Choosing the right public speaking coach: 5 things to consider

Everywhere we turn there’s another reminder that the standard for communications effectiveness by corporate leaders is at an all-time high. Each of these reminders is a nudge to communications teams to seek professional help from a public speaking coach.


The evidence is overwhelming: as executive communications become more and more critical to corporate success, the benefits of hiring a public speaking coach are more than worth the cost. But, as any sharp communications director knows, not just any coach will do. It’s important to identify your executives’ strengths and weaknesses, determine which skills they’ll be most willing and able to work on, and find a coach who can meet those needs.

It’s a tall order, and the task of finding the right person can be daunting. We’ve put together a quick guide to help corporate communications teams identify the right public speaking coach for each executive.

5 Tips for Hiring the Right Public Speaking Coach

  1. Identify the coach’s style.
    Does the coach practice tough love when your executive needs a gentler approach? Or would your executive respond best to a Jillian Michaels-type, while this coach is more of a Richard Simmons? In order to achieve real, lasting results, it’s critical to identify the approach your executive will respond best to, and identify a public speaking coach who embodies that approach.
  2. Have them explain their process.
    A truly successful public speaking coach will have a tried and true method, perfected through years of experience. If your candidate is vague or uncertain about the process, that’s a red flag. But if the coach can walk you through a step-by-step plan for initial diagnostics, customized action plans, and ongoing evaluations, you have a contender.
  3. Test their knowledge of your field.
    A football coach and a baseball coach both improve athletes’ performance, but you wouldn’t hire a football expert to train your pitchers. And the same is true for a public speaking coach: you need someone who knows the game. Look for someone who understands the specific pressures of the industry and the needs of the audiences your CEO engages with. Your public speaking coach doesn’t need to have the personal experience of leading a Fortune 500 company, but a strong understanding of the corporate world will be immensely helpful.
  4. Check their references.
    Who has this coach worked with in the past? Do you consider those former clients to be skilled public speakers? Call the coach’s references: are they able to concretely articulate all the ways the candidate helped their executives improve? If you’re getting lukewarm responses or hazy answers, you may need to look elsewhere.
  5. Look for chemistry.
    Finally, perhaps most importantly, find a public speaking coach your executive will respect and enjoy working with. They don’t need to be best friends but, if coach and client don’t at least get along, your executive won’t be motivated to improve, and you’ll be wasting your budget.

To find out how Quantified Communications can connect your executives with world class public speaking coaches, contact us at

More on public speaking coaches from Quantified Communications.

1. The 360 CEO

2. The CEO Reputation Premium, Weber Shandwick
3. Socializing Your CEO, Weber Shandwick
4. Stanford Executive Coaching Survey, Stanford Graduate School of Business