The King’s Speech must be one of the most inspiring films I have seen – thought provoking, compassionate and uplifting.
It provided insight to the human side of the monarchy – the side hidden from the ‘common’ public. The Duke of York, son of King George V and brother of King Edward VIII (who abdicated the throne for Mrs Wallace Simpson) was required to give public speeches as part of his duties but had a fear of public speaking, which stemmed from experiences in his childhood.
His fear was so great and he would stammer so badly he was almost impossible to understand. Lionel Logue, an Australian speech coach (and, as he turned out, a great life coach too) was engaged to work with the Duke of York on this challenge.
Lionel was so successful as a coach that after the Duke of York became King George VI, Lionel was present at every speech the King gave and the two became lifelong friends. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush gave intense, absorbing and touching performances. This film is highly recommended.
As a coach, there were many insights I gained during and after enjoying the film. Consider this exchange between King George VI and Lionel Logue:
Logue: “What was your earliest memory?”
King George VI: “I’m not … here to discuss … personal matters”
Logue: “Why are you here then?”
King George VI: “Because I bloody well stammer!”
The coachee does not always know the true reason they have requested coaching. The job of a coach is to find the real issue in a tactful and patient manner when the coachee is ready. Only then can progress be made. (See What’s Holding You Back?)
A coach may be hired for a specific reason however I have found in my years of coaching that there are always other issues that come to light during each coaching session. It is up to the coach to professionally and compassionately guide the coachee to discover what appropriate action, or actions, will be taken in order to move forward in each aspect of his or her life.
As documented in The Coach U Personal and Corporate Coach Handbook (www.coachinc.com) a coach seeks to develop the coachee in every sphere of influence and every part of their being and doing:
In developing the whole person all of the following areas are touched:
Mind – The ability to think
o Improving their good judgment
o Reducing reaction time to events
o Giving them new ways to make decisions
o Expanding ways of thinking
o Increasing their capacity to learn quickly
Heart – The ability to feel
o Improving their ability to distinguish between and feeling and an emotional reaction
o Increasing their ability to give and receive love
o Expanding their ability to relate and connect with others
Spirit – The ability to enjoy
o Providing expanded perspective
o Increasing the capacity of inner peace
o Helping them become more aware of self, others and life in general
Business – The ability to succeed in business
o Adding value to their customers faster than their competitors
o Increasing their ability to enjoy work
o Improving their innovative and creative abilities
o Assisting with the balance of life and work
Environment – The awareness and control of surroundings
o Increasing the awareness of surroundings and the ability to control them
o Improve their available resources and network
o Upgrading home and office environments
o Improving health and wellness
When watching “The King’s Speech” I was very much touched by the manner in which Lionel Logue worked with King George VI. He was firm and yet compassionate, he was patient and creative in his coaching approach. He was truly ‘dancing in the moment’ when working with the King as there was no right or wrong way to work with him.
There were times when the King was frustrated and rejected new concepts. Lionel reminded him that he would only coach the King if he wished to be coached by him. He was very aware that a coachee has to be ready for coaching in order to make progress. Previous speech coaches had used methods that did not work for the King. Lionel knew he had to communicate with the King in a manner that ensured understanding and acceptance and also delight in learning. As anyone watching the film will see, he succeeded masterfully at this.
As a coach, I am always inspired and motivated by my clients/coaches. After watching this film I feel even more excited for the coming weeks and months and the clients I am working with and will have the pleasure to work with and learn from. When done right, both the coach and coachee come away from a coaching session invigorated, motivated and full of energy and positive momentum.
I have to say, being a coach is one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. “The King’s Speech” reminded me how very lucky I am to be in this profession.