In March, Dr David Drake will be attending our Coaching Conference with a leading keynote themed around ‘Challenging the Narrative’. David founded and runs the Center for Narrative Coaching & Leadership in San Francisco, and has worked on narrative coaching, change and leadership initiatives for over 70 organisations including Google, Nike and the Australia and US federal governments.

But what exactly is narrative coaching?

Through his website, David takes you on a journey to bring the concept of Narrative Coaching to life. Below is a snippet of what will be explored fully at our conference…

“Imagine you are a pilgrim on a long journey, gathering stories as they appear and stashing them like gems in your backpack.

Sometimes you pull the stories out, dust them off, and share them with fellow travellers. Sometimes you keep them to yourself, afraid that other travellers will find them ugly or unsavoury and you will feel shame. Sometimes you roll them around in your hands, re-shaping them to better fit with the other stories they share space with.

The stories in your backpack don’t look like those in any other traveller’s backpack. They have been shaped by the journey through which they’ve been carried, by the way you’ve used them to define yourself, and by your assumptions of how other people are judging them.

Now imagine you’ve been invited by a kind and supportive fellow-traveller to sit down on a comfortable park bench along that journey. Your new companion invites you to open your backpack, promising that he will be gentle with the stories inside.

You’re a little reluctant at first, but the stories are getting heavy and you’d really like to be free of the weight for a while. Your backpack hasn’t been fitting very well on your back during the last few miles and you wonder whether it might be a good idea to take some time to rearrange the things that are poking you.

Your companion is very good at making you feel comfortable and safe, and it doesn’t take long for you to recognise that you trust him. Finally, you sit down and take a few deep breaths. Your companion waits patiently.

Slowly you pull a story out and hold it tenderly in your hand, glancing up to see what response it will elicit. Surprisingly, your companion holds no judgement in his eyes as he gazes down at the story. He simply asks you kind and energising questions about it, helping you to define it and see it through new eyes…”

The story continues to explain that through the companion’s questions, the traveller starts to see patterns in the stories, and some take a completely new shape. The traveller sees things they did not see before; the new shapes offer new possibilities for how the journey will continue. The backpack becomes much lighter and is no longer a heavy burden.

The companion on the journey is a narrative coach. They have been trained to help examine stories, re-shape them if necessary and use the ones that help the traveller take the next step in their journey with confidence and trust.

The full story can be found here and was written by Heather Plett, a Lab Participant.

To find out more about Narrative Coaching and ‘Challenging the Narrative’, you can book our coaching conference at an early bird rate before 26th January here: