The Coaching Journey – It’s In Your Story!

When Little Red Riding Hood set out to visit her
sickly grandmother, she prepared her basket of
goodies and set out on the journey.
When Snow White was taken into the forest by her
wicked stepmother’s huntsman to be killed, she
also began her great journey into the unknown.
Even Shrek (in each movie) faced a formidable
journey before he could get to where he needed to
be.
The truth is that every good story has a journey
and it plays a very important role in the
narrative structure and also in the personal
development of the character.

So what is the role of the journey in our stories?
Well, the journey is a metaphor for
transformation. The protagonist of the story
undergoes some kind of change which is enabled by
the physical movement of the journey. This
transformation can be physical, emotional or
intellectual but it is described through the
journey in the narrative form.

When I was 18, I left home and went to university
overseas. It was my first time living away from
home and leaving the shelter of my family and the
community I grew up in. My journey had immense
significance in terms of the personal process I
went through. Even the journey itself can be
viewed on several levels. There was the part of
the journey that took place in the first 24 hours
after I left home. The flights, the baggage
handling, the arrival and the confusion all added
to the discomfort and metaphorical severing of the
?child? from home and family and being catapulted
into adulthood.

I believe that the journey went way beyond the
first 24 hours of physically and literally leaving
home and flying overseas. The journey continued
over the next 12 months of my university program,
living in dorms and meeting people from all over
the world. The journey continued with the
learning how to shop and budget and cook for
myself for the first time. It continued when I
ran out of money and worked waitressing and
cleaning houses to get by and not have to ask my
parents for support. The journey continued as I
realised what I wanted to study and moved into the
degree program that was offered in another town
that I had to move to.

In some sense, the journey still continues and
will do so even after all these year as my life
unfolds.

The coaching process is often described as a
journey.
The assumption being that the client when
committing to the coaching process undertakes a
life changing journey, from which she/he will
emerge changed (hopefully, for the better!).
Just as we are the protagonist in our life
stories, the coaching journey is the vehicle of
change for our protagonist, the client. As we
enable our clients to take action, this movement
creates a momentum which enables further action.
The outcome is the coaching journey which
facilitates reaching goals and creating the life
that we dream of.

There is an immediately obvious link between our
stories and the coaching process. When we use
story, the metaphor is clear and useful to help
our clients take those first crucial steps on
their journey to self-realization and fulfilment.

As we learn to examine our stories and identify
our journey in them, we become better equipped to
see movement, change and transformation in a
positive light. When we understand our journey,
through our actions and through our stories, we
have the wonderful opportunity to celebrate our
own personal transformation.

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