There was much talk at the SIOP Conference about the increasingly disruptive nature of our lives and workplaces—and the need for coaches and coaching to evolve in response. What was missing in some important ways was just how we were supposed to make this happen. In part, I would argue there is a call for coaches to be proactive in shaping the future not just respond to it. Narrative coaching is an excellent resource for this because it focuses on the maturation of coaches more than an adherence to methodology, and it openly addresses the impact of collective narratives not just personal stories. In addition, it can be readily applied to disciplines beyond coaching because it is based in the human process of change.
The photo comes for our recent retreat near Amsterdam and shows the participants (and yours truly) after they each crossed their threshold and stepped into what is next for them. The smiles on their faces reflect the genuine sense of freedom they now feel and the embodiment of real change in real time. Part of what makes this possible is the fascinating combination of what we know about personal growth with what we know from design thinking. This unlikely pairing has given rise to one of the most striking characteristics of our retreats and this work in general: the MVI or Minimum Viable Intervention.
What we are finding is that this work is most respectful and powerful when we take the smallest possible action to support the unfolding process and the person's progress. For example, it means placing an empty chair next to the person as part of their work—without naming what it is—as a conduit for what wants to happen next. It offers the scaffolding they need to support their proximal learning and development (Vygotsky). Deepening our understanding of how to use MVIs will be an area of keen interest for the Moment Institute in 2018 as we support practitioners to bring healing and wholeness to our world in new ways.
Dr David Drake is the founder of the field of Narrative Coaching.