Most of you probably don't know that I'm a huge opera buff. It's kind of scary to say that I've been listening to, going to and loving opera for almost 50 years now. So, last week I went to an HD showing at a local movie theater of the 2 one-act operas Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci performed at La Scala in Milan.

Pagliacci is a quintessential play within a play. It can be a little tricky to decide whether what we see unfolding on stage is an example of art mimicking life...or perhaps it's life imitating art. So how does this theatrical device relate to coaching, you ask?

Much of coaching is about the story within the story.

Clients usually come to coaching sessions with some type of story: an incident, issue, perhaps a current challenge. And it's easy to get distracted by the story-du-jour and lose sight of the context. What about this story is important to the client? Why? How does this incident relate to what's most meaningful to this person? How is this story a microcosm of the macrocosm, a detail that foreshadows truths in the client's life at home, work or at play?

What helps you to look beyond the story for the message? How do we help ourselves do that? Please share you thoughts so we can all learn from one another.