What can you expect in a writing coach? What should you look for? I recommend looking for experience/expertise, empathy, an energy match, the right amount of time, and structure/format that works for you. The 10 questions to ask when hiring a writing coach, which you will find below, will help you find a good fit.
Not all coaches have experience yet; everyone has to start somewhere. If you’re having a conversation with someone who is just starting out, asking about the person’s expertise will help you determine if that coach is a good one for you.
Without empathy, nothing else matters. This doesn’t mean that your coach needs to be able to cry with you if you cry, but it does mean that your coach needs to be able to understand how you feel at every point along the way. It is important for a coach to be able to stand in your shoes and relate to feeling afraid, anxious about readers’ reactions, or hurt by criticism, and to understand the fatigue that often comes with writing.
If you’re high-strung, you may need a coach who has a high level of energy to give you, or you may need one who can calm you down. If you need both, at different times, there are two options: have two different coaches, or find one who can switch gears as needed. Finding one that fits your needs is important, though.
How much time will you need? An hour a week is pretty standard, but there are different packages with different coaches. It lets you check in, get feedback and the next week’s goals set. There is the rare coach who allows for multiple check-ins during the week. No matter what time constraints you’re dealing with, please respect your coach’s time.
Different writing coaches offer different structures or formats for coaching. One might have worksheets, others might not. Some may do webinars, while others prefer Skype sessions or strictly email.
10 questions to ask when hiring a writing coach
Here are 10 questions to ask when hiring a writing coach. Feel free to add more, especially if a coach’s answers spark more questions for you.
- Who have you helped in the past, and may I speak with them?
- What is your area of greatest strength?
- How do you work the best: in person, by phone, by email, or by chat?
- Do you coach mostly fiction writers, or nonfiction writers?
- What do you find the most challenging when it comes to coaching?
- Are there any genres that you refuse to be involved with?
- What packages do you offer?
- How much time will you have to devote to me?
- How can I be an excellent client for you?
- What are your rates?
Rates are listed last because although cost may be a determining factor in which coach to hire, if the other things are not a good match, it won’t matter how affordable a coach may be, because it won’t be a good fit.
Which question do you find the most helpful? It doesn’t have to be one from this list. Share in the comments below.