Once upon a time there was a conference in Madrid where I was listening to the great masters of coaching, bored and tired. A woman stepped on the stage, sat down in the circle of the masters and told a story with love and feelings. Immediately my attention was connected with her, my eyes became bright and fascinated like a little girl. It was Lisa Bloom, storyteller and founder of Story-Coach Inc.
That was the day that I plunged into the beautiful world of stories for coaching, thanks to Lisa.
The world of the storytelling is great and has an enormous diversity. Although the world has changed a lot, the stories still teach us timeless truths and wisdom in a graceful and indirect way and support us to give meaning to our lives that sometimes can seem complicated. We live always in a hurry and listening to a story gives us a quiet moment in that we are present and deeply connected and it helps us to pause and reflect about ourselves and our lives.
When we tell our own stories we define how we see reality, whether it is a story about how we found our partner or the story that we tell to find a job. We do not only tell facts because we are not only rational. We are emotional and our emotions often cause us to decide. The stories include emotions and can touch us in a deep level, sometimes they even work in our subconscious mind. The stories of other persons can inspire us or give us hope. They can show us a new perspective, something we never thought of and they can open us new horizons.
What is the power of stories in our life and in coaching?
For me, the best person to answer this is Lisa Bloom:
What is the power of stories for you?
The power of stories is the ability to connect with people on a very deep level, to inspire and to get really their attention. Since the beginning of time we have expressed ourselves through story. We have passed on our culture, our value system and our sense of community through stories.
How do stories help us to understand our reality?
People tell stories all the time. If it is for example the story of “how I came to be where I am now”, you are not telling what is actual fact necessarily. We tell opinions, our approach, our point of view. It creates the framework about which we create our whole reality. I give a good example: My sister and I, we might reminisce about our childhood. Sometimes I do not know how she grew up. Mostly, it is because she tells a different story. She tells it because of her own personal outlook and her belief system. It is her story and is different to mine, although we grew up together.
Story is what creates our reality. When you listen intently to somebody else’s story, you get a picture of a lot more than the words they say. You get images, a sense of an opinion, values and a lot of information on how the person particularly sees the world.
What is the power of stories in coaching?
For me, storytelling and coaching is a whole methodology. It is about coaching at a much more effective level because you are using story as a way to access people’s inner most state to be able to create a change and new perspectives and to help them achieve their objectives. The idea is to inspire clients by using your own story, by fairytales or folktales. It allows you to bring them to a place where they have never thought of.
How do stories help us to heal our lives?
We have stories that we live with that generate pain for us. When you uncover this story of your live and look for different ways to transform it, looking more at the journey, the transformation and the outcome rather than the pain, then you relieve the suffering and begin to heal. Being able to find someone to listen to your story without judgment and without trying to solve it, allows you to tell it and this can be the start on the healing process.
Sometimes it helps us to heal our situation if we listen to stories that are inspiring us because we can imagine something better.
What influence do the stories have in your daily life?
Stories are the way I am in a sense. I find that I can navigate life in a more enjoyable way when I am aware of the story.
We create a lot of pain and tension because we have a story about any given situation that is not serving us well or that is not good for us. So much of how we live is simply a story that we can tell from so many perspectives. You can choose to tell an empowering, beautiful, grateful and contributing story. Or you can choose to be miserable. For me, deciding on how I tell my stories is a day-to-day activity.
Anything else you want to comment that I have not yet asked you?
I love to encourage people to inquire their stories and to learn a little about them and take the responsibility for their stories and on how to tell them, both the good ones and the less good ones and to figure out how they could create more powerful stories. Because many times we just do not think about it and tell stories that do not do us too well. Once you’ve identified these stories, look what you can change in your perspective so that you can tell them in a way that you feel better and that it serves a better purpose. This is how we can transform our lives and make a meaningful change.
Do you want to tell us a story that you particularly like?
It’s really hard, there are so many … I think one of my favorite stories is “The picture of peace.” The reason I love this story is because this message is so powerful, that even at the worst of time, when everything seems so destructive, peace is simply possible because it is in our hearts, it is not that it comes from outside.
What experiences do you have with stories?
I’d love to hear from you. Just leave your comment below.
Do you want to read more? Check my story in the post What if you fear relationships?
based on the article “Metáforas para el cambio: Cuéntame una Historia” published in the magazine “Crearte Magazine”, www.creartemagazine.com
Copyright ©2014, Natalie Jovanic. All rights reserved.