So much has been written about the King’s Speech that it feels the entire world must have seen it by now. Apparently some ten per cent of the entire adult population of the UK has in fact watched the film.
The story of Bertie and his struggle to find his voice finds so much resonance in our world of today.
Not only are so many people in search of their voice, from individuals who find themselves terrified of giving presentations or even speaking up in meetings, to entire populations.
Are we not witnessing a whole country finding its voice in Egypt, Tunisia and maybe elsewhere?
In the film, we follow the hero on his road to triumph. We glow in sympathy as he overcomes personal obstacles. These include fear, pride, and a trained tendency to accept that conformity and convention are more valuable than the unconventional and unorthodox.
The whole notion of helping people find a voice - both literally and metaphorically - is at the heart of what many of my colleagues at Maynard Leigh do.
The film usefully reminds us of our declared central purpose: unlocking people’s potential.
Some of the unorthodox exercises used by the coach in the film draw on well-tried acting principles: using insight, being present, and taking a holistic approach to the problem.
It also shows that great coaches work with the whole person—not just their voice in this case. For instance people often come with specific presentation issues that we help them address using an integrated approach called "think, feel, act". Others would probably use different terminology.
The film further highlights the importance of trust. In particular, it makes the case for taking time and the risk to build essential trust.
This is as true for business coaching and leading people as it is for the therapeutic relationship depicted in the film.
In world that wants instant answers and even faster results, the Kings Speech reminds us that it requires persistence and practice before you can move from incompetence to confidence.
This latter point is perhaps one of the hardest lessons for those seeking presentation help.
Five useful lessons we might draw from the film include
1) A coach’s formal qualification may be less important than adopting “what works”
2) Insight is a critical coaching skill
3) Personal breakthroughs invariably demand persistence and courage by both the coach and the recipient of coaching
4) There is often no “quick fix”, it takes time to create personal change
5) Finding our own voice is a transformative experience and journey of personal growth development