I happily rent my home now, but in a past life, I was both a homeowner and landlord. In those roles, my motto used to be, “If it’s broken, get a professional to fix it.”
I’m a writer and a teacher by trade, not a dry-waller or a plumber, and I don’t enjoy any task you might put into the category of “home repair.” So I don’t see why I should spend my precious time learning skills others have already developed and are delighted to put to lucrative use.
As an entrepreneur, I try to apply this same philosophy to my business whenever I can. But outsourcing can take a growing business only so far. While I can effectively delegate many different tasks (preferably to people who do them better than I can), I can’t outsource any of my key business activities.
I’m happy, for instance, to ask someone else to do my bookkeeping, schedule my appointments, and help with various behind-the-scenes aspects of certain projects. But I’d be foolish to try to wriggle out of writing coaching, group training, or authoring because those are the core activities that define my business. Without those activities, my business doesn’t exist.
Communication is also a core activity—not just for my business but for any business. Whatever you do, however you do it, your team’s ability to perform depends on their ability to share knowledge and ideas through clear, persuasive communication.
So why do so many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of thinking that a communication problem is an issue they should ignore until their organization grows large enough to start outsourcing it?
Two false assumptions explain why communication gets ignored, even though one could argue it’s THE key activity innovative organizations engage in:
Myth #1: Fuzzy communication is just part of the bootstrapper package. Entrepreneurs put up with internal communication glitches (such as project delays caused by unclear emails) and weak marketing collateral because they don’t see any other affordable option. Without budget to pay for a consultant or marketing agency, they resign themselves to creating a marketing footprint they know they’ll be embarrassed to look back on one day.
Myth #2: Only certain “creatives” can produce compelling communication. Because entrepreneurs are often experts in their field, they assume it takes a communication expert to craft effective documents and presentations.
These myths assume that crisp, cogent communication is a luxury, something organizations can afford only once they hit the big leagues. But what if there were a simpler, more accessible way for start-ups and scale-ups to get the communication support they need to survive and thrive?
Clarity Coaching offers an alternative. It provides a way for entrepreneurs to tap into their native creativity, own their message, and build the vital communication capacity they need for growth.
As a Clarity Coach, I take a co-creative approach to any communication project. I start with the assumption that the client knows best. YOU are the expert on your target audience, the unique value of your innovative solution, and the message you want to convey. My role is to serve as a catalyst, a sounding board, and a collaborator who asks really tough questions.
As someone outside your organization and your area of expertise, I’ll never understand your mission and vision with the clarity you do. Your purpose and passion are so much a part of you that I can’t pretend to grasp your ideas with 100% accuracy. But I can help you refine your thinking, hone in on the ideas that matter most, and present them in ways that will resonate with your target audience, building trust and inspiring action.
The coaching process works differently for everyone because it responds to individual goals and learning needs. Here are some examples of how I help clients as a Clarity Coach:
- Provide detailed feedback (via Zoom and/or email) on an important piece of communication, such as a sales email, web page, grant application, pitch deck, or white paper.
- Guide an idea-generating session (or a stakeholder analysis session) to get started on a complex document, such as a proposal.
- Conduct a Clear Sight Session to reach an in-depth understanding of your target audience, especially the emotional and psychological factors driving their decision-making.
- Co-create guidelines for crafting a distinct, personable brand voice attractive to your target audience.
- Brainstorm ways to overcome a recurring writing issue, such as writer’s block or trouble with organization.
- Help reorganize a document for easier reading.
- Help repurpose a document so it can be used for a different audience.
- Identify “grammar glitches” that are repeatedly showing up in your writing and provide tips for conquering them.
- Provide small-group training sessions for your team, on particular writing topics
- Explore ways to coordinate team writing more effectively.
- Critique various aspects of a document, including argumentation and visuals.
- Uncover compelling stories to convey the strength of your brand.
- Role-play the most skeptical segment or member of your audience.
- Provide suggestions regarding graphic design.
- Help polish a document to make it market- or client-ready.
Clarity Coaching can also be combined with authoring services. For example, we might start a project by doing some collaborative brainstorming and articulating the qualities of your brand voice. Then, I might conduct some research and produce a first draft for you to review.
As with any coaching process, you sit in the driver’s seat. It’s your message and your audience, and I’m there to help you successfully navigate through the creative process to your end goal.
The best thing about being a Clarity Coach is getting this reaction from a client: “That’s perfect, exactly what I meant! How did you find just the right words?”
I’ll let you in on my secret: the words are already in you. The skill of a Clarity Coach is simply to bring them out so the whole world can hear them and recognize the amazing work you’re doing through your business.
To learn more about how Clarity Coaching could help take your business to the next level, drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.