One-on-one Coaching to Improve Your Writing in the Workplace
My technique: If people receive too many comments – hours worth of them on the telephone – or if all space in the margins in a document is filled up with comments, people get discouraged and overwhelmed. They also don’t have enough time to do their substantive work if they spend hours being edited.
I usually use the following steps:
- Identify one or at most two problems per document. The problems are either the highest priority or ones that can be solved most easily.
- Identify the problem briefly to the person being coached.
- Explain briefly why the problem is a problem.
Ask the person how he or she could have avoided the problem; walk the person through solving the problem; or give the person the solution outright – whichever is appropriate.
Move on – either to the next problem or to ending the coaching session.
Why do I say that “I usually use the following steps”? Because sometimes people want to be coached on a particularly important document. In that case, we’ll review the entire document. Sometimes people want long coaching sessions. In that case, I’ll provide them.
Coaching vs. editing: Sometimes documents need so many changes that the process becomes, not coaching, but editing. I provide editing as well.
I prefer coaching over editing. That way, a document’s author can still present the document as his or her own work, and do so more fairly. And the author has learned something from the process.
My non-threatening approach: People are self-conscious about their writing, and defensive, too. I recognize that, help them feel comfortable, and show that I am on their side.
My success in coaching: I have coached people in their workplace writing. I have seen their writing improve. And it’s gratifying.
Long distance: I am based in Boston, but I have worked with clients across the country, including coaching lawyers by phone.
I customize the length of my seminars, from 1 ¼ hours to a work day. I customize the content to address the common writing challenges in your workplace.
I don’t lecture literally or figuratively. I succeed at putting people at ease. And my writing tips stick.