As a coach, I sometimes hear people say, “I know what I’m doing well. Just tell me what I’m doing wrong.” They seem to take it for granted that their strengths are obvious. But my experience suggests just the opposite. Discovering your strengths turns out to be a process that can take years – and [...]
In this third installment of “12 Skills of the Storyteller,” I take up the two key skills of relating to your listeners. This is where the magic happens!
As a discouraged student at a university that spoke only of weaknesses, I found one professor who taught me about noticing strengths.
As storytellers, we need to develop our “x-ray vision” for seeing the strengths in our own and others’ stories – no matter how obscured the strengths may currently be.
Only then are we prepared to help stories become stronger.
Too many storytellers adopt an artificial way of speaking that has nothing to do with communication or the peculiar qualities of the tale being told. This practice holds back the teller, the listeners, and the growth of storytelling as a whole.
Coaching a teller to drop this kind of “misdirected effort” is tricky, but possible. The coach must lead the teller through four important steps. Above all, we must treat tellers afflicted with this “performance virus” with patience, respectfulness, and genuine affection, for they, too, have great potential and are therefore precious to our movement.
How do we describe different styles of coaching – objectively and clearly? This article sets out four pairs of roles. The way these roles are each assigned specifies important parts about coaching styles. As a bonus, these also help distinguish styles of directing and interviewing.
This is an expanded version – with summary tables – of the article “Four Roles for Storytellers – and For Those Who Help Them“