Coaching and Storytelling: the importance of the context

on BLOG, Career Coaching, Coaching, coaching tales 5 Lug, 2012

Il coaching e lo storytelling

Before telling you another "coaching tale", I will say a few words about the importance of the context in the storytelling applied to coaching.

Not only the content but also the appropriate choice of the context of the story allows the coachee to become the witness of what is going to listen. For this reason words like "once upon a time ..." or long pauses before beginning the narrative are common in all the stories: they play a fundamental role to represent a transition from reality to history.

About transition, I underline that, before starting to tell a tale, it is useful to ask the coachee's permission for a story and to briefly introduce its topic. Without these two steps, the coachee would not be able to plunge in the tale, but would be distracted, wondering why the coach is telling that tale or what it has to do with him.

Once made the transition, it’s necessary to describe the tale’s scenery and context, involving all the coachee senses and subliminally suggesting some hooks to his "true reality". The good narrator pre-defines what feelings and what meaning he’ll inspire through the tale, how to convey a sense of adventure, mystery and joy, how to help the coachee easily “viewing” and living the scene. All this in order to make the coachee draw the necessary parallels between the tale and his reality and to find new solutions to his issues.

Sometimes, the coach spends more time in describing the tale's context than the true story...

To increase the coachee involvement and ensure the transition from a "left brain" to a "right hemisphere" listening, even the grammar is used on purpose: the past tense is used to describe the background, that is what happened before the event. The present tense describes the action, the real story; the switch from past to present tense puts the coachee in the narrative movement.

Thus, thanks to a well-built and relevant "coaching tale", the coachee can circumnavigate the logic, access to his imagination, which, needless to say, is always very rich in solutions. The tale is a different access to the coachee’s potential, without being a “lesson”: for this reason it never ends with the moral. The coach has no advice to give nor poses as a teacher: to propose a moral would be too simple and useless, prefabricated and theoretical.

Now I tell you a new coaching tale: enjoy!

The candle

A young monk spends the whole day by his master. When the evening comes and he needs to go back home, he realizes that it’s pitch dark.

Seeing him hesitate, the teacher reassures him, telling him: "Do not be afraid, now I give you a candle".

So the master takes a lighted candle, hands it to the young monk and, in the very moment he gives it to him, the teacher turns the candle off. The young monk, enlightened, thanks and leaves.

Here you are some coaching questions:

– Cosa rappresentano il maestro e il buio nella tua vita?

– Qual è il tuo sentiero?

– Qual è la tua luce?

– Com’è la candela?

– Come illuminare il tuo buio?






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