An Interview with Matz Skoog

Updated: Oct 21, 2018

Bridging Gaps - The Business Podcast - Matz Skoog

This week's interview is with Matz Skoog - High Performance Coach. Following a successful career as a ballet dancer and then in leadership roles within the dance world, Matz is now taking his unique perspective and providing coaching - high performance coaching.

In the interview, Matz and I talk about his career, how we are all performing - particularly when there are changes taking place in our lives and his tips on finding clients.

Summary Transcript of Matz's Interview

A summarised transcript of the interview is below. This is not a word for word transcription. Approximate timings of each topic are in brackets after the headings.

What do you do? (00:45)

I come from a performing arts background from dancing particularly and I've always been interested in Leadership Development and in coaching. Especially since I myself, have been in leadership positions in my career. I've understood that having coaching support is tremendously important and what it can add when you're facing challenges and of course coming from the performing arts background and that adds a perspective that I now can apply into my coaching, which is I think a little bit unusual perhaps in our business.

Who do you work with? (02:02)

I do have a lot of clients from that world [dance], but I also have other clients that come from other walks of life. And to be honest with you, I find that in a way more interesting and more challenging to work with people that are not from the theatre partly because I find myself when, especially if I work with a dancer, which is my own background, I find myself wanting to become an advisor and the teacher rather than a coach. And of course, when I work with people that come from a completely different professional background it becomes much more of a pure coaching relationship, which is very satisfying.

Do you find that people have the same challenges no matter their environment? (03:20)

I think the challenges are remarkably similar wherever you come from and in whatever profession you're in.

It has often to do with personal presentation, personal performance and stepping forward and a sense of confidence. Stage anxiety, performance anxiety and lack of confidence is very common amongst performers. You would have thought that someone who walks out on stage in front of 2,000 people is tremendously confident but they are not necessarily that confident.

So confidence is something that seems to, to go across the board - confidence, presentation and just stepping up to the mark.

Facing change is similar to facing a performance (04:34)

Anyone who's facing changes is also in a sense facing a performance because it's also putting yourself out there. You are entering into the unknown just as you do when you present yourself in front of an audience.

You're taking a risk.

You're taking a chance.

You're stepping into an environment which is unfamiliar, even the small change is challenging and uncomfortable and even if it's good change, it's still uncomfortable because it involves putting yourself forward, stepping up and stepping forward.

Are there any quick tips on how to improve your presentation? (06:08)

There are some very simple little tricks or skills that you can learn that will immediately enhance your presentation. Things about:

  • posture

  • eye contact

  • a sense of moving your arms

  • your hand gestures as you're speaking to a group of people

They are little things that will enhance and improve your show and perhaps help you communicate better, but also make it more enjoyable for an audience too. And more easy to take on board the message that you've communicated.

Do we sometimes give the wrong message without realising it? (07:26)

Indeed. It might be, for instance, if you're walking up to a lectern. There's a way approaching the podium that will immediately communicate a sense of certainty, a sense of authority. If you're shuffling forward with a hunched back and staring into the floor and and looking at your notes, then you're not going to communicate a sense of confidence to your audience.

Simple things like how are you going to approach the podium from your position in the room where you were previously can impact the message you give.

O course, we communicate continuously with people around us and to some degree, this communication is outside of our control. But if you're at least aware of those aspects of your communication that you can control, such as your posture and your way of moving and the tonality of your voice and so on, at least those things that you can control, the you have a much better chance of coming across better.

How would you describe your coaching? (09:47)

Well the term high performance has come, I have taken that as my field because I come from a high performance background. Having been a ballet dancer and performed at a very high level, I understand performing under pressure and being ready when the curtain goes up, so to speak. I have felt that those insights I have gained can be applied in any sort of circumstance.

Life is a like a performance

It's not only about presenting yourself in front of the group of people at public speaking, it's also performing for yourself. Perhaps you have ambitions that you want to realize and goals in life you want to achieve. That's also, in a sense, a performance. So the term high performance as I apply it has quite a broad application. So it's not just like I'm coaching people into being fabulous and stepping up. Of course I'd like to do that too! It's also about coaching people with their own personal challenges in life and just feeling more comfortable about themselves in times of change or helping with planning and so on. So there is a rather broad application of what I do,

So it's people who want to make a change? (11:29)

That's right.

The high performance aspect coming from performing arts and when you start looking at people's issues through that paradigm, that's when I feel that I can provide something which perhaps might be different and perhaps lend a different kind of facility to someone that they may otherwise not have been aware of.

The high performance catch phrase as it were, is to reflect both my background and what I can contribute from there and also the kind of people I'd like to work with. I like to work with intelligent, clever, successful, motivated people that are already high performers. It also means that I want to work with you because you are a high performer.

What is your aim? (13:0