TV news talent coaching, is taking on a whole new look!
The other day, after I wrapped up a successful talent coaching session with a client in Kentucky, I sat back, in my Ohio home, and it hit me. This works! Why did it take me so many talent coaching clients to realize this?
In most of my sessions with her, there are plenty of “ah-ha” moments, actually, for both of us. We review her latest reporting and anchoring work. I have her re-write, read, and re-read script to figure out what kind of adjustments she can make to be more personable and relatable, yet, more credible. Some are significant, some are “nit-picky.” We hit up the importance of pause, pace, pitch, demonstrative stand-ups, all the basics and then some. A one-hour session flies by. She soaks it all in and makes it clear she’s excited to implement, or try out the “adjustments” ASAP. When she started with me she was in a MUCH smaller market. We made big progress in a short amount of time. She’s like most of my clients: eager, talented, and ambitious. That makes them super “coachable.” I’m incredibly proud of her.
I’m proud of all my clients and heartened by how far they’ve come.
It’s great to see how much they put into their work and how much they truly care about doing their best. (It’s the same way I feel about seeing my college journalism students excel.) Exactly the way it should be. Exactly the way it can be with every novice and intermediate TV journalist. Having a talent coach on their side, with the experience and insight to show them the way can make all the difference.
To be honest, after coaching in-person, I wasn’t sure how online, or “virtual” talent coaching would work. I gave it a go more than a year ago. Turns out, it’s proving to be an outstanding alternative to the more expensive, more time-consuming, in-person, at the station, tight schedule, traditional TV news coaching. That’s the only way anyone knew how to do it–until now.
With “virtual” coaching there are no travel costs, no travel time, no problem if you need to reschedule last minute. All done in the comfort of your own home, for both client and coach. Sometimes in pajamas or sweats, early morning, late at night, sometimes with the pets or kids making a cameo appearance.
Every client I’ve had comes back for more.
I am honored and grateful for that, but more so, it says a great deal about the effectiveness of the program. Sometimes clients sign up for more sessions immediately after they finished their first coaching package. Sometimes they reach out again months to years after they’ve moved on. They’re just looking for a quick critique or worried they’ve fallen into a rut and need some reassurance or guidance. Don’t we all need that once in a while, especially from someone who knows them and has empowering insight to share? There’s a trust and bonding that can develop between client and coach that rarely existed previously, at least not that I knew of in my 30 years in TV news.
Don’t get me wrong. I would be elated to meet and work with my “virtual” clients in person. There’s plenty to be said for that. But, considering the fact that if we couldn’t connect virtually, we might not have connected at all, “virtual” talent coaching is a gift for both sides. I’ll take it!
More options for stations, too.
In this day when budgets are tight and so much is changing, it seems fewer stations can make that commitment to a major “consulting” group. Typically, that’s where the talent coaching services came in. This sort of “boutique” option is perfect. It can be an arrangement where there’s a combination of “in-person” sessions, followed up with as many virtual sessions as they want, at a drastically discounted rate. Or it can be exclusively “virtual,” again, with a considerable cost savings, and the possibility of great results.
We’re in a time where “virtual” presentations, meetings, etc., have to be the new norm.
But that doesn’t have to mean compromise or set-back. “Virtual” talent coaching is already proving productive, progressive, efficient, and, again, enjoyable! What more can you ask for in regards to helping today’s TV talent be the best they can be? When young broadcast journalists cannot receive the support and guidance they need because there aren’t as many news veterans to mentor them, or the resources for traditional training are not there, a business built on integrity, is inevitably going to suffer. It could mean irreparable damage.
Online talent coaching is the future for TV news operations, as well as for individual talent determined to take their “game” to the next level. It doesn’t take Covid-19 “social distancing” practices to confirm that for me and my clients. Maybe, though, this new dependence on “virtual” everything will show those committed to the quality of their TV news craft, and the business, altogether, a new way to “raise the bar.”