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eTips from the Storytelling Coach - Number 11

Is There More to the Coaching Process?

October, 2001

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.

Contents

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: 1. Listening, 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 format.

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 suggestions?

A SOLUTION

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.

THE RESULTS

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 coaching!

For upcoming workshops that incorporate this technique, read on.

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, 2002 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. Details: http://storydynamics.com/Services/Workshops/extravaganza.html.

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 http://storydynamics.com/Services/Workshops/artistic.html - 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, as well!

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 sessions. http://storydynamics.com/Publications/Books/tsc.html.

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. http://storydynamics.com/Publications/Videos/cst.html.

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. http://storydynamics.com//Publications/Memberships/swb.html.

HALF-PRICE OFFER

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 certificate.

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: https://secure.storydynamics.com/catalog (Elaine will confirm your reduced price before charging your credit card.) Or call, email, or fax to the numbers below.

All the best, Doug

P.S., Email me for one or all of these, or view them on the web:

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