Storyboard-Based Christian Coaching
There are a number of models and frameworks that can be used to assist in conducting a coaching session. These range from simple to very complex and tend to be general in nature and non-specific in application. As a result, a more practical model is often needed, especially when it comes to new skills and a storyboard-based approach often works well.
In 1993 an Australian based organisation called Team Publications developed a single page storyboard, called the One-Page-Coach®. As the name suggests, the storyboard was developed to present the basics of a specific subject on one side of a normal piece of paper. Each storyboard uses a logical system that divides the subject material into 10, 11 or 12 frames within which to tell the “story” by using images and behavioural outcome statements in bullet point form. The storyboard consequently offers a sequential pathway that can help individuals to quickly understand the subject in question. An example of such a storyboard is shown below.
Using the Storyboard as Coaching Support Tool
Because storyboards use a simple, highly digestible and easy-to-follow coaching methodology they can be used by almost anyone. They are designed to give both the coach and coachee a reference point and guide for the conversation, as well as plenty of prompts for specific discussions that follow a logical and progressive format.
As the example shown above indicates, each storyboard is divided into four stages or phases, shown on the left and in the four circles at the top right, thus providing the topic in question with a simple, phased structure and support for on-going or continuous development.
In the FIRST stage or phase (top line), the coach and coachee typically discuss the various foundational aspects of the topic area in question. By discussing and even making notes, both parties can discover new insights and thereby establish a strong base for future work.
The SECOND stage typically helps the coach to assist the coachee to look beyond his or her current perspective in relation to the topic or perhaps think about a different approach. This stage also helps a coachee to be open to learn from others and think about possible changes in attitude or behaviour.
The THIRD stage typically helps both coach and coachee to form possible development goals and sub-goals relating to the topic, as well as create a list of actions and measures that enable him or her to achieve these.
The FOURTH stage typically seeks to establish that a clear plan for executing personal forward development exists and that follow-up mechanisms are in place to ensure that there is positive future progress. In this regard, each storyboard always ends with a review of the learning journey that has been travelled, and with a revisit to any previous frames that may need additional attention.
In overall terms, coaches can do one of two things with each storyboard:
1) Perhaps the most common application method is to help the coachee work through the different frames sequentially and explore his or her responses to relevant questions for as long as necessary. This process could involve deeper and deeper probes as required.
2) The other approach is more “mosaic” where the coach can use the storyboard to review which parts or frames of the storyboard may be in need of development or even be missing altogether and then focus on those first. This is particularly useful where time is initially limited or the coachee has already spent time on this subject area.
Coaches can ask their own questions with each frame on the storyboard. However, they can also use the companion Coaching Guide that has been developed from practical experience with each storyboard. These Coaching Guides provide the coach brief support notes as well as a range of pre-prepared questions.
Working with an individual using a storyboard is seldom a prescriptive process or one that takes a fixed amount of time. As such, a coach may run through some storyboards in just a few coaching sessions while other storyboards may take a lot longer. Much of this depends on the purpose and content of the storyboard. Whatever the time-frame, the coach needs to make a judgment according to individual needs and circumstances and dwell on a given section of the storyboard for as little or as long as necessary.
A coaching storyboard is a very powerful resource for both the coach and coachee. A coach can ask a range of questions related to the frame and an individual can respond by thinking about his or her own personal situation and particular challenges. By the end of the process, both parties are likely to feel that they have delved deeply into the subject area and found a range of helpful ways to apply the learning.
© 2012. Dr. Jon Warner. Adapted and used with permission.