I have been on a mission since founding the field of narrative coaching nearly 15 years ago to distill the process of human transformation down to its essence. It is based in a belief that people need new experiences far more than more explanations. It has resulted in the creation of a number of practices that are research-based but don't require memorizing lists of theories, steps or terms to work. They just get the job done in the simplest, most direct, way possible. I have found design thinking to be a wonderful tool in this regard.
As I started working with it in projects in organizations, I came to realize that it could be used in developing people as well. As such, it is now an integral part of the Narrative Design model upon which my work is based. Part of the beauty of working this way is that it is clear enough to guide even a novice yet open enough to make room for a master. It is innately human because it mirrors the process of the stories we tell, the transitions we make and the development we experience. It focuses on one thing at a time.
It allows us to approach personal growth as a design thinking project using the following four phases:
The powerful paradox is that rather than trying to "get somewhere" as is the case with some other approaches, the attention is largely on what is present and what is called for next to further the design. It is about helping people get to the crux of their issue so they can begin prototyping new ways of being and acting. It is about an iterative spiral. It is intentions with direction not goals with steps.
How might this design-based approach help you make a shift in your life or practice that is important to you right now?
Dr David Drake is the founder of the field of Narrative Coaching.