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Rachel Coffey

Coaching

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Blog of top London Voice Coach and Life Coach, Rachel Coffey

By Rachel Coffey, Oct 5 2017 08:54AM

Theresa May Coughing through speech (mirror.co.uk)
Theresa May Coughing through speech (mirror.co.uk)

Got a cold but have to give an important speech? Theresa May had somewhat of a public speaking nightmare yesterday, but she won’t be the only one who is struggling with the sniffles. Interestingly she coped relatively well with the comedian’s stunt, what was lacking was the physical and mental prep required in in such a demanding situation when she had a cold. Here are some speaking tips if you are feeling under the weather;


Don’t just take every medication going in the hope that something will work! If you have a dry cough or throat (as May seemed to) the last thing you want are medications that dry your throat further. Your throat needs to be lubricated in order to work, otherwise you get the same effect as trying to run and engine without oil- choking. Anything that clears mucus, including eucalyptus based products will strip away moisture. Instead, steaming with hot water for 5 minutes whilst breathing deeply and expelling any by products will both clear mucus and lubricate your throat. Then suck a sweet before you go on, which will encourage salvia and further lubricate your vocal chords. Remember to spit it out before you speak!


If your throat is swollen, look toward things that bring down inflammation, again, steaming will help, there are also some good sprays around. The key is to rest your throat. The day and night before speak as little as you can and get and early night if possible. On the morning of your speech, warm your Voice up gently. Begin by softly humming. Direct the humming sound toward your eyes, nose, mouth and chest, to wake up your resonators. Then, still humming with your lips together, siren, like a police car. The rise and fall in pitch will stretch your larynx, getting it ready for action and lessening the chance of sounding monotone.


If you are bunged up spend longer on the humming and siren mentioned above and spend extra time gently moving the sound between your nose and chest on a gentle comfortable hum. The vibration in the hum will lessen tension and start to dislodge the nasties blocking up your nose, helping you sound less like a 1980’s tunes advert, instead increasing volume and clarity.

It can be easy to add physical tension to the mix if we are feeling overly stressed. Your voice works best when your body is relaxed. So stretch out and relax those shoulders, lengthen your back, centre your weight and stand tall.


Finally it is crucially important to feel confident and breathe with a low relaxed breath. Focus on some positive relaxing thoughts, put your hand on your lower stomach and breathe naturally. Make sure that the way you are thinking about your speech is positive and instead of thinking about things that might go wrong, concentrate on solutions and imagine how you might solve the problems instead. If you’ve had a tough time recently, it might be worth seeing a coach to boost your confidence as a lack of confidence can have a dramatic impact on our voice.


These are just some of the ways you can help yourself to be more prepared. Always have a tepid glass of water with you (cold water will shock your throat and may aggravate a cough), keep your speech as succinct as it can be and breathe. And after all, if you get stuck you could always get your mates in the audience to start a standing ovation ... or then again you could just pause, clear your throat away from the microphone, breathe deep, look confident and carry on.

By Rachel Coffey, Sep 20 2017 05:38PM



Business or ‘executive coaching’ has been around for some time. In the early days it may have been seen as somewhat of a luxury. However in our current business landscape, where there is often a great deal of pressure, it can make all the difference to someone with great potential burning out versus truly succeeding for themselves and their company.

Business coaching is about being able to use the knowledge and opportunities around us by putting ourselves in the best position to view them, evaluate them and make the decisions that allow us to take advantage of them.

Crucially business coaching not only helps us succeed in life but also gives us the skills that will allow us to actually enjoy it. It can be lonely at the top (and trying to get there!) and it can be a real asset to have a confidential and objective coach in your corner, whose main aim is to get you where you want to be (even if you aren’t entirely certain where that is yet!). Below are just three areas in which business coaching can help, whether you are an entrepreneur, owner, in the exec team or even working your way up the ladder;


Creating considered changes and good decisions

There are many decisions to be made on a daily basis and being able to make them in a balanced and confident manner is essential. Making decisions because we feel we have to or are under pressure to do so won’t get us the results we want. Coaching can help you keep a level head and see all the options in front of you, ensuring your decisions will be contributing to your success.

Businesses need to adapt and change in order to survive and change can be a wonderful thing, but not everybody finds it easy. Coaching will help you feel balanced in your approach, stay objective and ensure that the changes and decisions you make are supporting your purpose going forward.


Work life balance

Sure we need to put in the energy, be 100% committed and work for success. It needs to get us what we want professionally but it also has to deliver for us personally. Sometimes a business can feel all consuming and I often hear how this has had a negative impact on personal relationships. A good coach will help you to draw that balance. Open up better communications with both loved ones and colleagues. Manage expectations and allow everyone, including you, to get to enjoy the good side of you, not just the stressed busy one.

Of course, there may always be times when work has to take priority, but there is a big difference between that and getting stuck on an ever faster hamster wheel of work. A coach will help you achieve a balance and ensure that your work is supporting your life and not the other way around. They’ll also help you switch off at those important times you have put aside to do so.


Public speaking and communication

If you find the right business coach, they may also be able to help you communicate better in order to more effectively achieve your aims. Whether your knees turn to Jelly at the thought of speaking in front of particular groups or you just need to find ways to put your point across at the same time as getting others on your side, a good speaking and communications business coach should be able to really help you. Much of it is about finding an authentic inner confidence, staying calm under pressure and building a rapport that engages and naturally persuades. Learning how to sound great also helps! If you find the right coach they will be able to identify what needs to change and have the techniques available to allow you to do it as effectively as possible.


There are many other areas in which a business coach can help. It can be a seriously good investment - and surprisingly reasonable when you look at the benefits. Have a chat with your prospective coach, you need someone you can speak with openly and honestly. Let them know what you think you need, but more than that, what you’d like to change or where you’d like to get to. Remember though, this isn’t a job interview. It doesn’t matter where your coach sees themselves in five years time or what achievement they are most proud of. What matters is that they can help you get where you want to be in a way that works for you. The results can be amazing!


Rachel offers business, voice and presentation skills coaching on-site, at her base in Imperial Wharf and at Gazelli house.


By Rachel Coffey, Sep 20 2017 05:25PM


Anxious thoughts
Anxious thoughts

The recent events in Manchester and London have come to a shock to all of us. Sometimes it can be difficult to comprehend how such things can happen out of the blue. It also isn’t unusual to feel anxious or uncertain, but it is possible to lessen those feelings of anxiety and help us feel more normal again. If you are someone who tends to worry it is even more important to feel safe and assured.


Breathe

Relaxing our breathing is one of the most helpful things to do if we are feeling anxious. The easiest way to do this is to practice at a time that we feel relatively ok. Close your eyes and think about a time when you felt really safe and in control. Remember everything you can about it - colours, sounds smells. Play it through in your head several times. Now notice your breathing. The more you practice, the more you will notice it is calm and relaxed. When you are at your calmest, say a phrase to yourself. Something helpful, like “I am calm and in control”. Say exactly the same thing each time you practice, when you are feeling at your most relaxed. Next time you feel the anxiety beginning to rise, focus on your breathing and calmly say the same phrase to yourself. In time you will find the feeling of anxiety lessening.


Be informed, not overwhelmed

It can feel overwhelming when we repeatedly hear and see increasingly graphic images on our screens and front pages. It is important to be informed, but we need to differentiate that from becoming overwhelmed. Limit your exposure to the amount of information you need to feel connected. Also choose where you hear your news, a mainstream prime time source is likely to be more reliable and measured than something we might find on the internet. If you have been feeling particularly fearful, maybe take a break from it and ask somebody you trust to tell you anything you need to know for a couple of days. Allow yourself the time to process what you are hearing and you will feel calmer.


You are safer than you think

Look at your life and the people within it and have a moment to notice how much love and security there is there. If you take a look around you now, you will begin to see all the many things in the world that are there to keep us safe. From the handrail on the stairs, to the cool wall of your kettle, the pin number for your card to the use by date on the milk. Our world is stacked full of things to protect us, we are just so used to them, we take them for granted.

What happened in the recent attacks was awful. Notice though if you have started to over imagine them or pretend you were there, this can really heighten anxiety. Instead, take a moment to remember those involved and also see that you and tens of millions of others are in fact safe. That way you will be there to love, support and be strong for those that need it.



People experience anxiety in many different ways. You are unique and so too will be the thoughts that make you to feel safe, versus those that have made you feel uncertain or anxious. If you have been struggling with this issue - and it is surprising just how many people do - it might be worth looking into one to one coaching. Coaching can help identify your personal triggers and allow you to feel much calmer and in control. It really is possible to lessen that anxiety and enjoy life again.






By Rachel Coffey, Jan 10 2017 02:15PM

With the holidays rapidly becoming a distant memory, the long stretch of January winds its path. Resolutions abound, whether they have fallen by the wayside or we are willing ourselves to keep it up. January can appear to be a stagnant month.


Maybe though its time to open our eyes. What we do today creates our tomorrow. How we think today shapes it and how we feel colours it. Although we may not always see it, change can begin in the smallest of ways, even on the dullest of days.


Sometimes people say to me that they have kept things the same because they couldn’t see how to change it. They weren’t sure what they wanted. Sometimes people say that they didn’t have the energy or they felt too down. But here’s the thing, coping with stress, a lack of confidence or a situation we don’t want to be in, takes up a huge amount of energy and even time. It is a heavy load to carry. The moment that load begins to lighten things start to get easier, sometimes right away. The key is to make a decision and act upon it. Just making a decision that you’d like things to be different and doing something about it. The beginning is that simple.


The world is full of possibilities. Good and bad. They are all there for the making and all there for the taking too. It’s our choices, conscious and unconscious that take us along a particular path. Even if we have found ourselves in circumstances not entirely of our own making, what we do next is up to us.


If you think it is time to move forward, do yourself a favour and make life brighter, coaching can help to get you where you want to go. Even the seemingly most self assured people can benefit from having a dedicated person on thier side. It can make the difference between taking the long route round and over thinking, to feeling supported, with a sense of direction and purpose. And importantly having a confidential and impartial expert meaning you’ll be in safe hands.


January is a great time to change.

By Rachel Coffey, Jun 22 2016 03:09PM



Sometimes it can be hard to find the willpower to stay focused and motivated. Never more so, it would seem when you are in the process of giving up smoking!


There is a fantastic new website I’d like to share with you, in the form of quitza.com, it is a place buzzing with peer to peer support, personalised progress reports and even rewards. It has all kinds of tools to help and inspire you to quit the habit.


Coaching is also a fantastic way to keep you on track and set new goals. Combine the two and, whatever your motivation, smoking will be nothing but a distant memory. You can join online here

quitza.com/settings/quitdata/coachlisttest?JsTime=Europe/London








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