Frequently Asked Questions
The following is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs). Click a question and you will automatically scroll down to the answer. Should you have any additional questions, please contact me.
- Is Conversation Gym a place? Where did your company name come from?
- How soon before I see improvement?
- Why work with a coach?
- What is the experience of being coached?
- Do you coach over the phone or in person?
- How many sessions do you recommend?
- How do I get started?
- What exactly happens in a coaching session with you?
- What is roleplay-on-demand?
- Does it matter what industry I am in?
- Do you coach presentation skills?
- Is working with a coach a worthwhile investment?
- What are your rates?
Conversation Gym isn’t a place; it’s an approach to coaching. From years of experience as a performing artist I made the discovery that practice equals freedom. When you master a skill, it simply gets out of your way and you express freely from the best part of yourself.
Over the years I’ve found myself using gym metaphors in my coaching. I’m not particularly athletic. But I liked the concept of doing reps at the gym as a great parallel to practicing different conversation skills such as asking effective questions, listening and handling objections. These are teachable skills and you can build strength and flexibility with them just like working your body at the gym.
And like toning your muscles, buffing up your communication skills reaps huge rewards. People have gotten jobs and promotions, greatly increased their sales numbers, upped their overall confidence and enjoyed all of the ancillary benefits that come with that.
So Conversation Gym is all about the power of practice.
You’ll experience positive change and deep insights from the very first session. The Conversation Gym approach uses about 90% active practice with perhaps 10% instruction. Results are rapid and accumulative with each additional session.
Many benefits come from working with a coach that you simply can’t get by working on your own. An expert coach will rapidly assess your strengths and where your skill and knowledge gaps are. This alone can shave years off your learning curve. Your coach will break down a step by step process for the most efficient path to your desired transformation, and guide you there. They can provide expertise and insight and help you avoid costly traps and pitfalls.
A great coach will challenge your assumptions about what you’re capable of. They will push you beyond your comfort zone while maintaining a safe and supportive place for you to take risks. They are your cheerleader, wholly focused on your success.
Working with a coach should be fun! With the right coach dislodging you from old habits, your horizons open right up. This is exhilarating! You’ll feel awkward and alive and, as your new skills improve, your confidence and sense of power will quickly grow.
Coaching should also be safe. You can’t learn a new skill without stumbling and making mistakes. It’s simply part of the process. Your coaching session should be a judgement-free zone where you feel encouraged and supported.
Almost all of the coaching I do takes place via telephone. Phone coaching has the advantage of removing visual distractions so that you can home in on your listening and communication skills. Also, it has been proven that your ability to retain the learning increases if you practice in the same environment from which you generally make your sales calls. For these reasons, the lion’s share of my coaching takes place over the phone.
The appropriate number of sessions is completely individual, depending on your goals and needs. Start with Sales Conversation Mastery Level One. This is a 6-session, bi-weekly coaching package that will enable you, in just three months, to build a solid foundation in sales that will last you a lifetime. Whether you are new and wanting to learn the basics, or a mid-career professional whose sales have plateaud, this package will get you where you need to go.
Beyond that, you may decide to continue on as a way to keep your skills sharp, or come back for more coaching when you have situational challenges you want to prepare for. We can discuss your needs as they arise.
An ideal scenario is to have a specific goal such as reaching a sales target, transforming a difficult relationship or getting a promotion. Your goal may simply be to increase your self-confidence so that you are comfortable enough to initiate conversations you would have avoided. These are all clear targets that you can measure your progress against, and they are powerful motivators that will help propel you towards success.
Many of the most successful people consider working with coaches to be an essential part their ongoing life and career development.
Contact me to book a free consultation. We’ll discuss what the current situation is, what your goals are, and some options for getting you there. If you decide to go ahead, we’ll book your first session. I’ll send you a few questions to answer in preparation. A normal coaching appointment is 30 minutes, but the first session is always 45 minutes, to give us time to diagnose your strengths and your areas of opportunity. Then in that same session we’ll dive right into transformational practice!
Great question! How does one practice conversation skills? Well, you need to have conversations. Ideally, conversations that are similar to the ones you face every day, so that you can easily make new, more effective choices in your very next business conversation. In order to give you that experience, I will ask you what kinds of interactions you want to improve, and what the details of the situation are. Then I will create a character (me) to be that person for you.
For the last 10 years, I have worked with thousands of clients in this way.
For example – you are a financial advisor new to your role and taking on someone else’s portfolio. Your goal is to introduce yourself as the new FA to all of your clients, and book a face to face meeting. You need to deliver a strong credibility statement and you know you’ll encounter hurdles such as: ‘I have to talk to my spouse first’, ‘I’ll call you when I need something’, ‘The last guy was lousy and I’m thinking of leaving your bank’, etc…
Once I know what you want to practice, I create characters and then you practice on me by simply having a conversation you would normally have. This feels exactly like you are talking to a real client.
After our conversation, you get strategic coaching from me on your skills and also on how it felt to be your client, and then you get to practice again. People love the ‘do-overs’! You get to road test the new skill and experience right there and then the positive results you get from your new, more successful approach.
Finally, we’ll put a couple of action steps in place to keep you laser-focused and progressing over the next couple of days.
Once you have completed a coaching package with me, you’re allowed to book single coaching sessions at any time, to practice any situation you like.
People take advantage of this benefit when, for instance, they have a challenging or high-stakes conversation coming up and they want to prepare for it. They want to ‘get the words in their mouth’ and/or dissolve their fears around it and build confidence.
Some people use these sessions as skill drills. Examples might be: delivering their credibility and value statements over and over until they roll confidently off the tongue; another person might have me lob objections like baseballs at them until they can respond easily to each of them. These sessions are incredibly empowering!
Yes and no. Communication skills are universal and they’re transferable. So whether you are a small business entrepreneur or a professional in the financial, automotive, logistics or any other industry, improving your communication skills is guaranteed to improve your life and your career. In this way, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in.
Where it may matter a bit, is in my ability to create realistic characters for you. Any retail situation where I am playing a customer is easy to achieve – no matter your product or service. Also, I have extensive experience coaching professionals in the financial sector from CSRs to bank managers to wealth management professionals and District VPs.
If you are in a niche business that I’m unfamiliar with and you need me to play your client, that will require additional time on my part – and yours – as you’d need to provide me with very specific information. We can discuss this.
You bet! I have developed and delivered workshops on presentation skills and also worked one on one with clients to help them prepare for upcoming presentations and webinars. In addition to my work as a communications coach, my performance background has given me intimate knowledge of voice projection, connecting with an audience, and managing nerves/stage fright. Let me know how I can support you.
Darren Hardy, publisher of Success Magazine, has pointed to research proving that every dollar you put into in your own personal development brings a return on investment of $30. That’s a 3,000% return.
Another way to think of this is to ask: What would my life look like if I got the promotion a year earlier? If I hit the top sales position? If people responded to me more positively? What new doors will open for me with better communication skills?
I love the benefits of working with coaches and will continue to seek out the best throughout my life.
I have several different packages available, depending on your needs and I look forward to discussing this with you.