Over the past two years, I’ve happily made a huge discovery in my business, one that has led to my increased professional satisfaction, deeper client progress, expanding my reach, and a multiple times increase in revenues. My discovery? I adore creating and teaching online courses. As a former high school educator with a Masters degree in Teaching, the craving to teach wasn’t new to me, but it didn’t occur to me until year three of my business that teaching my clients could be not only profitable but hugely emotionally rewarding.
For many coaches, moving beyond 1-to-1 coaching is one key to sustainable income. And as many coaches find, teaching or facilitating an online course, a group e-workshop, or an email challenge brings a new way to enjoy relationships with your clients and a refreshed appreciation for the work you love.
But not every coach has a background in teaching or facilitation. And not every coach considers herself a highly proficient writer or content creator.
That’s okay. You don’t need to have majored in English or been a classroom instructor to be a great teacher.
But you do need to wrap your mind around several truths about writing an e-course. No worries — I’ve got you covered.
Here are some tips for the coach who is writing content for his or her first e-course:
- Write content in the same voice as you would converse and aim to set the same tone you’d set were you coaching in a small group or 1-to-1. No need to sound erudite or lofty just because this is a course. Think more small group, less podium in a cavernous lecture hall.
- Understand how people learn — one concept at a time. Think of how we’re taught math in school. We aren’t presented with the full scope from counting to calculus in kindergarten. Rather, we start with counting, move on to basic operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, then on to geometry, pre-algebra, algebra, pre-calculus, and (if we’re really mathematically inclined) calculus. When a student is learning calculus, chapters one and two are not about counting and basic math operations. The same should be true of your e-course content. What “level of math” do your people, the people for this particular offer, need? Geometry? Great! Do geometry, or even just one part of geometry, in this e-course. Also keep in mind that your client arc may not span the distance from counting to calculus. Maybe your people are pre-algebra and algebra people only, and so your brand conversation focuses only on pre-algebra and algebra. When your clients are ready for pre-calc, they move on to a different coach or provider. And you get a whole new batch of clients who are perfectly primed for pre-algebra and algebra. Find your point of entry respective to what your Right People want and need to learn TODAY and teach from that place.
- Keep your scope of content small, tight, lean, honed. Coaches tend to love big, juicy, holistic conversations. This is a gorgeous frame for your client’s entire journey, but in the context of an e-course, you’ve got to segment the conversation. The smaller the slice, the more profound the teaching. Instead of teaching skillsets A through J inside one course, how about skillsets A and B?
- When it comes to writing style, err on the side of being brief and clear in how you express yourself. Instead of saying something in 50 words of flowery poetics, can you say it in 10? As with so many things in life, in teaching, less is more.
- If you teach something theoretical or conceptual, be sure to back it up with real life examples. We all need to understand how ideas translate into action in order to really grasp them and see the possibilities for real life application.
- Be mindful of multiple learning styles. People not only learn by reading, but also by listening, watching, doing, using sounds or music, and interacting. How you can build in components of each learning style to your content? I love teaching for people who share my dominant learning styles, which are Verbal-Linguistic and Intrapersonal. However, many of my clients are strong Interpersonal, Logical-Mathematical, and Visual-Spatial learners. So I build in elements to my course materials that address these learning styles. The bonus is, creating more visual elements for my material than I normally would usually helps me understand what I’m teaching even better. With a visual, I am much quicker to see gaps, notice interesting connections I might have missed, and find elements I can expand upon in this or future courses.
Overall, the gist of this advice is to keep it simple and clear, always aim to hone down scope while providing lots of real-life applications and examples, and pay attention to how other people learn (i.e. people who are not necessarily wired like you). Take these tips into writing content for your first e-course and you’ll be well on your way to a teaching-and-learning experience that’s as great for you as it is for your participants.
What are your best tips for writing content for a coaching e-course? Share them with us via Facebook.
Abby Kerr is Creative Director of The Voice Bureau, a boutique brand voice development and copywriting agency serving solo-owned and small businesses. She is creator of The Voice Values paradigm for branding. Subscribe to her e-letter, Insider Stuff, for your complimentary brand voice self-assessment. Then tweet her to share your Top 3 Voice Values.
Abby lives in the PNW and is a home cook, a dog mom, and a fiction writer.