Are you a mentor or coach to your readers? Writing books, especially how-to and self-help books, is a form of mentoring–of sharing both the expertise and wisdom you have been blessed with. And writing can also be a form of coaching–anticipating what your readers may be going through, offering them tools to help them achieve the results they seek, helping them feel capable that they can do it.
Last week, I traveled to Manhattan where I was honored with receiving the Silver Stevie Award for “Mentor or Coach of the Year – Business – 2014.” Today, I reflected on many of my coaches and mentors who have coached me as a writer, author, entrepreneur, teacher, coach and mentor–and the many lessons they taught me. They offer all of us a model for what we can bring to our writing, mentoring, coaching, teaching and other roles and relationships in our work and beyond:
1. BE GENEROUS: My publicist and colleague Rusty Shelton has taught me so much about generosity. Well beyond the official end of our book publicity campaign he went out of his way to send opportunities our way. He also serves as a powerful example of integrity. Generosity breeds loyalty and it’s also great karma!
2. ENVISION: Intuitive Julia Griffin has shown me how to focus on the good I want to create in the world–and in my own personal world, business and family–and to spend time on envisioning every day of my life. She has also taught me to meditate daily, which has opened up my writing, my work and my life. In addition, as a mentor, she’s not afraid to tell me things I don’t want to hear (at first–I’m always grateful later!). She’s willing to bring something un-pretty to my attention, so I can shift it. Great mentors don’t hold back just because you may not like what they have to say. They know that some of our greatest transformations come from shining light on the darker areas of our personality. They take risks for your own good.
3. OFFER EXPERIENCES: Coach Stephanie Marisca reminded me yesterday that I do my best presentations when I offer people an experience. Give people something to take away and use.
4. APPRECIATE YOUR GIFTS, YOUR VOICE: Tama Kieves reminds me that we often don’t value our greatest gifts because they are so obvious to us. The more we value our unique way of processing and communicating information–and the many nuances of our “voice”–the more powerful our writing voice becomes.
5. VALUE YOUR SERVICES: Teri Scheinzeit, Morgana Rae and Belinda Fuchs Rosenblum all taught me to value the services I provide to others. From their great coaching, I have gone on to support my clients in valuing all that they bring to their clients and customers. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.
6. WRITE GOALS THAT INSPIRE YOU–A 10! I apprenticed with my first coach, Wendy Keilin, early in my coaching career. She taught me way more than I can share in one blog post. A few of the lessons include the power of setting goals and intention and to keep asking, “What’s missing from this goal to make it a 10 out of 10 on the Inspiration Scale?” until you have a 10 (something I continue to use with my clients when we work on the vision statements for their books).
7. TALK LESS; BE MORE: My friends and colleagues from MaestroConference offered way more than providing technical assistance on my interactive teleseminars. I am the teacher I am because of their coaching. Joshua Home Edwards, Mitch Feigenberg and Adam Koren all taught me how to become less of a talker and more of a facilitator. As Joshua recently put it, “You’re not just offering inspiration and information. You’re offering creative conversation, transformation and implementation.” It took trust and vulnerability to teach this way–and it’s one of the things I am most proud of as a book coach and teacher. I can also promise you that if you try this, it is one of those exponential ways to up your game and be a source of transformation to others.
8. UNDERSTAND YOUR AUDIENCE: Melissa Sones offers a brilliant of example of how the better you understand your audience for any piece of writing, the more effective and successful you can be.
9. COLLABORATE: Linda Joy, Lalita Amos and others have taught me the power of mutual support, and I have enjoyed such collaborations with Linda Joy, Sam Bennett, Joshua Home Edwards, Ginger Moran, Kelly Malone, Stuart Horwitz, Katherine Mayfield, Tracy Hart, Maestroconference, and all my affiliates, too numerous to mention–I thank you for helping me do the work I love. And thank you to my first writing collaborators–Peaco Todd and Jane Middelton-Moz, and later, Jen Senecal.
10. PLAN AHEAD: Okay, I’m a bit of a hack on this one, but I’m working on it! My assistant Geri Lafferty has been a huge support in this stretch. And Linda Joy and Julia Griffin have also encouraged me here.