Pageant coaching in the Miss America world in particular has recently been given a somewhat negative connotation. In all pageantry, really, it is a bit unclear what the role of a pageant coach or mentor can be. And different people provide different services depending on their abilities, staff, and expertise. It is important that you find a good fit for your personality and needs.
But while coaches and mentors vary in their styles and services, there are a few universally common denominators that your coach should (or shouldn’t!) be doing for you.
- PRICE FAIRLY: A coach should be reasonably priced for the services for which you hire him or her. A good mentor doesn’t need to cost buku bucks! Mentors come in all shapes and sizes; MYM provides top-notch services for reasonable prices. He or she should also offer to continue working until you are satisfied with the product. This is especially true in the South – don’t be afraid to branch out from what “all the other girls are doing” to seek someone else. No Pageant Pattys – can I get an AMEN?!
- ADVISE APPROPRIATELY: An effective coach or mentor lends expertise and experience without dictating to you what you should be doing to win. If you find someone who “guarantees” a win or basically demands that you do it her way or the high way – RUN! There is a difference between sharing expertise to assist you and attempting to control your competition.
- PLAY NICELY: Coaches are meant to supplement the resources and efforts of directors or sponsors, not stand in opposition of them. He or she needs to follow all appropriate channels of communication so you don’t end up in hot water. View it as an asset, not a liability. Conversely, a good director or sponsor would see value in a great mentoring relationship, and would allow you to continue gaining insight from your coach. When your whole team has your best interest in mind, you are in the right position to find success in your journey.
- BE HONEST: Hiring someone who never provides you with constructive feedback or never pushes back when you are making a blatant mistake is of no help to you. It is an incredible disservice to just be someone’s cheerleader. But, there is an art to delivering feedback that inspires and encourages versus criticism that tears down. A good mentor does the former while remembering at the end of the day, this is YOUR competition and all final decisions are yours to make.
- (not) OVEREXTEND: If your coach has taken on more than he or she can handle, your prep will suffer. In addition, some coaches offer services in areas in which they are not well-equipped to be coaching. A coach should stick to what he or she knows, and leave the rest to other resources. I’m confident MYM is the most all-encompassing prep you will receive, and that isn’t as a result of over-extension 😉
- BE WORTHY OF THANKS: A mentor is honored to be part of your journey. He or she invests deeply into your relationship. But it’s easy to take that for granted! Don’t forget to thank your coaches in person; in writing; through testimonials; and by liking, sharing, commenting, and thanking on social media or web sites. The biggest compliment a coach or mentor can receive is a referral or public declaration of his or her job well done. If you haven’t done so, or would hesitate to do it, you might revisit why you felt comfortable hiring that person in the first place.
There you have it – if you are considering hiring a mentor or coach, or have already invested in one, run that person through the above statements. If they don’t all ring true, you may want to do a quick check to be sure you are getting the best bang for your buck.
Not sure where to start? We have a pretty good idea where you might find a good fit 🙂