Think back to when you were a young tyke facing that dreaded time of day: Bedtime.
You grasped every excuse to get out of going to bed: I need another glass of water, I need to brush my teeth again, I forgot to give my little sister a night-night kiss. Really?
But mom and dad, shrewd operators that they are, often replied, “How bout a story?”
It’s true, we’re hardwired to love a good story, whether it’s a Mother Goose classic, a chilling tale around the campfire, a gripping page-turner or a spine-tingling movie. And we enjoy listening to a good storyteller, so a well-crafted, well-told story can help you connect with your client in surprisingly profound ways.
An effective coach spends time learning how to be a good storyteller, knows when telling a story will serve to illustrate a specific point, and why the stories she tells will resonate with her client. Your success as a coach will rely on your ability to tell moving and authentic stories that help connect you to your client as the person who can help guide them to achieving their authentic goals.
The stories you tell should be credible and relevant. Whether you use real-life examples, allegories or metaphors, the stories must demonstrate that you are in the moment, you are actively listening, you’ve heard them and you understand what they want to get out of coaching. You get it, and you get them!
Irrelevant stories sound concocted and forced, square pegs to the round holes. If your choice of tales, and your ability to tell them sound inauthentic, the coaching session will be a bust, you will lose credibility, and you will be deemed just another money-grubbing fake.
Storytelling is a tool, one of the many in the professional money coach’s bag.
It’s one that doesn’t come naturally to most of us, but one that must be cultivated as a leading communication device, one that connects in a meaningful and believable way.
A good place to kick start your learning is StorySelling for Financial Advisors, by Scott West and Mitch Anthony, Kaplan Publishing, 2000.
First published in 2000, the book was written for licensed financial advisors, but the two decades-old reference can help money coaches get a good start on understanding the importance of being a solid storyteller, how to become a skilled at the art and how to make the stories you tell relevant to your client’s situation.