I have been working on my nonfiction project Emotionally Intense! a lot this week, writing the third section of the book that deals with teaching parents how to be the emotional coach for their children.
In the midst of analysing the specific skills necessary for effective coaching, I couldn’t help but think about my crit partners and the role they play in my life. These partners do much more than simply shred my various works in progress. They act as my personal coaches with regards to writing.
So, what does it take to be an effective coach – in writing or in life?
Three specific skills: communication, facilitation and inspiration.
Communication refers to the ability to effectively communicate with your partner. Goodness knows my critique partners have this down. Not only are they effective in pointing out the basic flaws in my writing, but they also communicate the items that are confusing, or those things that need to be fleshed out. They ask questions, give encouragement, and guide me towards a particular way of looking at my work.
Facilitation refers to the act of teaching something – in this case writing – in such a way that I not only learn to write, but learn to recognize personal writing patterns, and improve on them. For example, overusing specific words, not layering enough emotional depth, etc – These are things my crit partners have pointed out and as a result of their “tutoring”, I have become more aware of when and how I do these things. I have changed as a writer…and my partners have facilitated that change.
Inspiration refers to the ways in which my partners force me to be better than I thought possible. It requires faith on my part, and dedication of their part – both of which occur over time. I am fortunate enough to have partners that have inspired in more ways thn I could ever truly express – something I am more than a little grateful for!!!
Great coaching = communication, facilitation and inspiration = my critique partners. WOW, am I ever lucky to have found them!!!
Now its your turn: Are you someone’s coach? Do you have someone who “coaches” you?