Lisa’s coaching role helping people find their voice to feature on national TV documentary

Lisa Nealan.
Lisa Nealan.

A Widdrington Station woman who is now helping others after overcoming her own stammer will appear on an ITV documentary tomorrow evening.

Lisa Nealan, a water production north administrator at Northumbrian Water, had suffered for more than 30 years and used to avoid words she struggled with and situations where she would have to speak out or introduce herself.

Lisa Nealan, left, and Jessica Davies pictured during the filming of School for Stammerers in London.

Lisa Nealan, left, and Jessica Davies pictured during the filming of School for Stammerers in London.

Her life changed when she was enrolled by her employer on one of the McGuire Programme’s four-day intensive coaching courses, which took place in Newcastle in March 2015.

This course and the progress she made in the following months gave her the confidence to sign up for groups and do more social activities.

Lisa wanted to give something back and she became a primary coach for the McGuire Programme in 2016.

She was then asked by the McGuire Programme’s UK South area director if she would be interested in being one of the coaches for a typical course that would be filmed for a national television documentary.

After speaking with the programme makers via Skype, she was chosen to help 25-year-old Jessica Davies, a photographer and beauty blogger from Wales.

There were six participants in School for Stammerers, filmed in London in October.

Jessica says in the documentary that before starting the course, she wanted to marry her fiancé Josh in the middle of the ocean on a tiny boat so she does not have to say her vows in front of everyone.

The programme uses physical and psychological techniques and near the end of the course, she had to stand on a soap box in Trafalgar Square and do a speech.

Lisa said: “Me and Jessica were paired together as they thought we would be a good match and we got on really well.

“You go on an amazing journey that deals with the psychological and physical elements of your stammer and, as the documentary will show, she has some ups and downs during the four days.

“My role included encouraging Jessica to put her trust in me to help her through the course.

“Although I’m feeling a little nervous, I’m excited about watching the documentary and seeing how the makers of it show the progress of each of the participants.”

“It was a great privilege to be part of it,” she added.

Lisa recently took a step further as in November, she became a qualified course instructor. This will be in addition to her primary coach role.

She will now intern a course with an experienced instructor before going on to instruct her own course.

She said the fact that those running the McGuire Programme courses and the coaches are former stammerers is a great help for participants, adding: “The empathy is there because we’ve been through it ourselves.”

Lisa recently joined Castle Communicators – a Toastmasters International speakers’ club.

She is the organiser for the next McGuire Programme course in Newcastle, which starts on February 7.

For more details and to apply, go to
School for Stammerers is being aired on ITV 1 tomorrow from 9pm.