Some Things I Am Learning with Narrative Coaching

Your first task in coaching is to help people notice the partial nature of their stories as they tell them; your second task is to invite them to bring more of the whole story into the dialogue.

Growth often comes when a core aspect of our narrative identity is challenged and we can open ourselves to new stories and other aspects of ourselves.

Be willing to compassionately challenge people about stories that no longer serve them and invite them to prototype new ones.

When you are coaching, ask yourself: Does the coachee believe the problem resides in the past, present, or future?

If you keep Explaining your situation the same way, you will perpetuate the same Experiences—and nothing will change.

If you allow yourself to have new Experiences AND see them through the lens of a new Explanation (narrative)—then change is possible.

If the desired change remains as an “aha,” it will likely wane on its own, like a flashlight with failing batteries. It requires Experiments to put it into action and new ways of Expressing what is working so that the change becomes real.

Be willing to compassionately challenge people about stories that no longer serve them and invite them to prototype new ones.

Because of the forward-looking nature of coaching, we are particularly interested in what Markus & Nurius (1986) called “possible selves” that, for better or worse, beckon us from our sense of the future.

As people move through narrative coaching, we invite them to test out imagined selves in order to create what neurobiologist David Ingvar called new “memories of the future.” g

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