Should a Speaker, Trainer, or Facilitator Spend Thousands on Coaches and Programs to Ensure Success?

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    The quick answer is easy. No one can ensure your success. Success as a speaker, trainer, or facilitator depends on other factors than refining your talent as a communicator. A business acumen is essential, marketing, some psychology so you know your audience, but most importantly a product yourself, a plan and the will to see it through.

    I am speaking as a speech coach. I will not take money from students unless we have had an in depth discussion of what may be the best path for them under their current circumstances. It may be since I left home at an early age and worried about my own survival that I worry about my students. I’m sure I could make more money by being less ethical and such a nice guy, but if there ever is an area where you can lose your money and your dream, this is it.

    Coaches can help your confidence, help you get rid of bad mannerisms that distract, help you direct your message, and literally fine tune your performance–if that truly is their goal. Still, they cannot guarantee your success.

    However, you can spend a lot more money on a great coach and go nowhere. Have a solid reason to pursue the career. When you are certain you have the talent (or do you need the coach to tell you?), then invest if you so desire and can afford to. Asking the coach if you have the talent to succeed may just open the door for “Sure, with my help.” Be very specific on what you need.

    Be careful, as in any business, those selling the how-to are often doing better with the selling than the work and stop doing the work altogether. It’s not unusual for those who offer these programs or coaches to often make a lot more money on selling the programs or coaching than the speaking itself. The fact that it’s just human nature to want that success makes a bit more palatable to us.

    The drive to success can be an opiate. You and your potential coach can be easily addicted. You, for your speaking dream; he or she for a more financial one.

    There are many paths toward a chosen profession. Not all involves training by “successful” others. It’s a little like the rich guy who tells who the secrets of making money and neglects to tell you he wasn’t worried because Mom and Dad had plenty should he fail at “this” endeavor. Some of us don’t have the support systems so counting on someone to train us right into success is naive. To those who had the resources, I hope you take advantage of them; not all of us are so lucky. You should invest in what saves you time, in what helps you concentrate on the areas you need to concentrate.

    There is no guaranteed path or quicker access to success even for the enormously talented. Just look at actors. There are great ones who never see Broadway or the Silver Screen, and others, in the right place, right time with the right connections, that have stardom.

    As you peruse the slick marketing packages, the successful look of the sellers themselves that represent what you might become, remember the person who came before them and did all with hard work without others. I’m not saying never pay someone for a service, just to remember that it is just that: a service. Get your money’s worth, stick to your plan and you’ll accomplish your dream.

    For more resources about training, see the Training library.