Narrative coaching and guidance

The narrative approach to coaching is very powerful when self-limiting ideas have played a role in a person's life for a longer time - often accompanied by shame, guilt frustration etc. - and when these ideas are standing in the way of living out dreams and values.

Narrative coaching claims that reality is socially constructed through the way we talk about things, and the choices we make when deciding what to talk about and what to leave unsaid. Through storytelling we create meaning of the experiences in our life. The knowledge in our stories is often perceived as the truth about things and happenings, and this "truth" - or dominant story - guides us towards certain “obvious” ways of dealing with problems. Words create worlds, they focus our perception and attention on happenings that confirm our dominant story and tend to let us reproduce actions that likewise confirm the story. However, sometimes these actions do not bring real solutions. It might be that the actions have already been tried out without the expected outcome, or it might be that we end up in conflicts, or in painful stories about past failures. Challenging these stories might therefore point towards alternatives.

The narrative approach works with externalising conversations: the problem is constructed as something external to the person, its tactics and effects are explored and the focus person is asked to evaluate these effects. Through externalising conversations the focus person realises that he is not the problem, and that alternative stories of times without the problem exist. Elaborating and unfolding - “thickening” - these alternative stories helps the person finding his way back to his own resources, hopes, dreams and values. Through new stories new opportunities for action arise.

The participant will learn to help the focus person deconstruct these dominant ideas or stories and to construct alternative stories about resources, hopes, dreams and values that lead to new opportunities for action. The course will offer a chance to practice narrative coaching with individuals as well as witnessing methods with groups.

The course will give you…

  • Insight into the theoretical foundations of social constructionist theory and narrative coaching
  • A chance to practice externalising conversations and construction of alternative stories
  • Possibility to practice witnessing methods
  • An understanding of how to apply the techniques in different situations – to individuals and teams – and specifically to your target group
  • A possibility to have a look at your own learning goals and identity as a coach through being coached
  • Skills in collegial coaching (outsider witness groups) in order to continue the reflection and learning process at home

The course fee for this five day course is 750 Euro, which can be almost fully covered by an Erasmus+ grant (plus travel and stay). After August 2022, the fee will be 730 Euro. Of course, our courses are open to anyone, also without Erasmus+ grants!

Gouda, Netherlands