Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Coaching for Accountability

I spoke with my coach, Stephanie, today -- brought her up to date, reported on current projects, and told her my plans for October and November.

I almost rescheduled our appointment, because my good friend Denise had agreed to come and help set posts for the riding arena. Of course, when I scheduled an arena-fence-post-day, I forgot about my session with Stephanie. But I didn't cancel. (It's always easy to say "no." I'm afraid it would have set a dangerous precedent...) Instead, I begged off from setting posts for a bit and came in for the call.

The best thing about having a coach is that she keeps me accountable. She remembers what my goals are. She knows what I'm aiming toward. She keeps me on track and encourages me. And she holds me accountable for my own dreams.

When I'm working with a writer (as the coach, instead of the coach-ee), I like to do the same thing. As someone who's "been there," and as someone who is not so close to the project that I've become myopic over it, I constantly try to find ways to help the writer see the big picture.

I ask the writer to remember the reader. We explore ways to add value to the reader's experience. We discuss long-term plans for the book. We work to streamline the writing process and improve the writer's productivity. And we continually come back to The Point of the whole project, revisiting it from several different angles, to make sure that the end result is consistent with the original vision.

Working with a coach is just that: work. A coach pushes, prods, and challenges you. A coach is as invested in your success as you are, but the coach's dreams are not yours. If you want your vision to become reality, you must take responsibility for making it happen. A good coach in your corner can help show you the way. But it's up to you to commit to the journey.

Back Book News

"The Rider's Back Book" is nearly ready to send to the publisher. I spent some time on the phone last night with Dr. Warson, discussing the medical illustrations (x-rays, MRIs, CT scans and others) that will be in the book.

Our conversation was punctuated with such comments as:

Ooo, this is great. There's a metastatic tumor here that anyone will be able to see...

What an excellent shot of a ruptured disc!

Oh yeah! The L5 / S1 is so damaged that they've practically fused together. See? Ooo -- and there's a disc impinging on the spinal cord, too -- great stuff!

I told him I was seeing a whole new side of him. Most people, myself included, rarely include "ruptured disc" and "great shot" in the same sentence.

Ah, but he was in his element, looking at radiographs, commenting on them, and deciding upon the best ones for the book.

Tomorrow, we are to go over Charles' photographs and make sure all are seen and signed off on. Then it's just a matter of making a hard copy and sending the package off to Vermont. Life is good!