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The Medium and the Message

David Sherry
2 min read
The Medium and the Message

As a coach, communicator and leader, there are two planes by which you work.

The first plane is the content, the message – this is the information being shared. Content is what is specifically being discussed.

The majority of coaches, consultants, and teachers work on the plane of content because it's the most obvious.  And generally, the most low-level.

Content can be anything from specifically what your client is saying about themselves (information), or it can be a framework that you apply based on past learnings.  

At its best it's a useful framework, at its worst, rote repeated jargon with no meaning.

When you teach, often you focus on content, because you're simply trying to communicate an idea in a way that someone understands you.

The second plane is largely overlooked – it's the experience. This is the "medium" by which ideas are transferred. In a coaching conversation, this is the path to the most direct resonance of your content.  You work on the subconscious plane, by creating the right environment and the right context for someone to change in.

Most brands work to achieve both the content (product) and the (experience) that delivers on a feeling. The more senses you can touch on, the better. Music, aromas, textures are all further signals to the body about the content, and thus provide a richer experience which leads to more change, the ultimate goal of any product.

In the product of coaching and teaching, you're doing your best to change how someone feels and what they believe about themselves for what's possible.

The areas of context and experience here relate to phrasing (visual), voice tone, pace, posture, facial queues, and more are the subtle cues that deliver a great experience. It's our subconscious sense, our intuition and will which get a feel for the content as it's delivered.

At its best, this experience and context deliver meaningful change and flips a switch for someone that helps them come to a new realization.

At its worst, people try to manipulate through phony tricks and "hacks" around posture or tone that are seen through immediately.

Ultimately, what sets great leaders and coaches apart is that they realize that they are the medium.

They are the instrument that, by way of tuning properly, can deliver content in a way that creates resonance or change with those they seek to impact.

They work on themselves heavily as the Medium so that they can deliver a message which resonates. This gives their content, which also must deliver, a greater chance of breaking through more effectively.

Leaders, teachers and coaches must understand the full spectrum of tools available.Understanding that they are a medium that creates the environment of the message.

And that the two together are more powerful than the one alone.