Coaching FAQ

How can coaching help me?

As your coach, my role is to support you to work out what direction you want to be going in and how best to get there. I will encourage you to think big and work out what your ideal situation would be – but also to work out what kind of barriers currently stand in your way of getting there, and to help you to brainstorm some ways of overcoming those barriers. You will leave a coaching session feeling properly listened to, understood, energised, motivated and clear about what concrete steps you need to take next.

What can I get from a coaching session that I couldn’t get from talking to a friend?

Well, it depends on your friends… What I can offer is the unusual combination of being an accredited coach (so, I’ve been taught how to listen properly, how to reflect back to you both what you’re saying and what you might be leaving out, and how to work with you to come up with a tailored action plan, taking into account anything that might currently be holding you back from doing what you want to do, and finding ways round those barriers) AND an experienced books professional (see my about page here for more on my work background).

If you have a friend with those characteristics, who’s willing to put everything aside for an hour and focus exclusively on you, your writing and what you want to achieve, then I would definitely go for that option (having first baked her or him a batch of brownies at the very least)… Otherwise, if there’s something about your writing practice that’s been bugging you, some problem you can’t seem to solve, then I would definitely consider coaching.

Another benefit to talking to a coach rather than a friend, family member or partner is that I have no personal stake in any decision you might come to as a result of our discussion. If you come to the conclusion that, for instance, you want to go on a 3 month writing retreat, or drop to working part-time hours to focus on your writing, then you can work through, with me, what you think the repercussions of this would be, without the conversation being caught up in your partner’s emotional and financial worries about such an idea. Of course, if you do decide to go ahead with a big change, you will want to take into account the needs and viewpoints of the people close to you, but it can help to at least get clear on what your own ideal situation would be first, before you start negotiating with your nearest and dearest about how to make that possible.

How does a coaching session work?

Firstly, you need to email me at sparkforwriters[at]outlook[dot]com, letting me know you’re interested in coaching and giving me a pointer as to the issue you’d like us to work together on. I’ll let you know my current availability and then if that works for you, I’ll send you my preparation questionnaire. After you’ve sent that to me, we’ll arrange a time for us to have a free ten minute phone or Skype chat, so that you can tell me more about your issue and a bit about yourself. This way, we can come up with an acheivable goal for the session and we can both prep properly for it. As a result, we don’t waste any time on preliminaries in the coaching session itself, we can dive right in and start dealing with the big issues immediately.

Your session will last an hour, and by the end of that hour, we will have come up with an action plan. You will have checked this plan to make sure there are no hidden obstacles to getting to where you want to be, and we’ll have thought of some ways round any problems that you come up with. You should leave our session feeling supported, motivated and as if there’s at least one person on planet Earth who gets what you’re trying to do with your writing, understands the problems you’re having and is encouraging you to get to where you want to be. After the session, you’ll get an audio recording and my action notes, so that you have a record of exactly what steps we came up with. Then, two weeks later, I’ll be back in touch to see how you’re getting on putting all your great ideas into action.

Do I need to sign up for a series of sessions?

Not at all – in fact, for most people one session is enough to get them unstuck and fizzing with energy about what they’re going to do next. Sometimes we will uncover other issues which would need another session to resolve, so it can be useful to have two or three sessions to cover everything. I’m also always happy to do a bit of follow-up by email, so if something arises in the weeks or months after our session, just drop me a line and I can give you my take on it there and then.

I’m in! What do I do now?

Email me at sparkforwriters[at]outlook.com and we can plan and schedule your session.