I was asked to pitch for some work recently. The brief was for tone of voice guidelines. But that’s like asking for a specific drill bit.
Once I started asking questions, I knew they really wanted their people to write well, with empathy and humanity. They needed a certain-sized hole, not a drill bit.
You can’t change how people write with guidelines, you achieve that through behaviour change.
In our bigger projects we spend a lot of time training people so that happens. But what do you do when you don’t have the time or budget?
I’ve been working with a charity in exactly that position. They wanted help with their vision, mission and values, and knew they needed to be better writers. But they didn’t have the budget for a large-scale change project.
So, I took a different approach – coaching their team to get the result they wanted.
Instead of writing a set of guidelines and handing them over, I’m coaching and mentoring one of their leaders. In 2 two-hour sessions a month, we’re writing the vision and guidelines together.
But why take this approach?
- It’s great if you’ve got limited resources but want real change.
- You get ongoing support for your writing.
- You’re in charge of what you’re creating, no consultancy telling you ‘the best way’.
- You’ve got expertise on tap but in a budget-friendly way.
- You’ll get your team writing in harmony.
I love this kind of work and my client is getting just what they need. So do you think I should offer more coaching work? I’d love to hear what you think.