The art of storytelling. What does your story say about you?
The power of your story is amplified when a coach re-tells your story to you. The coach must listen intently and highlight the key themes and plots.
Experiences and memories involve and use all of your senses. Over time these experiences are developed into the stories that we remember, and the stories that we tell ourselves. This is our history and we are the authors. With each new experience, we build our “present” on the foundations of our own version of the past. New situations or challenges must link to something. These linkages create new stories that we tell ourselves. Narrative coaching is the art of storytelling and is a valuable tool to help you change your perspectives and your view of your history, sometimes breaking a cycle of ineffective managerial and behavioral habits. Change the story and you can change your reaction to your past. Change your reaction to your past and you have the potential to dramatically change your futures; for the best. Narratives are powerful because they require the author to simplify the circumstances into a clear story. Through simplification, a new idea or solution may be found.
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.” Albert Einstein
There is a part of narrative coaching that requires that the coach relinquishes control. This can be difficult to do. Many coaches struggle with letting their client solve their own problems rather than jumping in and trying to “help” them. Letting go requires a coach to not necessarily know exactly where the conversation will take us. Are we going in a productive direction? Is this uncomfortable and ambiguous? As a coach, I have gained confidence in my ability to find the next question, to take the path chosen by my client and take them just that much further along their journey. In general most of us have difficulty letting go of ourselves during a conversation to focus truly and purely on the other individual? Can we ever be in the moment..totally? That is what coaching requires, total surrender to the moment.
Coaches evolve from established processed to blending all their techniques into the coaching experience. What are we curious about? What is your story? The narrative approach focuses on the story and the story sparks curiosity.
The power of the story is amplified when a coach re-tells the story back to the client. First, the coach must listen intently to understand and subsequently re-tell the story. The client hears their own story told by someone else and they listen. They look in the mirror. Does it ring true? Is that what I said? Is that what I sound like? Is this me?
Is this who I want to be?