Coaching with stories

We tell ourselves stories. Some of these stories have a profound impact on our behaviour. As a coach, I seek out unhelpful stories and help the coachee to reconfigure their story into a more helpful version.

For example, a coachee may tell herself “I don’t have time to do the things I want to do, because I have so many obligations.” The obligations are perceived as a fact, unquestioned. As a result, not having time becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It is not up to me to reconfigure the coachee’s story; my role is to help her explore the story and find alternatives. I might think that some obligations could be relaxed or dismissed, but that may not be true for the coachee. It could just as well be that the obligations can be done more efficiently, or that the obligations themselves could be seen as things she wants to do. By keeping my solutions to myself, or even not allowing them to enter my mind in the first place, I can better help my coachee explore what is true for her.

Listening intently to someone’s story requires presence and silence.

Listening intently to someone’s story requires presence and silence.

To do this requires that I am fully present, letting go of any preconceptions of the “right answer” or the “good outcome”. My role as a coach is to hold up a clean, clear, and loving mirror for my coachee so she can more openly share her stories in order to discover the resolution she is seeking. I do this mostly by being quiet and by listening intently. Although I am still learning, I do feel this style of coaching suits me well.

Instead of worrying about what ought to occur in coaching, I can focus on the coachee and her story, being fully engaged with what is happening without being attached to it. In this way I help the coachee change her story and thereby upgrade her working models.

If you’re inspired or intrigued by this, contact me for a free introduction with no obligations.