Vocal Coach can be someone to think about. For me, voice coaching is not only developing your voice but your whole personality and presence as well.
"If our eyes are the window to our soul. Our voices are the expression of it!"MY journey into the world of voice coaching started when I sought to combine my understanding of voice from the world of Opera I had been involved in for over 10 years as a professional Opera Singer, with my learnings from my ICF Professional Coaching Diploma I completed in 2014. When I then started with Toastmasters back in 2015, I could suddenly see a way I could help others. Bringing my understanding and experience in breathing, dynamics, tempo, vocal range, character development, story arch, stage placement, lighting and working with others together, to help public speakers and those whose 'performance' is in board rooms, meetings and other company or community events. This gave me confidence to be able to help.
Now since 2017, I have offered more and more Voice Coaching sessions. These involve for instance, by using the GROW model of coaching, helping people to understand:
Goal - What do they want to improve about their voices? What aspects of their self would they like to bring into their voice? What personal development can be achieved through vocal development?
Reality - What feedback have they received so far? Many come as someone told them they need to present better, sound less monotone and bring more energy to their work. In reality too, how much does this person want to improve? Do they have opportunities to practice and develop over the next few months? How invested are they in this potentially transformative coaching?
Options - This is where the fun begins. By 'rehearsing' and learning to 'play' with our voices, we can begin to unlock options that might be suitable in different contexts. Sometimes this is where coaching turns into mentoring by providing solid advice on breathing, words, dynamics and other 'operatic' aspects. I bring my full toolbox of techniques and buffet of information to help the client best succeed and to take the 'small steps' towards developing their vocal confidence.
Way Forward - Ultimately though, a person must find their way. My job is partially complete when people takes ownership of their voice and decides from our options, what they would like to try out, implement for a week or even a month and where they want to develop further. Seeing people develop their skills and return excited from new opportunities and progress gives me confidence that what I do works.
Whether I work with Executives, students, Retirees or my fellow Toastmasters, I am always looking for the best way people can empower themselves. To become more aware, intentional and purposeful with their voices. To 'execute' with awareness and vocal power. Being aware of what is the best vocal tone and presence for this moment. There is no one size fits all, but bringing intention allows a person to create impact and give energy to those they interact with. This bring purpose, as the results will be seen for the person. Their objective for Coaching in the beginning can be fulfilled.
If you want to find out more about what I do and how I do it, let me know, I would be happy to talk with you further. firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on LinkedIn.
David Corcoran is a Executive Voice Coach. He helps people take responsibility for their communication. This Blog contains his regular musings, thoughts and ideas. He is based in Vienna, Austria.