The Coaching Process
Similar to learning a musical instrument, or playing a sport coaching is the most effective way to improve your storytelling skills. Unlike music or sports, however, speaking is a skill that all of us figured out at a very early age, and we have been storytelling ever since. So you’re not starting from scratch, which is a good thing, but few of us were ever taught how to tell an impactful story.
Having helped hundreds of individuals improve their storytelling skills I’ve seen first hand just how powerful the coaching process is. Something quite magical happens when the time and effort is spent on revealing the true meaning of a personal story, then crafting and delivering a polished narrative. So how does the coaching process work? It depends on the type of help a speaker needs.
You have a message, and a blank sheet of paper
You already know what your story is about, but you don’t know where to start. You feel that others can benefit from your experiences and the lessons you’ve learned along they way, or a unique idea that can solve a critical problem. You may have told some version of this story dozens of times to friends and family, but every time you tell the story it’s different.
You have lots of source material to draw from, potentially many hours worth, but knowing what’s most important and organizing it into a manuscript is not your strong suit. You’re not alone. It’s a common for a lot of my clients. In this case we’ll explore your story / message / idea and uncover the most relevant material to include. From there we’ll create a compelling narrative, and then work on how best to present your story.
You’ve written a rough draft, but it’s a mess
In this case you’ve actually spent the time capturing the elements of your story on paper or electronically, but it feels like your masterpiece has been dropped into a blender for a quick spin. You’re not sure what to include or what to omit, and in what order the main points should be told. The narrative may feel a bit thin. Your message is in there, but it’s still lacking the impact that you know it should have.
Well, congrats on getting the ball rolling. Typically (but not always) that means less time spent on defining the message and more effort focused on exploring the story elements to determine the sequence that the narrative should follow.
The story is finished, but it could be much better
Some clients have not only written their story, they’ve been telling it in front of audiences. Ideally that also means they’ve been getting feedback and have had an opportunity to edit and improve their story. But even after a dozen or more tellings they know there’s something missing. It’s a good story, but they want it to be great.
In these situations the coaching process will dive deeper into each of the story elements, looking for undiscovered gems that can enhance the story’s impact. It’s about enhancing, as well as polishing the story at hand.
Let’s get on a video call and talk about your requirements. I have worked with scientists and engineers, educators and students, entrepreneurs and business leaders, creatives, artists & musicians, as well as policy makers, special forces personnel and prison inmates, which means I’m confident that I can help you discover and create an impactful story.
From our discussion we’ll determine how much time the coaching process will take. The majority of clients need between 5 and 15 hours, depending on their needs. My focus is always on adding as much value as possible within budget.
As you consider your story, consider these questions.
This is the focus of your talk, it’s why you’re on stage, and it drives your story.
It may be a TEDx event, technical workshop, keynote or company presentation.
What led you to the point of wanting to share this message with other people?
This speaks to the tangible value that an audience will discover within your talk.
What will an audience think, how will they feel, what will they do afterwards?
Ready to make your talk a reality?
Just as every speaker is unique, so is every talk, which means every coaching engagement is tailored to meet a client’s needs, but in most cases we’ll cover:
♦Define the essence of your message
♦Explore your passion for this subject
♦Examine why the audience will care
♦Uncover the story blocks of the talk
♦Craft the story’s narrative sequence
♦Ensure all transitions flow smoothly
♦Identify the opening & closing lines
♦Rehearsing vocally and physically
Your story can change the world!