From Back Stage to Public Speaker – just another step
Jo Wood has lived the life that many might dream of. She’s perhaps most famous for having been a model and ‘rock chick’, touring with The Rolling Stones for 30 years. The Jo Wood of today is a successful entrepreneur and champion not just of organic food but of all things organic, including her own range of organic fragrance, bath and body care products. Some might therefore find it a little surprising to read that she didn’t imagine she could stand up and talk to people – indeed, she kept declining offers to give out awards and speak to groups. She really felt that she needed to learn the skill and, just like her other skills, needed training in order to acquire that skill.
Ever since her school days Jo had known that presenting was a weak area for her – she had always dreaded standing up in front of her class to present. She knew she needed to find confidence. She didn’t just want to appear free and easy; she wanted to be free and easy.
Jo felt it best to work with a coach who was experienced in helping people achieve such objectives and spoke to trusted people about who she might work with, which led to her working with Mike.
In all of their sessions Jo made sure that she listened carefully and learned. Visualisation was the key tool Jo learned how to use. She recognised that successful actors and sports people do it and it is proven to work for them – why should it not work for her?
She learned how to visualise herself in a role and to run through a scenario in her head. With practice, this became easier to do – she eventually became able to have a whole event rehearsed in her mind from start to finish.
Not only did this really help her as planned, when presenting, but she uses the tool in many other scenarios. Just one of these is when going to gym and working with her personal trainer – she has found that she works much better when doing routines if she has first properly visualised herself doing them.
The original stimulus to engage with a coach was when she agreed to present an evening at the Natural History Museum and knew that she needed help before she could do so. Now looking back at the event, Jo said “Two seconds in I was off and running, with huge self-confidence – they had to force me off the stage in the end! Each time I present it becomes a little easier. As with anything, having the right tools means a job can be done well – coaching has given me those tools.”.
Co-hosting an event for the first time was another major step forward for Jo. Before she was announced to the crowd and she went on stage, she took a deep breath and ensured she clearly remembered her visualisation of what was about to happen, quickly running through it again. She then walked on stage and it all just fell into place.
Immediately after each event she now does, looking back on what she has just achieved, Jo knew her coaching had worked.
At the time of writing, Jo has an upcoming talk for 100 people at a ‘Friends of the Earth’ dinner, so will have a couple of sessions with Mike to refresh existing tools and develop new ones, to deal with a different type of presenting – telling her story rather than reading from autocue.
After each coaching session Jo has had so far, she feels she developed more confidence in her ability. She is therefore sure that she will walk away from these upcoming sessions with new skills to tackle her new challenge.
Jo feels she has really learned about herself by going through this process. She commented “I now have confidence that I can do anything. My fear of presenting, of standing up in front of a group of people and being the focus of their attention, went out of the window. It was just an insecurity. Coaching helped me believe in myself. It really helped with my self-confidence.”.
Jo is well aware that there are some who just don’t “get” coaching. To such people she says “Unless you are a complete natural, coaching is so fantastic because whatever your challenge is, it does take skills to rise to that challenge and there are tools to use. The only way you acquire those skills and tools is from an expert. I would not have been able to rise to my challenges without such coaching.”