A good coach can help you clarify your desires, focus your efforts, organize your plans and home in on what tasks are most important. Coaching can also help you break through beyond the things that are getting in the way of your success, so that you can achieve the results of your dreams.
You may wonder how to go about finding the right writing coach. What questions should you ask? What criteria would you use?
My advice is to first gain clarity on your primary goals. Are you looking for a coach to:
- Provide editorial feedback and advice on how and where to publish your work?
- Help you overcome challenges or blocks?
- Provide holistic support for your work, including a spiritual dimension?
- Answer technical questions, such as how much to charge for your work?
- Help you meet specific creative challenges, such as finding time, organizing, finding your voice and sustaining a state of creative flow?
- Write your book for you?
Once you determine what you’re looking for, look at the person’s website. Do they:
- Emphasize the areas you need help with?
- Contain convincing testimonials?
- Publish articles relevant to your interests?
Is their style appealing to you? What are their credentials?
Next, you might see if they will take time on the phone to answer your questions. Ask them what a typical coaching session might be like. Let them know what you’re looking for and ask them how they think they might be helpful. Ask them if they can give you examples of people in similar situations whom they’ve helped. You may also wish to ask for references. And, of course, ask what they charge.
If the coach’s fee is a bit steep for you, but you think it’s a good fit otherwise, do see if there’s room for negotiation. You may be able to schedule a half hour or forty five minute session rather than a full hour. A fellow coach recently told me about a client who couldn’t afford her fees. The client rounded up four friends for a group “teleclass,” so that they could all be coached together and share the cost.
In the end, your gut instinct may be one of the most helpful tools for assessing if it’s a good match. Good luck and happy coaching.
Lisa Tener is a writing coach who teaches students five steps for creative flow and success which she terms, “Magic for Your Muse.” She is co-author of Good and Mad: Transform Anger Using Mind, Body, Soul and Humor (along with Jane Middelton-Moz and Peaco Todd) and founder of the South County Writer’s Seminar.
Lisa has appeared on ABC World News with Peter Jennings, PBS-TV Rhode Island and WCVB-Boston’s Chronicle and HealthBeat. She has been quoted in Glamour, Family Circle, the Boston Globe and more. She is currently working on a series of books for artists and writers to help them complete creative projects successfully. Visit her website at www.lisatener.com.
Copyright 2004 by Lisa Tener; This article may be reprinted without permission only if you retain it in its entirety with the author bio and this copyright notice. If you would like to reprint a portion of this article, please e-mail me for permission at [email protected]