Hey, Coach!

A conversation I had last week with an author who had submitted an article to Afterschool Matters, the journal I edit, made me notice something I hadn’t thought much about.

I do a lot of coaching.

I’ve been hired to coach writers a few times – in the National Afterschool Matters Fellowship, for example.

But I coach people all the time, even when it’s not my job.

  • This conversation with the author was designed to help her revise her piece toward what peer reviewers had suggested would be more useful to readers. All authors get written suggestions along those lines. A few need help getting from here to there. That is, they need coaching.
  • In a conversation with a new client about launching its email newsletter, the director suggested adding the organization’s board to the subscription list. I said that was a great idea. But for the first issue, I went on to say, “Maybe you could instead forward the message from your own inbox, with a note saying, ‘Look what we’re doing!'”

For Afterschool Matters, I was hired to manage peer review and edit accepted articles, not to coach authors. For the new client, I was hired to develop content, not to manage board relations.

I do coaching beyond what I was hired to do at least once a week.

  • Because others have coached me, and my work is better for it.
  • Because I like it.
  • Because the clients and authors like it.
  • Because it’s good client relations and therefore good marketing.
  • Because I like it.
  • Because it’s the right thing to do.
  • Because, as much as I value being a competent person, I’d rather be remembered as a helpful person.
  • Because I like it.

Here’s the thing: Being able to edit articles and write email newsletters  – those are what David Brooks calls “resume virtues.” Giving away expertise for free – that’s a “eulogy virtue.” (Read the New Yorker review of Brooks’s 2015 book for a summary.)

You have your areas of expertise as I have mine. How are you sharing that expertise to make your corner of the world a better place?

Oh, and if you need some coaching on clear, effective communication, let’s talk.

2018-05-17T09:13:46+00:00 May 17th, 2018|Categories: Inspiration|Tags: , |