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The Business of VO – Choosing a Coach

Forget – Head to Google! Happy Valentine’s Day! In celebration, we thought we’d focus on matching you up with the most important relationship your VO career needs… a COACH! And who better to learn from than two great coaches! Anne and Gabby go over researching a coach, coaching styles and strategies and when it’s time to move forward with someone else.


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. Go to Google to research a coach

  2. Have synergy with your coach

  3. Make sure you can communicate with them freely

  4. Talk to a coach’s previous students and see what it was like to work with them

  5. Don’t be a perpetual student, there should be an end goal

  6. Coaching is an investment

  7. If you’re new, you may have to travel. Having the right equipment is important!

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Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

  1. Google

  2. Subscribe to VO B.O.S.S. on YouTube!

  3. Our podcast is recorded entirely using ipDTL. Get better than ISDN quality with: ipDTL!

Full Episode Transcript

VO: Today voiceover talent is more than just a pretty voice. Today’s voiceover talent has to be a boss. A VO B.O.S.S. Set yourself up with business owner’s strategies and success. With your host, Anne Ganguzza. Along with some of the strongest voices in our industry. Rock your business. Like a boss. A VO B.O.S.S.

Anne: Hey, guys! Before, we get started on today’s epsidoe, we wanna share some B.O.S.S. solutions! And some of the ways you can have more B.O.S.S. in your life.

Gabby: Oh, come one, you can never have too much B.O.S.S., my little entrepreNERDS.

Anne: [Laughing] EntrepreNERDS, I love that. Did you think of that all by yourself?

Gabby: No. Not at all. No. I kinda borrowed that.

Anne: VO B.O.S.S. has amazing classes that can help you to self propel your goals and increase your business, and your bottom line. So, for both beginning and advanced VO Talents, we have our B.O.S.S. University. So you can select from different classes at different levels.

Gabby: This is like our Podcast on steroids, guys. This is like me and Anne at our best, doing what we do, putting our B.O.S.S. brains together, right?–’cause two BOSS brains is better than one–And giving you–

Anne: Totally. Gabby: –all kinds of webinars and ways that you can improve your B.O.S.S.-ness and B.O.S.S.-ability, and make more money.

Anne: Go to and just click on the “Shop” tab.

Gabby: And now, on with the show.

Anne: Welcome, everybody, to the VO B.O.S.S. Podcast, I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my bestie boss BFF, Gabby Nistico. Hey, Gabby.

Gabby: Awe, hi, Anne.

Anne: [Laughing] So, today, Gabby, we’re gonna talk about something that I know I get questions all the time, and I see them all the time on social media, all about how to pick a coach.

Gabby: [Laughs] We both obviously field this question upteen times a day. And–

Anne: That we do. Gabby: –let’s go ahead and address one big elephant, like, right away because I think if we don’t, you know, we’ll gonna get called out on it later.–

Anne: Okay. Gabby: –So, like, duh, guys, we’re both coaches, so we’re a little bias.

Anne: Yes. Yes, we admit. We admit that we’re coaching. We coach. We admit that we coach.

Gabby: [Laughs] Right.

Anne: [Laughs] Hi, I’m Anne.

Gabby: So, that being said, I mean, we are gonna try to be as unbiased as we can.–

Anne: Yes. Gabby: –And we’re gonna try to be as honest as we can be about this process, but please understand, yeah, we do coach, so, you know, just FYI.

Anne: Well, you know, can I preface this entire conversation with, I actually have been in education for a number of years. Over 20 years. Actually working for a school and I realized, way back when, that I was at my best when I was in a teaching kind of position, because I really loved sharing my passion. And I remember thinking to myself, a long time ago, that, you know, we’re all a product of our teachers. I mean, I love school. I have been going to school, taking courses, like, all of my life, and I am just such one of those Continuing Ed students where I’m always learning. And I truly believe that we are a product of everybody that we’ve learned from, you know, for all of our lives. And so, I’m very much a proponent of people taking– coaching with people, and a virility of people, because I think it makes us a more rounded.

Gabby: Mm-hmm. Absolutely. I agree with that complete. I think it’s just wise to know the credentials of your coach.–

Anne: Yes. Gabby: –What they’ve done, what they’re known for, and having some guidelines for how to go about starting that all important process of finding who it is you’re gonna train with and why.

Anne: You know my middle– maybe it’s not even my middle name–but you have dubbed me, Anne Gang-google. So, I am– [Gabby Laughing] Anne:–going to actually going take that name and wear it pride–

Gabby: Yes! YES! Anne:–and tell you guys, if you’re gonna research a coach, where’s the number one place that you can go and find out more. Google. Search.–

Gabby: Gooooogllllle. Anne:–Yes. You wanna make sure that your coach–that you can find out their back ground. Their experience. Are they working in the industry? Have they worked in the industry? How many years have they been doing this, and how do they offer their services? All those good question can be found with a Google search.

Gabby: Yeah.

Anne: Now, if you can’t find a coach today, using the Google search, then your gonna have to rely on word of mouth, because I would imagine that if you’re not online, then it’s somebody who probably has been in the business for a very long time and, you know, maybe they just don’t have a page that says that they coach. And they’ve just been know forever as a coach.

Gabby: So, let’s talk about some of the things that really make for a good voiceover coach. The things that are defining characteristics for you, for me, for all of our colleagues in coaching, and the people that we would recommend and, in kind, recommend us. What do you think is the number one most important thing to look for?

Anne: Wow. That’s a good question. Well,–

Gabby: I know. Anne:–you know, I think there has to be a synergy. You know? Especially because I can consider myself an educator. There has to be a synergy between you and the proposed coach that you wanna work with. And I think it’s super important that, you know, once you find out the information and the background information on the coach, that you might, you know, have a chance to talk with them for a little bit. If, you know, it they offer a–like, I offer a kind of consult so I can get to know people. I like to talk with my students,–

Gabby: Mm-Hmm. Anne:–and they can find out about me, I can find out about them. We can talk about our goals and what, maybe, they expect from a coach and that kinda starts it off on the right foot, I think.

Gabby: Yeah. I think, you’re absolutely right. I think a great coach should be very accessible. And should be someone that you can reach out to and have some communication with, whether it be Zoom or on the phone or even in just email. And I like what you said about the synergy piece. To me, I think it’s speaks to something you and I talk about an awful lot, which is personal brand.

Anne: Yes.

Gabby: The same way voice actors have a personal brand, so do coaches. Our coaching style, our methodology, the way we go about things is represented in that personal brand. And you have to align yourself with someone who’s message and who’s way of presenting information speaks to you.

Anne: So important. And–

Gabby: Yeah. Anne:–I think that you can tell right away–it’s just the same when you meet people. And you know how you can meet someone and right away you’re like, “You know what? I really like that person.” Or, “You know, I’d really like to know that person better. I’d like to work with that person.” It’s the same thing for a coach, really. And I think that a lot of us coaches, when we’re teaching–especially beginner voiceover– there are a lot of the same concepts that we’re trying to impart on you and our students, and so we may approach it different, and so for each student I think the lightbulb goes off maybe at a different time. Or I could say the same thing that Gabby says but a student may not receive it the same way. Or they might– the lightbulb might go off at a different time. So, I think that, that’s why it’s so important to really get a feel for how your coach delivers. And I’ll tell you that sometimes there are some super, fabulously talented voice actors out there, but that doesn’t always mean that they are necessary the best at teaching.

Gabby: Mm-hmm. Definitely, I think being a teacher, and having education credentials, and knowing and understand how to teach is a different deal than the profession itself. I agree with everything you just said. I think all of that makes perfect sense, and yes, at the end of the day we do have to understand that most quality voiceover coaches, we’re all saying the same thing.

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: We’re just saying it in different ways that resonate with people differently. Anne:–at different times. Yeah.

Gabby: So, one of the really smart things to do is talk to a coach’s previous students and get a feel for who’s train with them and for what that style is like so you can better understand, “Okay, am I going to resonate with this person?”

Anne: That’s a great idea. And, of course, I see it all the time, you know, in the social media groups. People are–

Gabby: Yeah. Anne:–asking, you know, who’s a good coach for this genre, or who’s, you know, who have you coached with and what do you think? And, of course, you know, that’s always a little painful for us as a coach to look at sometimes because–

Gabby: Mm-hmm.

Anne: [Laughs] You know, and I personally think that, you know, everyone of us, we all have our, you know, our places where we shine, in terms of coaches, and I don’t partake in any kind of negative discussions about anybody. I don’t–whether it’s coaching or voice talent or whatever it is, so I don’t always agree with having an open forum space on, you know, “Who do you coach with? and What do you think?” I think that, you know, a lot of times that talk is best discussed, you know, in a private message or over the phone or something like that. So, it’s hard if people are openly discussing on social media. But it happens. It happens.

Gabby: Mm-hmm. Now, let’s talk about some more of the, I don’t know, the criteria for great coaches. I think, definitely, what you were just saying, Anne, about having a genre. Great coaches in this business have a specific genre, they have something they’re known for, some–

Anne: Yeah. Gabby: –of them have a few things that they’re known for, but they’re able to offer you very specific tracks of education, and very specific subject matter. Which is really important.

Anne: Yes. Yes. And I think a good coach would not try to coach you in a genre that they’re not as familiar with. I mean, I’m the first–

Gabby: One would hope. Anne:–to say– Yeah. I have my specialty areas, you know, and I have my specialty areas that I love to coach in, but I would not try to, you know, coach anybody in, let’s say, character voices, because that’s just not my genre.

Gabby: Right. Yeah. I’m always warily of coaches who, kind of, say they can “do it all” it’s a little bit too much.

Anne: Yeah. Yeah.

Gabby: ‘Cause that’s really not accurate. What else, Anne? What do you think is another major must-have criteria for selecting a great coach?

Anne: Well, I think it’s better if you’re available in a digital, online, kind of format. Either Skype, or, you know, I don’t necessary agree with the phone, because there’s a lot of–the phone is kind of ancient technology these days. I think that– Both: [Giggle] Anne:–we really need to be able to hear you, well. And so I think that the format in which you’re taught, which face-to-face, you know, or online, however it is, I think that the coach has to be a little bit technically adapt so that they can be available to you in multiple different ways. Because, I’ll tell you what, I like to think that I’m, you know I love ipDTL so much that I coach with it because it’s– I think you can actually hear better and so I offer that to my students, and I’m not saying, you know, coaches that don’t offer it are not good coaches. I just like to be able to offer my students multiple ways to connect with me and to work with me.

Gabby: Okay, so there’s an element of flexibility that you think is critical for connection.–

Anne: Mm-hmm Gabby: –Now, how do you feel, I have some very opinionated views regarding beginners, people who are brand brand new to the industry and coaching–

Anne: Mm-hmm. Yes! methods. What do you think? Where do you stand on that? ‘Cause we see a lot–

Anne: Well– of companies trying to sell remote education to beginners.

Anne: Yeah. Yeah. Well, you know, first of all, I think that a good coach immediately it should start of with a conversation about the industry to the student, to the perspective student. Because the industry here, you know, as we all know, it’s not an easy industry to get into. It’s not an easy industry to, you know, make money, and any of– any of those purposed coaches that promise you lots of money real quick, and buy this package and we’ll create a demo for you in a short amount of time. I think those are ones you might wanna, kind of, maybe really look into or maybe stay away from in terms of that because we all know, if we’ve been in the industry for a while, that it’s just not a quick, you know, it’s not a quick riches–

Gabby: Yep. Anne:–scenario. And it’s–

Gabby: Yeah. Anne:–most definitely something that, you know, you have to work at your craft and I– Malcolm Gladwell, right? Ten thousand hours.

Gabby: Mm-hmm.

Anne: Right? For Success.

Gabby: Yep.

Anne: Ten thousand hours you should put in. I’m not saying you can’t make a demo before 10,000 hours, but–

Gabby: No. Anne:–I’ll tell you what, if I were to go back and really count up the hours that I’ve spent,–

Gabby: Mm-hmm. Anne:–you know, honing my craft, oh I’m well over 10,000 hours.

Gabby: Oh, I can tell you I’m at 10,000 hours just in studio and editing time alone.

Anne: Exactly.

Gabby: So, I agree. Me, personally, I’m always very wary of the coaches who over promise,–

Anne: Yeah. Gabby: –you know, packages. Things that are all inclusive, where there is a demo after certain amount of time. Because, honestly, guys, no coach can tell the future.

Anne: Right.

Gabby: We can’t predict if you’re gonna be ready in 2 class, 3 class, 5–

Anne: Exactly. Gabby: –classes, for a demo. We don’t know. So we have to have a certain amount of flexibility in our relationship and understanding. You know what? It takes however long it takes. You’re ready when you’re ready.

Anne: Right. And, yeah, you have to understand that you can’t–like, if somebody asks me how many session will it take, I wont–I refuse to answer that with a number. I really do.

Gabby: Yeah.

Anne: Because as you mentioned, everybody is different. Everybody learns at different paces.

Gabby: Mm-hmm.

Anne: And everybody has a different amount of time that they can actually spend. I mean, I’m one of those coaches that likes my students to do something every single day that’s related to voiceover. Sometimes that’s not possible if the student has a full-time job and a family, sometimes that really hard, and so, therefore, those students are gonna progress at a slower rate than somebody who has, you know, four hours a day to dedicate to practicing. So, really, as coaches, you really can’t put a number on the amount of time that it’s gonna take before you can, you know, get a demo or get out there and get work.

Gabby: So, we have to take that into consideration. That being said, your coach should have a goal for you.–

Anne: Yes. Gabby: –There should be mile markers. There should be tangible steps and goals that you guys are tracking together. A pet peeve of mine is coaches that create what I call a perpetual student. Where it’s just–

Anne: Mm-hmm. Gabby: –classes after more classes and then it’s more class and then there’s more class, because you’re seemingly never done. It’s like they’re always dangling a carrot in front of you? And I go– [sighs]

Anne: [Laughs] Gabby: –there has to be a goal. Once we’ve reached that goal, what’s the next goal?

Anne: Right.

Gabby: And many times, what happens with a great coach is once you’ve reached a specific set of goals with that individual they go, “Okay, now it’s time for you to move on to a different coach.”

Anne: Right.

Gabby: And achieve a set of goals with that individual, because I’ve done all I can do.

Anne: Right. Absolutely. I think that’s fantastic. As a matter of fact, I liked to–I’d actually like to get to know my student better with having them fill out a form that talks about their goals and what they expect of me as a coach, because that’s just, you know, I’ll tell ya, communication, I just can’t stress enough how important it is for coach and student to have that really open communication about how they’re going to achieve those goals together. I think that’s a really good thing to want to have in a coach for yourself.

Gabby: Well those are just sound business practices and there’s no reason we shouldn’t expect that in our voiceover businesses.

Anne: Well, yeah, you’re making an investment. And, so, I’m very conscious of people that are investing in my coach or people investing your coaching. I mean it is an investment, and that is something that, you know, if you’re spending your money you’ve got to really understand what you’re gonna be getting for that money. You wanna make sure that it’s worth your investment. Because sometimes coaches are not cheap. And–

Gabby: Nope. Anne:–that’s just, that’s the industry.

Gabby: I wanna ask you a fun question. And this is a question very specifically that beginners will wanna take note of. Anne, do you play an instrument?

Anne: I actually do. Well, I don’t know, but I used to. I used to.

Gabby: You do? What do you play?

Anne: I used to play piano.

Gabby: How many hours did you spend–

Anne: Oh my gosh. OOOOO! Gabby: –in front of a piano, with an instructor to learn how to play it?

Anne: Well, in front of the instructor I had a lesson each week, actually. And then I had music to practice. And I’ll tell you what, if I did not practice my music every day, when I went to my lesson the following week, oh my gosh! It was sad. It was scary. My–I mean [laughs]

Gabby: [Laughs] Anne:–I did not progress one bit if I did not practice on a daily bases. So I had hours that I practiced that music, before my next lesson.

Gabby: Now, I want you to imagine something. How difficult would it have been to have learned out to play the piano if you didn’t have the piano in front of you?

Anne: Oh, very difficult. [Laughs]

Gabby: Is that even possible? Is that–

Anne: Yeah, I don’t–yeah. Not possible.

Gabby: That’s sometimes how I feel or what I feel is happening in voiceover when you have someone who is brand brand new who doesn’t have a studio, who doesn’t have the equipment, who doesn’t have any technology of their own disposal, who’s taking classes remotely.

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: I feel like it’s very similar. You need the environment of the booth–

Anne: Absolutely. Gabby: –you need to be in studio with an instructor. So, guys, if you’re new please don’t negate that.–

Anne: Yeah. It’s important. Gabby: –You may have to travel.–Yeah! You may have to travel to your coach. I have folks who travel from hours and other states to come work with me. Anne, I know you do too.

Anne: Yep. Mm-hmm.

Gabby: It’s pretty common. I’ve had folks come in and book days of my life, weekends even, to come work with me from way far away.

Anne: Right.

Gabby: We sometimes have to do that in order to get that critical face time, in studio time, that you really–it’s essential.

Anne: I agree.

Gabby: Yeah. Can’t avoid that.

Anne: It’s so tough. If your not getting the actual in studio time, and–or a studio that you have at your house. Because if you’re new then you really have to understand what is required to have a studio at your house. And so–and also to connect and to do your homework. I ask for people to do recordings. And so… kinda need a microphone to do that and I can always tell, obviously, what your studio sound is like when I hear that homework. So it’s important that, that kind of progresses along, in parallel, with your vocal coaching. And also to say that if you have students that are not familiar with being in a studio, sometimes if they will, you know, come to the studio to record a demo, it is all brand new.

Gabby: Yeah…

Anne: And I’ve had students who have flown, like, across the country to– to be in a studio. And if it’s their first time, I’ll tell you what, it’s really hard to get a performance out of them that is a comfortable performance because they’re-either they’re nervous or they’re excited. And either way it’s going to effect their voice and it’s gonna effect their performance on demo day. So, having that, you know, having the items available to you, understanding a little bit about your home studio, and what it’s like to work in a studio, and what it’s like to produce audio that is acceptable for someone who will be paying you. Right? For a gig that you just got. It’s imperative that you learn that.

Gabby: The, what I call the “[beep] it factor”, that you achieve from 10,000 hours and from having done something day in and day out, it takes the edge, it takes all the nervousness, it takes all that anxiety out of the process.

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: Anybody who’s ever performed in a public setting knows this. You can–if you– you know, when I was a younger, and did theater, you can practice and practice and practice and practice for hours and days on end to an empty audience.

Anne: Sure.

Gabby: To an empty auditorium. Once you actually have people in seats… Holy cow!

Anne: That are looking at you. Absolutely. [Laughs]

Gabby: Yeah. Completely different situation. And so, there’s something to be said for you have to be comfortable with the audience. You have to be comfortable with the environment. Same thing goes for your demo. There’s all these working parts and pieces.

Anne: Yep.

Gabby: And it’s a lot for folks to juggle. And I do think that, that’s why it’s important that you see your coaches as a team, and that you have lots of them over the course of your career. And understand we never stop. I still coach with other people. Anne–

Anne: Absolutely. Gabby: –coaches with other people. Yeah. Like, we’re not immune to that process. And we do the same research and the same homework you guys do, the only difference is for us some of these folks that we turn to when we need a hand with something, we know them from the coaching circuit. From speaking engagements. From conferences and things like that. So we have a little easier time just reaching out to them sometimes.

Anne: Good stuff, Gabby. Good stuff.

Gabby: It’s kind of a fun little challenge if you don’t currently have a coach, why? [Laughs]

Anne: Yeah. Absolutely.

Gabby: We always need that!

Anne: We–Yeah! We absolutely do. We need, that second set of ears really helps. Especially, you know, as we are again, you know, going into such a period of the industry where we are, you know, recording in our home studios and a lot of times we’re self directing. It really helps to have a coaches perspective, another set of ears and another set of experiences that we can learn from, no matter where are in the process.

Gabby: Helps us to evolve and adapt, to which, really, should be the mantra of all voice actors.

Anne: Yeah. Yeah.

Gabby: Cool. Well, thanks for joining us guys! As always we wanna give a big shout out to our sponsor, ipDTL, and thank them for this quality, excellent, awesome connection that you can take advantage of in your coaching sessions with others as well.

Anne: And, you guys, don’t forget to subscribe to us on iTunes or Stitcher. And you can follow us on YouTube, on Instagram, on Twitter. @vo_boss on Twitter and VO Boss Podcast on Facebook.

Gabby: And make sure to check us out at where there’s lots of goodies for you, and, of course, B.O.S.S. University where you can go ahead and immerse yourself in all things B.O.S.S.

Anne: All things BOSS. Thanks, guys! See ya next week!

Gabby: Bye!

VO: Join us next week for another addition of VO B.O.S.S., with your host Anne Ganguzza and Gabby Nistico. All rights reserved. Anne Ganguzza voice talent in association with Three Moon Media. Redistribution with permission. Coast to coast connectivity via ipDTL.