Storytelling is an ART. Like any other art, it also requires creativity and passion. Storytelling is the simplest way to communicate with the audience.
Storytelling is an art that connects to every culture and society.
Do you know why?
Because a story is a universal language. It stimulates the imagination.
Do you know why many people try to communicate via stories? The reason is that stories simplify complex messages.
Remember the teacher who gave you a real-life example to solve a physics problem?
Stories bring people together. Irrespective of our religion, gender, etc., stories bind us together. They give us a sense of commonality. They connect us through the way we feel and respond.
Stories also inspire and motivate people. When brands achieve heights, stories help them to be down-to-earth and connect with their consumers. Setting a narrative for a brand humanizes it. This also behaves as an inherent marketing strategy.
Nowadays, many businesses, marketing campaigns, etc., use storytelling to connect to their audience.
What could be the reason?
It is simple.
Storytelling is the way to break complex information in a simple and engaging way. This helps one to communicate the core aim of the message better. The use of facts and narratives grasps the attention of the audience.
Not only business, but storytelling is also used in many other niches. Like in standup comedies, film making, music composition, religious dialects, etc.
Anyone can become a storyteller. But, if someone wants to become a professional storyteller, he/she must have certain skills. This is the reason that different marketers, entertainers, PR professionals, etc. look for storytelling coaches.
Storytelling coaches have years of experience in storytelling. Their coaching skills and techniques can help one to engage the audience better.
Storytelling coaches help clients to unfold their imagination. They guide them on how to best express their stories orally, in writing, or digitally.
Do you have an interest in storytelling?
Have you inspired someone through short stories?
Did you guide someone to communicate difficult messages using storytelling?
Do you feel that it would be fun to coach clients to become amazing storytellers?
Then why delay?
Let’s convert your passion into a profession by becoming a storytelling coach.
I hear that you have a few questions in mind?
In this article, I will discuss everything that you must know as a storytelling coach. By the end, I am sure that you will get all your answers.
Who is a storytelling coach?
Storytelling coaches help clients to create a strong narrative. People have different ways to express their stories. Some may want to address a crowd. Others may want to pen down. Storytelling coaches guide them all.
Storytelling coaches know what makes an engaging story. They know how to make a story presentable, to at once connect with the audience. Storytelling coaches improve the abilities of the clients to connect in business, social situations, presentations, etc.
Storytelling coaches guide the clients on the storytelling principals. They coach them to build confidence and communication skills. In short, storytelling coaches help people at every stage of their story. Right from it’s crafting to its presentation in front of the audience.
Typically, a storytelling coach helps clients in the following way:
- Developing relationships with stories and storytelling.
- Helping with tools and resources for a better coaching process and outcome.
- Exploring orality and better tips for writing a story.
- Creating self-awareness and awareness of the world around the client.
- Uncovering the vast and wild imagination of the client.
- Improving the clients’ communication skills
- Helping clients to understand their audience better.
- Conducting effective sessions with the clients to overcome weaknesses and hurdles.
- Providing valuable feedback.
- Introducing creative ways and tips for storytelling, like humor, for building engagement.
What skills should a storytelling coach have?
Do you know what is the first step to becoming a storyteller coach?
It is – become an amazing storyteller!
If you want to coach others then first you must have a solid command over it. This means that you must have great storytelling skills.
Do you know what are these skills?
Let’s have a look at some of them.
A great storyteller is an amazing observer first. He/she observes the world around carefully. Do you know the reason behind this? This is because most amazing stories are the one which comes from the world around. If people can not relate to the characters, they won’t connect.
You must be a deep observer for being a great storytelling coach. Observe the minute and simple things happening around you. Things that people generally neglect.
Every activity happening around us consists of some purpose which only keen observers can identify. When you bring these minute things with deep meaning in front of people, it makes great stories. These stories seldom compel the audience to think, embrace, and reflect.
Who can resist humor? The best way to win the audience is through some fun. There are different types of humor. One must choose a type as per his/her personality. Also, there is a fine line between humor and sarcasm. A storyteller must encourage positive fun. Take care that you don’t insult anyone just for the sake of creating humor.
Have a look at the way to structure a funny story.
A good story has suspense. No, it doesn’t mean that it has to be always a detective story. Stories must have some twists. They must make the audience curious to know – “what will happen now.”
Have a look at some tricks that you can use to build a suspensive story.
Best storytellers are the ones that use an evocative language.
What kind of stories will you relate to? One which is difficult to imagine or another which can help your brain to visualize better?
Of course, the latter, right?
Stories that use language, texture, voice modulation help our brains react wonderfully.
Empathy helps you to relate to a person. This further helps in realizing what would the audience like/dislike. An empathetic storyteller creates a strong bond with the audience. His/her story may end but the personality remains in the minds of the audience for long.
Creating of plot and timing in the stories is very important. A good storyteller knows when is the right time to reveal characters. He/she knows the perfect timing for uncovering suspense, reaching conclusions, etc. Without proper timing, even the greatest stories may fall flat.
It seems that storytelling is an easy job, but in reality, it isn’t. Even stand-up comedians that make us laugh spend a huge time gaining knowledge on their subject.
You can’t become a leader in your industry if you lack knowledge.
Do you know what is the best way to gain knowledge?
Yes, to become a great storyteller try to become a good reader. This will help you to gain knowledge snippets from around. Knowledge of real-life examples is necessary.
So, above were some general skills. Depending on your coaching niche, you may have to add other skills too.
For instance, if you are a business storyteller coach, you will need to know the business domain. After all, you can’t tell mythological stories in a workplace setting, right? Customize your skills as per your coaching niche and target audience.
Also along with storytelling skills, you must have great coaching skills. You must know what are the top qualities of successful coaches. Always keep yourself up to date with all the top trends in the coaching industry. This will help you to outperform your competitors.
Who can be the potential prospects of a storytelling coach?
As a storytelling coach, you must set your ideal clients. Setting a target audience must be your priority. This helps you to streamline your coaching practice.
There are different sets of audiences that you can choose from. Let’s have a look at who all can be the ideal clients of the storytelling coach.
You can become a children’s entertainer. Being open to young audiences helps storytellers to build a career.
These are professional storytellers for adult audiences. They have amazing skills to make people laugh with their stories. With proper timing and life-related stories they often make our days, right?
Is comedy your genre?
Did you ever do open-mic nights?
Are you good at jokes and can coach people in this line?
Is yes, then go for it!
Working with aspiring stand-up comedians is great fun for sure!
Do you watch movies often?
Do you think that you can write a script of yours?
Can you guide someone on their scripts?
Then this set of the audience can be your ideal prospects.
Films help in exploring different kinds of stories. These include sci-fi movies, romantic, thriller, etc. Films are a great way to motivate and excite people. They even help them to shed their disbeliefs.
A great filmmaker is first an amazing storyteller. If you have a passion for filmmaking, it would be amazing to coach clients of this genre.
Music can be a great storytelling medium. Musicians are professional storytellers who tell their stories with guitar and drums. Including a narrative in the music can help both children and adults get involved in clapping and singing along. Music storytelling can also behave as an educational tool.
Do you have a love for music?
Can you coach someone to mix music and a story for communicating messages?
Then why not have musicians as your target audience!?
First impression matters. Whether it is about pitching new ideas or settling into a new leadership role.
Many business professionals directly or indirectly take the role of a storyteller to communicate their ideas.
Nowadays many business marketing campaigns – both offline and online – carry a story.
Anyone wants to get to the crux of the information in a simple and unforgettable way. Storytelling coaches have the skills of presentation coaches as well. If working in the business domain interests you then these can be your ideal prospects.
TEDx speakers, motivational speakers, etc. all of them connect with their audience with wonderful stories. Not everyone amongst them gets famous. Not everyone becomes a great storyteller.
Such public speakers look for storytelling coaches like you. Coaches who can improve their public skills. They look for storytelling coaches who can train them to speak with confidence on the stage. You can tune your coaching philosophy to coach the professional speakers to become amazing storytellers.
What should you know to become a great storytelling coach?
Know what makes a good story
Do you know how a good story looks like?
A good story is :
It keeps the audience engaged and develop their interest in what’s coming next.
It adds to the audience’s knowledge, curiosity, and awareness.
It relates to the emotions and experiences that most people undergo.
It conveys the core message in an organized way. This helps the audience to better absorb it.
Through different ways – humor, motivation, etc.- a good story sticks in the minds of the audience.
A good storytelling coach is aware of the storytelling process well. This allows him/her to coach the clients in the right manner.
Do you want to know how this process works?
Let’s have a look.
Knowing the audience
You must first coach the clients to know their audience.
Who wants to hear the story? Why would they do so? What would they like to hear?
The story can only have a positive outcome when it relates to the audience. And for relating, knowing, and understanding the audience is important.
Defining the core message
Each client has a core message to deliver through his/her story. As a coach, you first identify that.
Is your client selling product?
Does he/she want to advocate for an issue?
Defining the core message builds the foundation of the storytelling process. A storytelling coach must ask great coaching questions to uncover the hidden message. Ask your clients to summarize the story in 5-10 lines. If they cannot do this, it means they don’t have a core message.
Decide the kind of story
After identifying the core message, the next step is to determine the kind of story. All stories aren’t equal. You will find different clients with their kind of stories. The best way to identify the kind of story is to discover the objective of the story.
Different objectives of storytelling can be:
- To incite actions in the audience
- To tell people about oneself
- To convey values
- To foster community collaboration
- To educate
- To bring business etc..
Identifying the objective behind will help in deciding the kind of story.
The storytelling process is incomplete without a strong call-to-action. A storytelling coach must coach clients to include effective call-to-action.
And how will you do that?
So, based on the kind of story, think what action you want the audience to take after hearing the story.
Do you want people to buy a product?
Do you want them to donate or subscribe to a newsletter?
Including effective call-to-actions help clients to proceed beyond storytelling.
Select the medium of the story
There are various mediums for storytelling. These include:
A written story
Told through articles, blogs, case studies, or books.
A spoken story
Told in person, like a presentation or pitch. TED talks are great examples of spoken stories.
An audio story
Spoken aloud but recorded. Podcasts are a form of an audio story.
A digital story
Told through various media such as video, social media, animation, and game.
How to start as a professional storytelling coach?
Start a storytelling club
Why not start your storytelling club? You can propose this idea to any local library or coffee shop. You can also keep different themes like romance, adventure, etc. Set a time limit if you feel.
This will help you to gather an audience. This way you can build a network even before starting your coaching business.
Start your podcast
Podcasts are a great way of telling your or other’s stories. You can also edit the podcasts with music in the background. Share podcasts amongst your friends and take feedback. Try to improve according to the feedback.
Attend storytelling clubs and festivals
Take the advantage of such clubs to hone your craft. These may help you to discover some of your stories. Try to meet different types of storytellers and storytelling coaches. Learn their ways and keep adding to your existing knowledge bank.
So, the above were some baby steps towards starting your storytelling coaching business. Now we will move on to coaching-business related steps.
Fix your target audience
As we discussed above, there are different types of ideal prospects for you. Ask yourself:
Which category interests you the most?
With whom do you think your personality would be the best fit? Are these business professionals? Stand-up comedians? TEDx speakers?
While fixing your target audience take care of the following:
- Having experience or related background always helps.
- Do some market research.
- You must be able to relate to the pain points of the audience. Only then you can coach to bring the transformation.
- Check out your competitors and their strategies.
Create a coaching business plan
A coaching business plan is very important for any coach. A storytelling coach must have a plan that outlines the details of his/her coaching business. It contains all your financial, marketing, investment, etc. strategies, and much more. Build a comprehensive plan so that you can drive the process smoothly. Here are some effective steps to make an amazing coaching business plan.
Choose your coaching model
Having a coaching model provides a framework for your coaching process. This makes the coaching practice of a storytelling coach more effective.
Do you want to take one-to-one coaching sessions?
Do you think online coaching would be a better option?
Are you yet not sure which would be the best model for you?
There are many coaching models that you can choose from. Your choice depends a lot on your skills, available resources, and your target audience.
Build a web presence
You can also use youtube videos, ebooks, etc. to reach your clients. Focus on building effective marketing strategies. Leverage social media. Join and be active in online forums and groups related to your coaching niche.
Join an institute for coaching certificate(optional)
Coaching certificates lend credibility to a coach. Different people have their notions about coaching certificates.
I feel that though coaching certificates may sometimes give you an edge but they are not always a necessity. Going for such certificates is completely one’s personal choice. You can have a look at “Do you need a coaching certification” to decide better.
Make sure that you earn a certificate via one of the top institutions for coaching certifications.
Don’t quit your day job too quickly
I know that you are passionate about your dream. At the same time, you must be practical too. Only you can best judge your current situation. If you feel that your job is important than quitting it can be a bit dangerous. Getting clients mostly demand time and patience.
Along with your job, you can give a few hours each day to build your coaching plan and process. You can also start part-time freelancing. Once you crack your ideal clients you can start your full-fledged storytelling coaching business. Have a look at ways to crack your ideal clients fast.
Once you realize that the time has come, make sure that there’s no turning back.