8 Steps to Identify the Best Writing Coach for You - Craft Your Content

8 Steps to Identify the Best Writing Coach for You

Want to hire a writing coach, but you’re clueless how to go about it?

Maybe you’re unhappy with your writing skills, your productivity as a writer, and even the current state of your writing business and career. 

It’s possible that at first, you struggled to come up with new writing ideas, and with time you started using every excuse under the sun to avoid sitting down to write. Sadly, when you finally forced yourself, you only stared at your screen without writing, for long periods of time.

Now, you’ve decided to team up with a writing coach to inject new life into your writing.

Legitimate writing coaches can provide guidance and direction to help you avoid information overload or expensive mistakes, and overcome any obstacles preventing you from achieving your goals. They have solid credentials, experience in one or more relevant writing specialties, and they always deliver on their promises.

Ready to hire a writing coach that provides outstanding value?

Keep reading and you will learn eight steps to identify bona fide writing coaches and pick the most suitable one for you.

Determine Why You Need a Writing Coach

It helps to know what your challenges and goals are before seeking help.

Without clear knowledge and understanding of the reasons why you need a writing coach, the goals you want to achieve, or the writing challenges you want to overcome, you can end up hiring the wrong coach.

To avoid that expensive mistake, simply take some time and write down all the reasons why you need a writing coach.

Need some ideas? Below are some of the reasons why both new and experienced writers usually team up with a writing coach

  • To get one-on-one writing guidance, training, and support.
  • To overcome writing fears and challenges such as impostor syndrome, writer’s block, and so on.
  • To write successfully in a new genre or niche.
  • To beat procrastination and meet deadlines regularly.
  • To achieve writing goals at a faster rate.
  • To get honest feedback on their writing.

Once you start by writing your reasons down, your search will be based on a solid foundation, giving you a higher chance of locating and hiring a writing coach that’s a good fit for you. 

Cast a Wide Net

If you want to find writing coaches that provide real value, you need to cast a wide net to drastically improve your chances of success.

Let’s take a look at some strategies you can use:

  • Ask friends and family members who are writers.
  • Ask editors, agents, and other writing and publishing industry professionals you know or relate with.
  • Ask writing experts and influencers you’ve been reading, listening to, or following if they provide coaching services or can recommend good writing coaches.
  • Ask members of your writing communities or other groups you belong to.
  • Do thorough research online.

Once you have a sizable number of recommendations and possible candidates, create a list and use all the steps discussed below to evaluate them individually.

Pick a Coach Whose Advertised Services Cover All Your Needs

You wouldn’t hire a baseball player to teach you about soccer.

Believe it or not, there are various types of coaches out there, providing a wide range of services and specializing in different areas: 

  • Nonfiction writing coaches
  • Book writing coaches
  • Content writing coaches
  • Academic writing coaches
  • Screenwriting coaches
  • Fiction writing coaches
  •  Self-publishing coaches

Imagine for a moment what a costly mistake it would be if you end up hiring a:

  • Writing coach who only provides group coaching, when you need one-on-one coaching.
  • Book writing coach when your goal is to become a successful screenwriter.

Bottom line, do your research and pick only those whose advertised services and coaching packages cover all the reasons you wrote down earlier. Remember to confirm that you’re OK with their coaching methods, like one-on-one or group coaching, in-person or remote coaching through video chats and phone calls, or a mixture of all.

Verify Credentials and Past Student Testimonials

To make sure the writing coach you plan to hire is genuine, it’s important to first check their credentials and look for testimonials from past students.

Here are some relevant questions that can guide you:

  • How long has the coach been coaching others?
  • Are student testimonials with their full names displayed on the website of the coach?
  • Is the coach ready to provide contact details of past students so you can talk to them?
  • Have any of the current or past students achieved a goal similar to your desired goal as a result of working with this coach?

In addition, check out this advice from Estelle Erasmus, a writing coach and former magazine editor-in-chief of five national consumer publications, in an article written for Writer’s Digest:

“Before signing with a coach, post a notice asking for information on Facebook groups for writers, or Google the words ‘lawsuit,’ ‘scam’ and ‘complaint’ along with the coach’s name.”

Check for Up-To-Date, Relevant Experience

Make sure your coach has current knowledge of the industry you’re writing in.

Because the world changes rapidly, you need to check for the level of experience of the coach in the area of writing, niche, or genre you’re interested in, and how current that experience is.

For instance, if you need the services of a writing coach to become a successful self-published professional author of nonfiction books, then you need to ask:

  • Has the coach self-published any nonfiction book successfully?
  • If yes, how many books and over a period of how many years?
  • Moreover, how long ago was any of this done?

A writing coach that self-published a nonfiction book many years ago may not have up-to-date information, knowledge, and understanding of what is working today in that particular industry. 

Choose a writing coach that has years of relevant and current experience in the areas of writing you’re interested in. 

Consider Your Budget

Depending on who you ask, coaching can sometimes appear very expensive or, conversely, very affordable due to factors like:

  • The level of experience and expertise of the coach.
  • The coaching services and packages available.
  • Whether coaching is done in-person or through phone calls and video chats, or a combination of these options.
  • Whether a hefty upfront payment is required or you can just pay for individual sessions. 

You’re the only one who knows your financial situation and how much you’re comfortable spending on the services of a coach.

So, do your research and find out what writing coaches with the level of expertise and experience you need generally charge. Then consider your goals and come up with a budget that you’re comfortable with.

In short, look for a coach whose prices fall within your budget.

Request a Trial Coaching Session

trial before hire writing coach
A trial session helps both you and the coach figure out if it will be a good fit.

You can further increase your chances of identifying a bona fide coach and picking the best one for you just by asking for and going through a trial session.

Not sure what a trial coaching session is? 

In simple terms, a trial session can be described as a short session that most writing coaches provide, either at no cost or at a drastically reduced rate, so people interested in their services can experience their coaching before hiring them. 

Because a lot of real coaches don’t usually accept offers to coach everyone interested in their services, a trial session also helps them to weed out prospective clients that are not a good fit so they can refer them to another coach. 

Even though a few writing coaches may not advertise trial sessions, feel free to ask for it because your experience with them, good or bad, will give you practical insight and better understanding of what you can expect from the coach and whether the experience is worth paying for. 

Decide if There Is a Good Fit

At last, it’s time to make a final decision and pick the best candidate as your writing coach, taking everything you’ve learned so far into consideration. 

But before you decide, use the following important questions to further pin down the best writing coach for you:

  • Can you see yourself talking with this person without any reservations?
  • Is the coach also convinced that the two of you are a good fit and can work together successfully?
  • Did you leave the trial session feeling inspired, encouraged, and eager to start the next session? 

Even if your most qualified candidate passed all other steps, this last one can be a deal-breaker. If you don’t feel a rapport with them, if you aren’t convinced they’re a good listener, or if you don’t believe you are a good fit after the trial session, then it’s better not to hire this coach.

Instead, cast your net again and come up with a fresh list of possible candidates, then evaluate each one until you find a writing coach that not only passed all the steps but who you also believe is a great fit.      

Hire the Best Writing Coach for You!

You can successfully hire a legitimate writing coach who is the right fit for you. 

Start by listing all the reasons why you need a coach and then cast a wide net to locate qualified candidates.

Look for those whose advertised services include everything you need, verify their credentials and past student testimonials, check for current relevant experience, consider your budget, and ask for a trial coaching session.

All in all, improve your chances of locating and hiring a solid writing coach that’s a great fit for you by going through all the steps discussed above and taking everything you learn into consideration.

About the Author Sola Kehinde

Sola Kehinde is a freelance content writer for hire with 10+ years of corporate business management experience. She helps businesses of all sizes create engaging blog posts, case studies, guides, tutorials and eBooks that attract and convert. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her drinking green tea, watching movies or curled up with a good book. Visit her writing portfolio here.