Coaching Yourself: Amy Cuddy + KNP
Our long-time friend and colleague Amy Cuddy recently discussed one of KNP's coaching methods in a recent article about coaching yourself to become a better speaker. As she wrote about an early high-profile engagement facilitated by KNP co-founders Matt Kohut, John Neffinger, and Seth Pendleton:
The key to John, Matt, and Seth’s intervention is this: they sit with each new client and watch as many video recordings of them as possible, from interviews, speeches, debates, and so on. The client’s job is to watch these videos from the perspective of a viewer. To try to see what the audience is seeing. And it is remarkably effective, yielding victories by candidates who had trailed in the polls by double digits just months earlier. (Italics added.)
The point of this exercise is not to instruct their clients, “just smile more” or "stop pacing." As John Neffinger told me, “People wear fake smiles all the time, but they rarely fool anyone into thinking they are actually happy when they’re not.” The point is to get clients to see what others were seeing — and begin to diagnose where they are falling short.
Amy touched on a key insight that informs KNP's approach: there's no substitute for understanding how the audience sees you. In 15+ years, none of us have ever had clients who have enjoyed watching or listening to themselves. But it remains one of the most powerful self-coaching tools available once you know what to look for.