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Bardic-Coachg-art - 3/22/08


"Bardic Coaching and Networking" by THL Thomas Whitehart, aka True Thomas the Storyteller.


NOTE: See also the files: Bardic-Guide-art, bardic-msg, Entrtng-n-SCA-art, storytelling-art, Tales-o-Teror-art, Jestrs-Mumrs-lnks, Hornbook-art, Fyrecrawling-art.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



Find more of this author's articles and links on his webpage:



Bardic Coaching and Networking

Bardic Collegium, 2007

by THL Thomas Whitehart


Some thoughts on our art, and the importance of coaching.


In the SCA, we have many art forms. Scribes can examine ancient scrolls.  Smiths can take artifacts and analyze them with a variety of technologies. Performing artists can look at older instruments, and examine music, and manuscripts that go centuries back. But what we can't capture is the actual essence- the style, relevancy, tonality, metalanguage, of those ancient performances. We can guess or approximate, but generally we go by what we think works- what entertains and enlightens.  


If we look at the bards and performers of old, we see some pretty dramatic differences in how they saw the arts.  All performances were live. Music, storytelling, singing were a part of everyday life. It was the only entertainment available to the masses, and it was part of their work, play, and spiritual life. It was interactive.  


Today, most of us don't have the communal arts experience. Which is probably one of the reasons many of us truly enjoy the SCA. It brings us back for a chance to share these things.  But those performers of old also had some things most of us do not have today.  Mentoring, Apprenticeships, and probably a lot more time, free of distractions, and lots of willing audiences.  


So a performer in the SCA is facing some interesting obstacles. How do we tune in on something we can only surmise about, without many of the resources of that time, and also keep it relevant to a modern audience?


Well, that is really were the Creative part of the being in the SCA comes in. We need to develop other resources. Certainly there are a lot of options, like schools, and media we can avail our selves of.


But one of the most important ones, I see little of . Coaching and Networking.  In this class, we will focus on some coaching techniques, designed to help each other offer something truly valuable to an artist. Perspective. While an artist can be many things, having a viewpoint outside our own, an audience with whom to try new things, and a peer who can help us refine our work- is a truly magical thing.


First, I need to point out, that there are many styles of coaching, and these are some techniques that I have had the opportunity to be a part of. I've borrowed liberally from a variety of sources and classes I've been a part of.  Standing on the shoulders of giants, yet again.



Power PhrasesÉ.


Go where the thinking takes youÉÉwhat will I create today?.....É.create a positive obsessionÉ..I will create in the middle of thingsÉÉ..Suit up and Show upÉÉDon't snivelÉÉ.Cultivate PassionÉÉConcern creates mental energyÉÉ.making mistakes is part of the processÉÉ

Accept your creativityÉÉWhat is in your mind is more important than what you are doing. Jot it down!....... Creation can be hard work. I am down for thatÉÉmy life mattersÉ..I am going to make meaningÉÉ..



Sometimes the act of creation is the journey, and the journey IS the creation- TT



Before we look at coaching another person, there are some things we should consider


Coaching is a very important job.  A coach is somebody who is part of a team,  a person who is invested in everyone winning.  The best kind of coach is one who helps you refine, and find the truth of your performance. What makes it uniquely yours, and helps you get the best response.


Here are some guidelines


1.      Understand the rules, creating trust and respect.

a.     The Performer is in control. Honor their goals

b.     Don't discuss sessions, out of session, without permission

c.     If they seem hesitant, don't press. There are hundred ways to a goal

d.     It is always better for the artist to find and own their piece.

e.     Create a secure and safe environment.


2.      Understand the role of the coach, and the performer.

a.     The coach is the advocate for the art within.

b.     It is the coach's job to reflect what is working, and what is new, and working.

c.     Provide a safe environment


             The performer should

d.     Believe in what they are doing (it's okay to not know specifically though)

e.     Allow the sacred space to be filled.

f.      Create their next goal.

g.     Ask themselves what they want from the coach.

h.     Be honest.


3.      Understanding the creative Coaching process;  The Session

First- don't rush the checking in process.


  1. Listening
  2. Appreciations
  3. Suggestions
  4. Goals


Don't forget to ground afterwards!


There are different dynamics in the coaching process, depending on how many people are involved. A group is going to be different than one on one, which is going to be different from a phone conference, and so on.



Do Not Interrupt.

Do Not Give Advice

Do Not finish sentences

Do Not advise them to be realistic.

Do not "I liked your piece BUT"



Do Give them Praise

Do Give them Time

Do ask Questions, but not too specific.

Do absorb the Praise


For the purpose of this class, we will explore the dynamics of  two styles.

A one on one coaching, and a group coaching class.


First, lets look at doing some self coaching.

Second, we will look at some group coaching

Third we will look at one on one.


Exercise one-

Two Chairs.

Take two chairs, and lable one the performer, and the other the coach.  Then, as a coach, ask yourself about a piece you are working on.  Switch chairs, Now, respond. Follow up with the next question.


It's interesting just how good we can be at finding our own inner mentor!


So what are the tools of the Coach?


Active listening:  Great Power!

Listen with your eyes (Physicality, compassion, intellect, dialectic reasoning)

Listen with your ears (Tonality, Pacing,

Listen with your body (breathing, metalanguage)


Exercise one: Three types of listening


The appreciation.

Praise is one of the most powerful tools in life.

(Anyone can find faults.  Finding truth, and beauty, is true art)

Praise- It must be honest, and it must respond to their needs!

You can-

Thank them for the effect it had on you

Thank them for their intention

Thank them for the telling.


Appreciations Global vs Specific


Appreciations re; Object, the Performer, the Effect

Object: What an intriguing ghost story, I've never heardÉ..

Performer: I absolutely loved the way you became the little kidÉ..

Effect: It reminded me of my motherÉI felt at home,  safeÉ..


The suggestion:

The power of Questions

" I think you are on to something"

"Is there any wayÉ"


The Reflection- "This was my reaction to what you did"


Finding Sacred Space: Letting it come.


What are the tools of the Performer?


Getting input:

Know what phase you are in- "save the baby"

Do you want suggestions? Appreciations? Nitty Gritty?

Know who to go to for what.


Directing the coaching;

Take a negative and turn it to the positive, and get them to affirm it.


Setting your own goals.


Allowing for Sacred Space




One of the ironies of the modern age, is we are surrounded by incredible tools for communication, but often don't communicate in ways that can help us most.


How many in this class, practice their craft, every month? Every week? Every day?


How many of you have a person you feel comfortable sharing a brand new piece with?


How many of you have a person you go to for:

The nitty gritty of real world performance issues?

A sounding post




How many of you offer the same to someone else?


Yet in the SCA we are surrounded by hundreds of incredibly smart, creative people. With hundreds of years of life experience, and skills.  One of the best things as artists we can do, is reach out. And find those resources, and provide others resources.  Here are some tips for networking.


Know what you want, and what you have to offer!


Go forth and meet people.  After you get acquainted, tell them about some of the projects you are working on. Ask them about theirs.  Before you walk away, always get their contact info if possible. Carry a small notebook to jot things down, and if possible, make an SCA personae cardÉwith your SCA contact info on one side, and real world info on the back.


Now What?


When you get home, sit down and write down notes about who and what you discussed. And send a friendly e-mail. Make a note to follow up, or meet them at another event.


But if you are looking for a variety of coach's, potential fellow performers, etc, it is important to put yourself out there. Realize that you will get different things from different people. And that if you want something, you need to offer it as well.


When you get a chance,

Write down a list of all the people who you work with, and people whom you would like to work with.  Now, how do you go about setting up a scheduled event?  Face to Face? E-Mail? Phone Conference?  


What real-world tools do you have at your disposal?

Non-SCA classes and events?

Non-SCA groups and hobby-iests

MySpace, LiveJournal, Craigslist

Whom do you have as advocates. Can you ask them to keep an eye out?



Meaning = Truth       Passion = Energy     Purpose = Creation


Created for Bardic Collegium 2007

THL Thomas Whitehart

Aka True Thomas the Storyteller


A Place for your notes













Copyright 2008 by True Thomas, 663 Fowler Ave., Newbury Park, CA 91320. <Truethomas (at) sbcglobal.net>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited. Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org