Reaching Out to A Coach
You have a burning question, that’s great! And the good news, actually the really good news, is that there are A LOT of really wonderful coaches in voice over depending on both what genre you are looking to study and what your specific learning style is. Even better, many coaches have lots of free resources to offer! Between blogs, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and linkedIn, you can learn so much before you even have to open your wallet. So when it is time to actually invest in yourself and your voice over career, whether it is signing up for a class or a private lesson, there are som best practices to build a good relationship with your coaches.
Most coaches offer a 15 to 20 minute free consultation. This is meant for BOTH of you to see if you are a good fit for each other. This is the time to ask your coach how they are different from other coaches and to see what their policies are. This is NOT the time to expect free training. This is not where you pick their brain for free. This is also not the time to expect an hour from their twenty minutes. They are offering you a glimpse. Be professional and assess. Take the glimpse for exactly what it is.
Use and enjoy blogs to enhance your knowledge base. Is it okay to reach out and introduce yourself? Of course, connect with your industry peers. Is it ok to ask a question or two to extrapolate more in-depth understanding? Sure thing. Is it okay to try to get a free session out of the coach? No. There is a line. Begging for free advice because you like their blog is both distasteful and unprofessional. It also shows a genuine lack of understanding for what we do. Each of us are on such a unique and personal journey in voice over. So, writing to a coach who you have no relationship with and asking them to venture a guess is more than useless. Just don’t. Instead, save up for a session. Invest in coaching. Dive deeper! More training is never, ever waisted! We all have to keep working on our craft!
Connecting with coaches on Social Media is great. It is a great way to learn about them as a person, a talent, and as a coach. You get to understand who they are within the parameters they have established. Some are very responsive to DMs and to comments, others are less so. Some may be responding directly while others may have a team who does this for them. Either way, be mindful of professional boundaries. This is meant to be a professional, working relationship. Would you message your doctor or accountant at 2 Am with questions repeatedly? If the answer is no, then perhaps also do not reach out to your voice coach at that time expecting a reply. They too maintain regular business hours.
In general, coaches do not have text relationships with students. Unless a coach says the words “Please text me about….” I would assume NOT to text a voice over coach. It is appropriate in this professional relationship to email them and let them respond in a timely manner.
Coaches are working professionals. They typically maintain normal weekday studio hours. Some may also offer coaching on the weekend, I do not. When you are looking for the coach who is the right fit for you, respect their business hours. It is common practice that they are available when you have them booked. Some coaches have time to answer questions between sessions, others do not, but each coach is different in this regard. Regardless of their practice, no coach wants to be stalked. They are instead looking for a meaningful working relationship where they can watch their students thrive.
I remember well what it was like to pay for one lesson at a time. Voice over coaching is expensive, it’s an investment. You want to feel like you are getting a lot of value for your money. I am also someone who likes to feel like I am building meaningful connections with the people I work with, so when I was the talent as opposed to the coach, feeling like the coach “got me” mattered a lot. I think if you really want to connect with your coach take the time to read their coaching profile, have that consultation, and check their references. At the end of the day, you are going to have to trust your gut a bit too. Sometimes we just click with someone and sometimes we don’t. I can tell you the one way to push a coach aside and ruin things from the start is to start asking for free coaching and advice before you know each other at all. Whatever you decide to do, please do not do that!