There are plenty of writing coaches and book coaches to help you become a better writer. They are kind of ‘life coaches for writers’ but I like to think of them as book whisperers – they help get that book out of you and made real.
Before you rush in, however, and employ the services of the first writing coach you meet, ensure you do your homework and investigate whether or not they’re the right coach for you.
There are 2 responsibilities of a writing coach – responsibilities to themselves and responsibilities to their client. Within each ‘responsibility’ the acronym DREAM summarises it very well:
Let’s now discuss each of the 5 ‘responsibilities’ briefly.
A writing coach must be dedicated to the ideal of coaching:
- its passion
- its values
- its professionalism
- its ‘way of life’
They must also be dedicated to helping clients achieve their writing goals and purpose through their writing.
A responsible writing coach is one with emotional intelligence, attentiveness and the ability to delay gratification for themselves and for their clients.
They take their role seriously and professionally, even to the point where the writing needs of their client are equal to their coaching needs.
A responsible writing coach will listen to the needs of their client and formulate an action plan to help satisfy those needs and requirements, rather than supplying their client with services and products they feel is ‘best’ for the client.
A writing coach must also be committed to lifelong learning of their craft.
At a minimum, they must practice what they preach. For instance, a spiritual life coach can’t at heart be an atheist. Likewise, a writing coach would be expected to have had some editing, publishing or journalistic experience and continue to educate themselves in the field of writing.
The attitude of a writing coach should also encompass a positive outlook in general.
A writing coach should celebrate goals achieved and ‘little victories’, be an attentive communicator, and hold themselves and their clients accountable for what they say they are going to do – write!
The attitude of a writing coach is: I will help you to set your writing vision and goals, help map a path to that vision, and then walk with you to that destination.
A writing coach helps you set your direction and start moving forward on your writing journey.
When times are tough, the role of the writing coach is to help their client pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and keep moving forward.
There are many motivating techniques, and a writing coach will know which ones work for each individual client. A carrot might work for one client, but a stick will work for another. Sometimes both are required.
The Chinese proverb says, ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.’ A writing coach walks that journey with their client.
When it comes to choosing the right writing coach, remember to bring your checklist to ensure they have:
- Dedication to you and your individual writing needs and requirements
- A responsible attitude to formulate your writing plan
- Commitment to lifelong learning to writing
- A positive attitude
- The ability to motivate you to finish your book
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