Narrative coaching is a mindful, experiential, and holistic approach that helps people shift their stories about themselves, others, and life itself to create new possibilities and new results. 

It is based on the work of David Drake.

Surviving in a VUCA world is a great challenge for today’s leaders. There is so much that they have to deal with and quite often it becomes all too overwhelming. One of the ways narrative coaching can help them is showing them how to regulate themselves when they get triggered so they can be more adaptive and resourceful in their response. Narrative Coaching is about helping people recognize what they once saw as a natural and inevitable reflection of their world is actually a construction, and their suffering stems from an adherence to that construction- particularly when it clashes with reality.

Working with People’s Stories:
Stories really function as a window of how people see themselves. It is actually built into our DNA to tell stories to others and to ourselves. Much of people’s behaviors are the stories, the self-talk that goes on internally and consequently shape their decisions and actions. It is through their stories that people relate to how they see themselves, the world in general, what they are seeking, where they are stuck. Stories often contain clues to possible resolutions to the dilemmas they face.

“There is always an intimate connection between the ways in which people construe themselves and the way they are likely to behave. How they see themselves in the world and how they behave. Coaching helps to change the stories to make the new behaviors obvious and simple.” – David Novitz

There are three primary insights we want coachees to have:
1. There is a connection between their stories, their behaviors and their outcomes;
2. They are ultimately accountable for all three; and
3. These connections have often become automatic and unconscious but they can be changed. This process helps them do the latter.

Each step in this coaching process is consistent with the narrative logic inherent in the step before it. That is why this process is first used to help clients to reflect on their current pattern and then used to rewind it to create a new one that is better suited to who and how they want to be in the world. Clients can use this process to pivot whenever they are triggered, such that over time they can readily do this on their own. It is backed by research that suggests that it is better to focus on the cue not the behavior so the client can practice in any moment and build healthy habits.

Reflecting on your story

Reflecting on conversation or situation you found challenging
1. What did you observe? (describe Experience as a reporter would)
2. What were you telling yourself at the time? (Story)
3. What does this say about how you see yourself? (Identity)
4. What did you do as a result? (Behavior)
5. What happened in the end? (Outcome)

Rewinding your story

Rewinding the story to achieve a different outcome next time

1. What would you like to have had happen in the end? (outcome)
2. What could you have done differently as a result? (behavior)
3. What would need to shift in how you see yourself? (identity)
4. What could you tell yourself next time this happens? (story)
5. What would you observe if ‘this’ were the case? (experience)


Interested in finding out how narrative coaching can help your C-level executives and business leaders? Contact us now to discuss – we are one of Singapore’s top executive coaching companies having coached over 100+ C-level executives.


The Power of Narrative Coaching Explained

Pratap Nambiar, Founder & Chairman of Thought Perfect explains the power of narrative coaching in this short video. Narrative coaching is about coaching through storytelling. It is about asking leaders “What is the story you are telling yourself now?” and listening. It is as much about the story business leaders are telling themselves as it is about the story that they are NOT telling themselves, he says.

Leave a reply