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Storytelling Coaching

Get Top-Notch Help Moving Your Storytelling Forward!

For applied and artistic storytellers of all kinds:

  • Performers
  • Business leaders
  • Educators, and
  • Professionals in any field.

Doug Lipman, storytelling coachI draw on my 32 years of coaching experience to help you become the storyteller that only you can be.

I help you find your strengths, overcome whatever obstacles you face, and connect with your listeners via story.

My clients have ranged from oil company executives to prominent performers and successful authors. I can help you with storytelling techinique, the shaping of your stories, or exactly what stories to tell, in order to meet your goals.

Annette Simmons

"Doug Lipman has been my storytelling coach for almost twenty years now. His coaching style always meets me where I am at and takes me to where I need to go.

"The minute Doug and I hang up the phone, I feel more confident and I have tons of ideas I didn't have before."

- Annette Simmons, author, trainer, consultant. Shreveport, LA

Contents:

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The Moment I Became a Coach

"Most of us have had teachers and other guides in our lives with a special gift for bringing out our best. Doug Lipman is that kind of storytelling coach." - Carol Lewis, The Storytelling Center, Inc. Newsletter, New York, NY

I remember the first workshop I travelled to take in Creative Writing - over 35 years ago. Full of hope, a little scared, I submitted my poems to the teacher, feeling like I was handing over my unprotected heart. Unfortunately, my heart could have used some protection. The unspoken principle of the workshop was, "prove you are smart by poking holes in other people's poems."

Years later, coaching my first storytelling student, I felt a pull to respond similarly, by showing my vast knowledge. (It was the first storytelling class I led, back in 1979. I had been telling stories professionally for three years. My knowledge of storytelling was anything but vast. I think my insecurity fueled my temptation to show off.)

Yet, in the back of my mind, another way of coaching was also whispering for my attention. What was it? Suddenly, the image of my father floated into my mind. My father had spent hours and hours teaching me whatever I wanted to learn. He was always delighted with any real progress I made. He always believed that I could learn.

Without a conscious decision, I responded to that first student in a way that imitated my father's style, not the style of the "Creative Writing" workshop leader. When the student responded by standing taller, speaking louder, and going on to tell better, I was hooked.

In a way, all my coaching since that day 34 years ago has consisted of two things: building on the foundation my father laid for me before I ever went to school; and becoming more articulate about what principles seem to underlie his - and all - good coaching.

"I thank my 'lucky stars' for the wonderful teachers I've had in my lifetime, including you, dear Doug Lipman! I treasure everything I learned from you and share it with others. My memories of that workshop at Hemlocks give me energy and nourishment, not only when I'm 'center stage,' but every day of my life! - Barbara Aliprantis, New York, NY

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What Good Coaching is NOT

First, let me describe some of the approaches I have discarded. Most of these I have tried out - usually, unintentionally. I have created spectacular failures by failing to comply with the following:

Good coaching is NOT about

  • The coach being right.
  • The coach having the answers.
  • The coach's opinions or esthetics.

Good coaches do NOT believe:

  • There is only one way to tell.
  • The teacher's job is to think, the student's is to imitate.
  • The coach knows what the storyteller needs to learn.
  • The storyteller is a machine that the coach can fix.
By and large, most of my failures - and, I believe, those of other coaches - have come from failing to notice that the storyteller has vast creative intelligence and belongs in charge of the coaching session.
"The workshop was fantastic--ideas flying, stories bubbling, lots of new bravery and determination." - Ab Logan, Baltimore, MD
"First and foremost, you created an incredibly positive and affirming atmosphere. This made it possible to open up and get to the heart of things." - Michael Carney, Point Reyes, CA
"One of the reasons I had isolated myself in my work was because I did not want to participate in a competitive environment. You have seen a way beyond this. Good for you! Lucky for us!" - Judy Witters, Norwich, VT

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My qualifications as a coach

I've led coaching workshops at numerous National Storytelling Conferences and other events. I've led scores of multi-day coaching workshops across the U.S. and abroad.

"I'd love to have another coaching workshop with you because the last one was simply wonderful. You truly are a coaches' coach. Your comments and suggestions are right on target every time, and I certainly hope to have another opportunity to attend another one of your sessions in the future." - Faye Wooden, Maryville, TN
"The weekend work with you helped to put me in a much more powerful place.... Thank you for all you have done for me personally and storytelling in general. The Omaha workshop was an excellent experience!" - Roseanna Ross, St. Cloud, MN
"I just wanted to express my appreciation for the powerful weekend - you and Pam provided such a safe, nurturing space for me to explore artistic vision...I have been exploring the field of coaching for about a year now and until I worked with you, I was pretty much disillusioned about the field. My experience has been that most coaches are working at very cognitive levels and are not skilled at addressing the deep emotional issues that block people from achieving their goals.  Your ability to empower both healing and action is a rare gem." - Margaret Saizan, Baton Rouge, LA

I've written articles about coaching for Storytelling Magazine and many regional storytelling publications. I'm the author of the only book on coaching storytellers, The Storytelling Coach: How to Listen, Praise, and Bring Out People's Best, as well as of two more books on storytelling. I've created a video about coaching: Coaching Storytellers: A Demonstration Workshop for All Who Use Oral Communication.

Here are some words of praise for my ground-breaking book, The Storytelling Coach:

"Translating his extraordinary talents into written form, Doug Lipman understands how to create empathic dialogue and offers valued insights into the storytelling process so as to bring storytellers to where they want to be. It is a clearly organized resource book with principles that I will integrate into my own storytelling preparations, into my academic teaching, and into my teaching everywhere." - Peninnah Schram
"Doug Lipman's message for the storytelling coach (and other educators) is exquisitely simple: Look to the student! Again and again, Doug asks the essential questions: How can I help you? What are your goals? In encouraging the coach, Lipman offers a delicious array of wonderful parables of the patience, honesty, and good will of past master-teachers." - Diane Wolkstein, New York, NY
I'm the author of the acclaimed 37-session recorded workshop, the "Storytelling Workshop in a Box":
"A great idea! It’s a monthly ‘shot in the arm’ for my storytelling-and a good incentive to keep storytelling high on my priorities."-Kathy Flanagan, corporate consultant, Burr Ridge, IL
"Useful and efficient - an ongoing reminder to strive for continual improvement in all aspects of interaction with others. I use storytelling in my teaching, and the workshop ideas have helped me to improve the quality of the telling. Beyond that, it has increased the attention I pay to all aspects of storytelling. A good work, needed more than ever in the healing of the world." - Earl S. Steeves, teacher, Hammondsport, NY.

I've been active in the storytelling revival for over 35 years, serving on the board of directors of Storytellers in Concert, the Three Apples Storytelling Festival, the National Storytelling Association, and the National Storytelling Network.

"I think you are the best communicator I have ever heard or have seen... Thank you for all of your work you do. The countless hours you spend helping people express themselves is really quite a marvelous use of your communcative skills. The books you write to help people are really special. Thank you so much for giving of yourself Doug." - Jan Kilburg
"I have found your coaching process so beneficial that I use it generally in my life, along with 'delighted listening.' Your book, 'The Storytelling Coach' has been very helpful. Along the way, I know I have benefited from some other storytellers who have obviously taken your workshops." - Mary Clark, NY

I have coached leading professional tellers, beginners, and nearly every kind of teller in between. Several of my coaching students have gone on to become professional coaches. I have even taught coaching and storytelling to public speakers, consultants, trainers, and corporate executives.

Jim Gregory photo"My personal experiences include many painful memories, including the deaths of my close friends at the hands of segregationists in Mississippi and Alabama during the 1960s.

"I never thought my civil rights stories would be worth much to anyone else, so Doug's unequivocal encouragement was key to helping me see that I had something special to offer, something that would transcend the pain and turn it into a triumph.

"Before Doug's coaching, I was filled with doubt, but now I am excited about taking this story out to the world!"

- Jim Gregory, performing storyteller, retired teacher. Miami, FL

"Doug Lipman has coached me for years. He is an incisive, creative, supportive teacher...a joy" - Jay O'Callahan, Marshfield, MA
"When my hand-picked crew of international coaches was about to begin a critical mission, I chose Doug Lipman to help train them further." - Cheryl deCiantis, Center for Creative Leadership, Brussels.
"As a seasoned professional speaker, I came to Doug's workshop wondering exactly how he could help me improve on stories I had already spent a lot of time crafting and fine-tuning. Doug opened my eyes to innumerous possibilities that I don't think I would have stumbled across on my own. Everyone needs a coach and Doug is a great one!" - Mari Pat Varga, Varga & Associates, Inc.

"You did such a great job coaching over the weekend; it was a treat to experience and witness." - Gerry Leader, Graduate School of Management, Boston University

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How to Get Coaching From Me

I am happy to coach you individually or as part of a group. Here are some forms of coaching and links to more information about each:

Individual Telephone Coaching

This is the quickest and easiest way to get coaching. Compared to travelling to a workshop, it is also the least expensive.

We can coach via:

  • Telephone;
  • Audio Skype (most economical for international calls outside of Canada and the U.S.);
  • Video Skype (allows us to see each other as we talk).

You can purchase an individual session or a bundle of sessions. Once you purchase coaching hours, I'll email you to set up a time at our mutual convenience. (If, for any reason, we can't find a mutual time that suits your deadline, I'll promptly refund your purchase.)

Read more here about the features that come with individual coaching, including the discounts for various bundles of coaching hours.

Or go to the order page for a bundle of coaching hours (or a single hour):

Click here to order - go to my store to view the coaching bundle catalog page

A Solo Coaching Intensive

A full day at my office in Marshfield, MA. Read more here.

Click here to go the order page for a solo coaching intensive.

Coaching Mini-Workshops

Four or five hours with three or four others. Come to me, or I'll come to you. Read more here.

Multi-Day Coaching Workshops

A weekend or long weekend of coaching. Each participant gets coached each full day. You learn as much by watching others get closer to their goals as you learn by being coached yourself! Come to me, or I'll come to you. (Bringing me to you just requires a total of 8 participants, including you, and a cat-free space for the workshop.) Read more here.

All the best,

Doug LIpman's signature

Doug

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Alternate Phone (rings the same line): (413) 754-6728
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This page was last updated on Friday, November 28, 2003
Copyright©2002 Doug Lipman