By Tim Hayes [www.timhayesconsulting.com]
There’s a scene near the end of the movie “The King’s Speech,” where the king – a severe stammerer, who has just successfully delivered his first wartime speech at the outbreak of World War II – turns to his unorthodox speech coach, Lionel Logue.
The king, as his emotions begin to build, shakes Logue’s hand warmly and, at last, calls him “my friend” – the foundation of Logue’s approach, which had been to convince the king that, despite his horrible stammer, “a friend was listening.”
The first time I saw that film in the theater, it moved me tremendously – that scene in particular. It captured the moment that all consultants hope to achieve with their clients, where the person you’re working so diligently and applying your knowledge and skill so fervently to help, breaks through and elevates him- or herself to the level you knew he or she could reach. And when that person acknowledges your work with gratitude and respect, there’s no better feeling, in my book.
As a speech coach myself, seeing a client realize that moment of discovery, awareness, triumph, and pride remains my number-one motivation, the very reason I love what I do. It’s the part of my consultancy I’m most passionate about, and knowing that about myself has become a critical part of how I go about my business. Color me Lionel, I suppose.
In a recent professional development course, the instructor led the class down a discussion about the real reasons we each do what we do. The final part of the exercise was designed to lead each person to identify his or her point of professional passion. The most emotionally satisfying motivational feature of our practice, in other words.
And why is that so important? Because when you can convey that level of passion and belief in yourself and your business, it moves your discussion beyond cold sales or overcooked marketing – and into the realm of human interaction and inter-relatability.
People may evaluate opportunities intellectually, but they purchase emotionally. When they believe that you believe what you’re saying, you don’t have to worry about selling anything. When your passion comes through, people not only see it and hear it, they feel it, as well. When a prospect believes in you, based on the passion you convey and how it can help them, they will engage you.
Lionel Logue put on no airs before his royal client. He insisted that his relationship with the king be one of two equals working together. He felt so strongly about his ability to help this man overcome his potentially catastrophic impediment, that he never altered his approach, never let up, never permitted any slacking or excuses, never held back his criticisms and encouragements, even though his client could have had him imprisoned for the way he treated the monarchy.
No, Lionel Logue had a true passion for his craft. He believed in what he was doing and in the certainty that his client would ultimately get past the demon that had held his tongue captive his entire life.
In time, the king came not only to value that passion as a source of comfort, inspiration, and courage for himself – but he also came to treasure that passion in the man who became his lifelong friend. If only this joyful moment would happen more often among consultants and their clients! Color me Lionel, indeed.
Copyright 2011 Transverse Park Productions LLC