How To Tell Your Story

Josh Dykes

We all know stories are powerful. Research by Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business suggests that stories activate parts of the brain associated with empathy and decision-making. The trick? Weaving client-centric narratives into your sessions. [J. Paul Zhang, Jessica Rippere, & Amitava Krishna (2010). Narrative empathy and decision making. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 107(1), 5-20*]

Speaking on stage, at events or on social media is now an EXPECTED way for you to meet your audience. Let’s face it

How do you expect people to buy into you if they don’t know who you are?

Josh Dykes – The SPEAKup Challenge

We have talked about the power of pubic speaking for coaching in previous blogs. However, this is a deeper dive into the Hero’s Journey.

Enter the Hero’s Journey, a storytelling framework found everywhere from Lord of the Rings to your favorite self-help book. We will breakdown some of the key steps to add into your stories to make them more captivating

1. Unearthing the Underlying Story

The hero’s journey starts not with a bang, but with a whimper. This first stage is all about establishing the ordinary world – the familiar space before the call to adventure disrupts everything. Here, you want to introduce yourself and what you did before starting your coaching or speaking journey (for example).

  • Who were you before coaching/speaking? Were you a baker content with a daily routine, a bored office worker yearning for excitement, or a young prince chafing at the restrictions of royalty? Show your audience your strengths, weaknesses, desires, and challenges at this time.

By the end of this stage, your audience should feel comfortable with the you and your world.

2. The Call to Adventure: Planting the Seed of Possibility

The Call to Adventure is the spark that ignites your journey. It’s the moment where your world is disrupted, propelling you towards something extraordinary. This disruption can take many forms:

  • A Threat: A challenging work environment, issues at home, mental health challenges, perhaps something within a relationship that makes you realise that you want to do something different.
  • A Dream or Vision: A dream sets the you on a quest. Perhaps you become inspired by someone else or hear their starting story, realising that this realtes to you and where you want to be.

The Call to Adventure should be a turning point. It forces you to confront your fears and consider a path you might not have chosen before. This disruption sets the stage for the hero’s internal struggle.

3. Trials and Tribulations

The Hero’s Journey isn’t a cakewalk. After venturing into the unknown, you likely faced a gauntlet of challenges. This is where the magic happens! Here’s how to craft those trials and tribulations:

Raise the Stakes: Start with smaller tests that foreshadow the bigger threats. Learning new skills, challenging limiting beliefs and overcomeing obstacles along the way. .

Challenge Their Core: Throw obstacles that force your hero to confront their deepest fears or flaws. What was your biggest challenge? Walk your audience through this challenge and lean into the vulnerability. This is what will build the connection.

Variety is Key: Don’t just throw physical battles at your hero. Weave in emotional turmoil, moral dilemmas, and puzzles that test their intelligence. The more diverse the challenges, the richer the journey. While telling a story with a range of challenges, you’re more likely to connect with your audiences situation which will increase relatability.

The hero’s journey isn’t smooth sailing. When your client faces a tough obstacle and emerges stronger, don’t downplay the struggle. Celebrate their grit and resilience. This reinforces their belief in themselves and fuels their motivation to keep moving forward.

4. Transformation.

Congratulations! You have battled through trials and emerged victorious. But hold on, the real magic happens next: the transformation. This is where you take the lessons learned, the scars earned, and becomes fundamentally different.

Think of it as a forge. You are battered but not broken, thrown into the fire. Here, you have confronted doubts and weaknesses exposed by the challenges they faced. Did you succumb to fear? Cling to old habits? No! This is where the transformation occurs.

Perhaps you (the hero), once reckless, learns the value of patience. Maybe a once prideful character discovers humility. This transformation can be internal (a shift in values) or external (acquiring a new skill). The key is to show, not tell. Let your hero’s actions demonstrate this newfound strength.

This transformation isn’t always sunshine and roses. It can be a moment of despair followed by a surge of determination. It can be a tearful goodbye to a part of themselves. Whatever it looks like, this forge is where your hero is truly hardened, ready to face the final leg of their journey – and return forever changed.

5. The Return. Sharing the Story of Transformation for others

It isn’t what happens that matters, it what you do with it. What messages did you learn away that you are now ready to teach your audience. This is often the stage where your teaching becomes a bit more direct.

I learned these 3 powerful things…

How is life now different as you reflect on this powerful journey. Think back to the first stage and how much you are now different. Is it a profound sense of self awareness or gratitude? Do you now speak to your audience from the stage? Are you now experienced and have helped a number of people with your coaching?

The Hero’s Journey is a powerful way to get your story out into the word. As a coach, you’re the person people often buy into, tell your story and that will build the connection you need.

Josh Dykes – The SPEAKup Challenge

If you’re ready to overcome your limiting beliefs and become a successful coach, I encourage you to attend one of our 1-Day Coaching Diplomas to start your coaching journey. For those who want more speaking support, here is the link to our speaking training. It’ll help you to develop a plan to achieve your goals and build a successful coaching business. You can also find our beginners guide to becoming a coach here.


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