Just What is Business Writing Coaching?

April 05, 2011

by Jeanne Byrnes

Good business writing, an essential skill to most management positions, can be taught. Although there are classes and online resources for improving English language proficiency and writing skills, there is great value in having a living human, one who is fully present to the goals and needs of the clients, to work one-on-one with them. Not only is writing a highly complex process, it is a decidedly individualized one, as well. Business Writing Coaching provides the unique and personal help that can bring the fastest, most tangible results

The summary of a study published in Personnel Update states: "Writing skills ... of executives are shockingly low, indicating that schools and colleges dismally fail with at least two-thirds of the people who pass through the education pipeline coming out unable to write a simple letter."

With increasing specialization in college majors and into graduate studies, many people can go through college or even graduate school with little or no writing skills, especially in engineering or business, where writing may not be a priority. What if employees lack essential skills to accomplish written materials? What if cultural barriers stand in the way of progress? Memos may be muddled, reports may be rambling, and emails and letters may lack clarity.

The answer is to hire a Business Writing Coach, who can diagnose the nature of the writing problem, identify key areas to work on, and create a learning plan aimed directly at those areas where improvement can be made. Business Writing Coaching provides one-one-one assistance to professionals, whether they are native or non-native English speakers.

For many non-native speakers, the problem may be understanding basic rules of grammar or sentence structure. A Business Writing Coach can help with a very wide spectrum of issues including: subject-verb agreement, verb tense choice, preposition and article use. Again, once the focus is on the solution, improvement can come quickly. For native speakers, the problem usually has more to do with getting through writer’s block and feeling more confidence when writing. They may need tools for brainstorming, ways to be more concise, or instruction on organizing the writing. With focused practice and supportive feedback, these areas can improve significantly. The key is in the client’s willingness to participate.

Client participation and give and take are essential to the coaching process. Starting at the beginning, the client provides some goals for her writing skills to complement the Writing Coaches assessment. Although providing the know-how and tools to complete concise written pieces is the work of the coach, it is up to the client to carry out all of the reading and writing exercises to put the lessons into practice, and be a part of this process. With the help of a Business Writing Coach, breakthroughs to the next career level can be on the horizon.

MEET SANDRA ZIMMER.
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