What is an etiquette coach?
Written by William HansonThe English Manner, The UK’s Leading Etiquette and Protocol Training Institute 310 310
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William joined The English Manner in 2008 before taking ownership in 2019. He is widely regarded as the freshest and most trusted authority on etiquette and civility, with his relative youth and old-fashioned values making him an arbiter of modern manners.Connect with William Hanson on LinkedIn Follow William Hanson on Instagram
18 September 2023
It’s not all books on heads and knowing how to address a Bishop during Lent!
People ask some very interesting (and unusual) questions when they discover what I do for my job. It’s my pleasure to be able to set a few things straight and tell you exactly what an etiquette coach does.
Etiquette is an agreed-upon social code of behaviour that aids civilised conduct between people. That’s the wordy answer, anyway. In reality it’s about being nice to people, having self-respect and compassion and understanding to all. Diana Mather, my friend and colleague, has written more about the history of etiquette in this article.
If you ask me, etiquette makes things easier – and nicer. It takes a lot of effort to be horrible to someone, and no one enjoys it. Children like rules and boundaries and most adults do, too. Knowing what to do and what is expected in different work and social settings can help people relax and focus on the bigger picture of building relationships.
Etiquette classes are fun! They are never as scary as people think and everyone leaves our own etiquette classes with lots of applicable tips and tricks for modern life.
Private etiquette classes are quite intense in some ways, as it is just the tutor and the student for the duration of the class; but as they have the sole attention of the tutor they can often benefit more and move quickly achieve their goals.
Our scheduled etiquette group masterclasses in London are a much more collegial environment, ideal for those who want to learn with like-minded people in a less pressured setting.
Practically perfect in every way!
I jest. Etiquette tutors are called just that. Sometimes the media call us etiquette experts, but I never like using that term to refer to myself as it sounds immodest!
Etiquette can be taught but you have to want to learn. It’s the same with any subject, really. If the student isn’t switched to learning mode, very little will happen. Luckily, if you have enrolled yourself into one of our etiquette courses, you clearly want to be there and that’s half the battle.
Etiquette coaching is working with adults and children to give them confidence in a variety of social and professional situations. I always say that having good etiquette shouldn’t be restrictive. It’s not meant to be a straitjacket. It should be like learning to drive a car.
At first, you are so focused on keeping your eyes on the road and the car going forward in a straight line you can’t chat to the passengers, tune the radio or flick your hair from your face. But once you pass your test and get used to it all, the driving comes naturally, and you do manage to chat away, listen to the radio and the like.
Good manners and etiquette should be like that. A muscle memory, of sorts, that just happens when you need it to.
All our tutors at The English Manner had different pathways into teaching etiquette. Jo Bryant worked for Debrett’s for many years, editing and writing their world-famous etiquette manuals; Diana Mather taught presentation skills to politicians and businesspeople; Alexandra Messervy worked for Queen Elizabeth II, and I was given an etiquette book by my grandmother when I was 12, which piqued my interest and passion for learning etiquette. I fell into teaching it by accident when I was still at school, and no one’s stopped me since.
But around the world people come to teaching etiquette in different ways. There is no one set way to do it. For those who want to learn a lot quickly, a Train the Trainer etiquette course is ideal as it gives candidates the foundations and know-how of the core topics of manners and protocol.
One thing I love about my job more than anything is the range of opportunities and variety that each day brings. No one day is the same. One day I could be working from home, teaching one of our online etiquette classes; the next, I could be delivering a private in-person etiquette course in central London; then the next day working for a brand on a media campaign, such as one I did a few years ago for Expedia.
I’ve also been very lucky to travel a lot with my job over the last 14 years. I’ve taught diplomats in The Netherlands, children and ladies in China, businesspeople in Hong Kong, etiquette professionals in India, Foreign Ministers in Namibia and yacht crew in Spain, to name a few. There is never a dull day.
It very much is what you make it and it’s ideal for those who have other commitments in their life, such as a family or other job, but it can work nicely for those with no ties and who are able to travel. Whichever camp you fall in to, you need to know and love your subject.
Join William Hanson on Monday 25th September 2023 for a free webinar where he will discuss his role as an etiquette coach. Register here.