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eTips from the Storytelling Coach - Number 11
Is There More to the Coaching Process?
eTips is a free, monthly electronic newsletter from Doug Lipman. You can subscribe, unsubscribe, or read a more detailed description of the newsletter at the eTips page. You can also read the other back issues.
- 1) IS THERE MORE TO THE COACHING PROCESS?
- 2) WORKSHOP ANNOUNCEMENTS: WHERE TO EXPERIENCE THIS KIND OF COACHING.
- 3) HALF-PRICE RESOURCE OFFER: THE COACHING PROCESS
1) IS THERE MORE TO THE COACHING PROCESS?
For a long time, I've talked about a four-part structure to
a coaching session. If you tell me a story, for example, I
respond with as many of these as you would like, starting
with the first:
2. Offering appreciations,
3. Offering suggestions,
4. Asking, "What else would you like from me?"
Recently, Pam McGrath and I hit upon an addition to follow the
second part, "Appreciations." It's an important addition -
whether you teach or coach others, receive coaching, or are
part of a story-sharing group that uses this coaching
HOW THIS CAME ABOUT
Pam and I began coaching together in the summer of 1999,
when we first offered "Dancing with the Audience." The
workshop was successful. People asked for another session of
it a few months later. But we were partly dissatisfied -
with our own coaching!
Listening and offering appreciations went fine, but we hit a
snag when it came time for offering suggestions. Each of us
had extensive experience coaching people on our own. But how
should we coordinate our suggestions? How could the teller
benefit from Pam's and my ideas without being pulled in two
directions at once?
During breaks in the workshop, we discussed how to ensure
that the teller was helped as well as possible. Clearly, the
teller could only focus on one major issue at a time. Pam
and I needed a way to communicate with each other so that we
could use our best thinking about how to help each teller
move forward, and about which roles she and I should each take.
Our first solution was to simply choose one of us to be
"primary coach" for each teller. But that brought up another
problem: how to choose? We tried asking the tellers, but
most tellers balked at choosing between us. We tried
alternating, but this seemed arbitrary and limiting.
NARROWING DOWN THE PROBLEM
When we planned our next workshop together, we began
searching for a way to guarantee that each teller would gain
the benefit of both coaches' thinking. Then we saw the
obvious. We just needed a private chance to discuss the
teller's needs BEFORE beginning to offer suggestions. If we
compared notes and ideas, we could decide which suggestions
would be most helpful, what our goal was in giving them, and
then choose the one of us who was best able to carry it out.
Of course, this left us with another problem: how could we
have a few minutes to discuss what to do before offering
We tried to imagine the mechanics of our discussion. We
would need five or six minutes to talk after appreciations.
What would the teller do while Pam and I talked? What would
everyone else do?
We had another flash: the other workshop participants could
pair off for a total of six minutes. Each could talk for
three minutes about their responses to the teller's story -
both as listeners and as coaches. What would they want to
help the teller do even better?
At the same time, we realized, the teller could profitably
spend six minutes thinking aloud about her or his reactions to
being listened to and appreciated. We could just ask one of
the other participants to volunteer to listen to the teller
for six minutes.
This process worked even better than we had anticipated. Pam
and I were able to come to agreement about how best to help
each teller. The other participants enjoyed the chance to
air their own reactions before focusing again on helping the
teller. They actually became better listeners during
suggestions. In addition, there was always an eager
volunteer to listen to the teller.
Best of all, the tellers got to feel how well they did, and
to notice how the appreciations might change their stories.
From that vantage point, the tellers often had a new idea of
what else they would need from us as their coaches. Having
this opportunity to integrate the appreciations made both
the appreciations and the suggestions more useful.
In fact, the tellers benefited so much from six minutes of
listening at this point in the coaching process that we now
consider it an option in all coaching sessions. Now we often
ask a teller, after appreciations, "How was it to hear all
of that?" or "What is your reaction so far to telling the
story and hearing what we liked about it?"
The teller's responses have frequently steered us toward
what should come next, in order to help the teller achieve
his or her goals. And that, after all, is the purpose of
For upcoming workshops that incorporate this technique, read
2) WORKSHOP ANNOUNCEMENTS: WHERE TO EXPERIENCE THIS KIND OF COACHING.
Three upcoming workshops by Pam McGrath and me will
use the addition to the coaching process mentioned above:
A. Coaching Extravaganza. January 4-6,
Two workshops in one! You will have the choice of
registering for one of two "tracks" in this supportive
workshop. Those who choose "Storytelling Coaching" will be
coached directly by Pam and Doug for two 40-minute turns.
Those who choose Coaching Coaches will a) be coached by
another participant for 30 minutes, and b) coach another
participant for 30 minutes, then be coached by Pam and Doug
for 50 minutes.
Location: a river-side bed and breakfast near
Louisville, KY. Limited to 12.
B & C. Living Your Creative Vision
All artists hunger to live their art. Whether you are a
storyteller, speaker, musician, writer, painter, or other
artist, you face the question, "How do I live my art, and
still live in the real world?"
Do you need help with performance, marketing, dreaming,
setting up support structures, goals, or ways to achieve
them? Now, you can give yourself - and your art - the
opportunity to spend a long weekend imagining your art as
the focus of your life. And take home the skills to make
your dream happen!
This workshop, brought back by popular demand after its
August debut, will take place two more times:
1. January 17-20, 2002, in Atlanta, GA.
2. March 14-17, 2002, in Pasadena, CA.
For more, see
- or ask me to email you a copy.
Or bring us to you - more easily than you may imagine. Just
email me to learn more.
3) HALF-PRICE RESOURCE OFFER: THE COACHING PROCESS
I have created three unique resources about the coaching
process. These will help you not only with your coaching and
teaching of others, but with your storytelling, as well. For
a limited time, you can get two of them for half price when
you sign up for the third. And get free telephone coaching,
A. BOOK: My book, The Storytelling Coach: How to Listen,
Praise, and Bring Out People's Best, describes the coaching
process, complete with examples of scores of coaching
B. VIDEO: You can't really understand coaching without
seeing it. My video, Coaching Storytellers, shows six
coaching sessions and describes what they each teach us about
the coaching process.
C. AUDIO PLUS: The monthly subscription series, STORYTELLING
WORKSHOP IN A BOX(TM) covers the coaching process as well as
much more. The current issue, #6, is about Appreciations.
Get ALL THREE of the best resources
about coaching - and get free telephone coaching! If you
join the Storytelling Workshop in a Box as a new Deluxe
member - or upgrade your regular membership - you can get
copies of the book, The Storytelling Coach, and the video,
Coaching Storytellers, at HALF-PRICE. Save $27.45! And get a
certificate for 30-minutes of free telephone coaching -
worth $75. Be coached without leaving home!
All resources are unconditionally guaranteed. You may easily
cancel the Storytelling Workshop in a Box at any time, and
still keep the other resources - even the free coaching
This offer is ONLY for subscribers to this newsletter - and
only for a limited time. It is not even listed on my
web site. To take advantage of it, just mention "half-price
resource offer" on the "discount certificate" portion of my
secure, on-line order form:
(Elaine will confirm your reduced price before charging your
credit card.) Or call, email, or fax to the numbers below.
All the best,
P.S., Email me for one or all of these, or view them on the
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This page was last updated on Friday, November 28, 2003
Copyright©2001 Doug Lipman