What did these coaches have in common that so impressed me?
First, each coach, who also happens to hold a board position for his or her local coaching organization, told their story. Storytelling is a powerful vehicle for communicating a message. It engages your audience (like any hero’s journey) and often touches not only the mind, but also the heart and soul. The coaches from Saudi Arabia and China told stories that were deeply personal, and ones that also inspired a larger message: one related to shining our own light to bring our best to the world, and another about testing our limits.
Second, they were both authentic and used metaphor to strengthen their message. One coach used candles to symbolize igniting a spark (letting your light shine), and the powerful symbol of one’s light being extinguished. The other coach painted a picture of her internal experience as she sat through the day. She described her intention of purposefully moving out of her comfort zone by moving from the back of the conference hall, to the front row, and finally to the stage. The result exceeded her expectations when her remarks were met by a standing ovation.
Third, each had an intention for how they wanted to impact the audience, and they let that intention guide their actions to achieve their desired result. For the coach from China, her intention was to share her message of bravery, courage, and possibility. I had spent the prior evening dancing with this coach and she told me that in China, adults don’t often dance. She changed that story when she stepped out of tradition by dancing; her next day presentation from the stage made total sense to me as she had already begun to step out of her comfort zone.
What stories are you telling? How are you letting your light shine? When is the last time that you stepped out of your comfort zone, only to exceed your own sense of limits?