I’m pleased to announce that I am offering writing mentorships for trainers and behavior professionals through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) again this year. The mentorships will enable professionals to improve their writing and better represent their businesses. Mentees who make the most of the course will leave the mentorship with documents they can immediately put to professional use.
The mentorships start on January 14, 2018. During the eight-week course, I will provide individual coaching to up to 15 mentees with writing projects of their choice. The projects may already be in progress or may be started during the mentorship. There will be print and video course materials and a weekly videoconference. I will provide startup assignments and information on typical business documents for mentees who want help with writing but don’t know where to start.
There are also spots for auditors. They will audit in the academic sense. Auditors will be able to view all written discussions in the classroom between the mentor and mentees, will have full access to the supporting course materials, but will not take part in the videoconferences or submit their own projects.
The above link will tell you “who, what, when, and where” about the mentorships. But here I’m going to tell you the “how and why.” How will they work and what will it be like for participants? And why should you sign up?
How Will the Mentorships Work?
The mentorships will take place in an online classroom. The classroom allows for several kinds of interaction. I’ll be posting videos and files. I’ll provide resource lists, cheat sheets, and sample assignments. Mentees will upload their individual projects so we can work on them together. Auditors and other mentees will view our discussions and the editing process. Mentees and auditors will be able to chat with each other. If time is available I may answer auditors’ questions related to the mentees’ projects. The mentees and I will have weekly videoconferences.
Documents we can work on include but are not limited to articles, blog posts, class handouts, behavior assessments, biographies and other marketing materials, announcements, press releases, grants, reports, and books. Fiction is welcome as well.
Prepared course materials will cover style sheets, time management, motivation, organization, voice and audience, writing tools, editing tools, search engine optimization, references and plagiarism, and collaboration.
How Will Things Work for Participants?
Here are the three most important things mentees need to know:
- I will be your hired coach. You can tell me the types of assistance and critique you want, or you can turn me loose and say, “Help!” We’ll figure out the best way to work together. My goal will be to help you improve your writing skills so you can turn out some great documents. My help won’t be painful or embarrassing.
- I will not be grading anything. We’ll all push aside the “write-it-for-a-grade-and-hope-the-teacher-likes-it” paradigm. That’s not what this is about.
- Our chat content will not be subject to critique. We will do a lot of communicating in a chat interface. Even though this is a writing mentorship, the spelling and grammar police are not invited to the chat conversations. Abbreviations, shortcuts, and other chat conventions will be fine. If we don’t understand something, we’ll ask. Nothing in the mentorship will be critiqued except the mentees’ projects, and then only by me unless a mentee requests feedback from others.
A Note for the Introverts
There has been a trend in organizations for a few years to adopt an extroverted educational model. Boisterous entertainment. Aggressive engagement. Required participation. Making everything into a game that no one can decline.
You introverts don’t need to worry. You can keep on being introverts. I’m one, too. We’ll have fun. We will have some contests and games. Write a paragraph in exactly the wrong voice! Submit the dorkiest bio! But there will be no required or forced participation. You get to have your own definition of fun. However you choose to take part, I’ll do my best to make it interesting and fun for you.
Why Professionals Need Coaching and Mentoring
Writers need coaches!
Top-level professional singers usually use vocal coaches for their entire professional careers. Professional athletes in individual sports such as tennis likewise retain personal coaches throughout their playing careers. Having an expert outside observer and teacher is essential. It allows professionals to get more information about their tasks and feedback on their skill sets. It prevents them from falling into idiosyncrasies. It gives that invaluable second pair of ears or eyes.
Coaching is a successful model for a writing mentorship. Calling on a mentor doesn’t mean you are helpless or unprofessional. It’s not about getting a grade. It doesn’t have to hurt your ego. It’s about getting an outside perspective and expert feedback.
Better writing will help you communicate better with your peers, provide clearer instructions to your clients, and present a more polished public appearance.
You can read my bio on the mentorship page linked above, but I’m also providing some writing samples here. Since my voice in the blog is moderately casual, I’ve included some documents that demonstrate more formal styles.
- Blog: Eileenanddogs.com.
- Book: Remember Me? Loving and Caring for a Dog with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (sample available at Amazon.com).
- Master’s Thesis: Characterization of Active Sound Cancellation Zone of Silence in Reverberant Enclosure with Periodic Disturbance. (My thesis advisor required that I write in the passive voice, by the way. That style is changing in the sciences now.)
- Narrative from funded grant: EFG Health.
Copyright 2016 Eileen Anderson