What a Writer's Coach Does
What is coaching?
Coaching is a relationship that focuses on what the client wants, not the coach. The coach thus becomes a change agent in helping his/her client achieve a goal they thought impossible or may yet to imagine.
What does a personal coach do?
The coaching role helps to dispel the power differential that often exists in therapy. The focus is on the client to target goals and objectives, develop and implement an action plan, and develop strategies for sustained behavioral changes. In many ways the coach becomes the 'inner voice' of the person wanting to achieve change in his/her life, whether it be losing weight, staying with an exercise program, or writing a book.
What can I expect from a coach?
You should expect a person who is on your side but will be honest with you in what constraints might be holding you back from running that next marathon or writing that novel. A coach in some respects becomes a person of accountability who will hold you to task about your responsibilities for personal growth and learning.
Is the relationship between coach and client a confidential one?
Absolutely. While it may feel like a close personal relationship it does not extend beyond personal boundaries. Very personal information will be shared with your coach including: financial, job, customer lists, business affairs, and other proprietary information.
How is coaching done over the Internet?
It's not. The Internet is a tool for marketing one's coaching practice. All coaching is done privately by phone, usually in 30-minute sessions. Clients are billed monthly in advance.
How can I be sure that phone calls will remain confidential?
There's no absolute guarantee but the phone is far more private than Internet, even with firewall security systems.
What does the coaching session look or feel like?
In one sense the session is a conversation with a trusted advisor. But it's much more than that. The coach's job is to listen, not to advise; to encourage, not to solve problems; to help the client visualize what is possible, not impossible. The 30-minute session goes by very quickly. There are focus questions emailed or faxed to the client before each session and there is an agenda designed by both coach and client. Homework is given between sessions. Often coaches will offer information and services via email or fax between sessions at no extra charge.
What can I expect to pay for a personal coach?
Rates vary from $150-$500 per hour, depending on experience and market niche. For general coaching on a personal goal, rates might be lower than for executive coaching. Contracts generally define the relationship with the opportunity for either party to discontinue the relationship if it's not working out for the client.
How often do we meet?
For clients new to coaching with undefined goals, weekly, 30-minute sessions work better. For more seasoned clients who know exactly what they want to do, but need that 'extra push' then one to three sessions per month might work better.
Let's talk about you, Keith. What do you offer in the way of coaching?
I want to work with new writers who enjoy fiction and want to craft their first novel. My passion is writing even though I'm a full-time psychologist. I've enjoyed writing workshops, meeting agents and publishers, reading for fun, and helping others to develop and market their books.
What's your experience?
I've been writing seriously for six years and have nine published novels, one in China. I continue to write and plan to complete one novel a year. I've been in the trenches and have experienced the heartache and pain of rejection letters from agents and publishers. I don't want other new writers to go through this experience without preparation and the right attitude for creating and marketing your novel.
Do you have a particular genre you feel competent in?
Definitely. I prefer mystery and suspense thrillers. Although there are many generic components to writing which apply across genres, I can be particularly helpful to those writers who wish to write mainstream fiction.
What do you believe is the essential element of the coaching relationship?
The trust and belief that my clients have the potential to create a manuscript that can be liberating and therapeutic as well as entertain the reader.
How does coaching differ from therapy?
Therapy is a healthcare service provided by licensed therapists. Its primary focus is to identify, diagnose and treat nervous and mental disorders. In therapy the clients discuss intimate feelings and relationships in an effort to understand causes and help identify treatment outcomes.
Learn more about the Virtual Writing Coach.