Leadership coaching

I specialize in the application of narrative as a leadership tool and medium for personal growth, connection, and change.

There is power in deeply knowing and confidently expressing your story. Through one-on-one coaching, I help individuals develop executive presence and influence, high impact communications, emotional intelligence, and personal effectiveness. With a strong background in executive assessment, I also work from a foundation of insight-oriented feedback that can support an informed development and action plan. I have worked with executives in both profit and non-profit organizations with a focus on medical and educational institutions, and a specialty in women’s leadership development.

Storytelling Coaching

Having worked as a professional storyteller since 2000, I have spent years honing the skills of story development and delivery. With a specialty in personal stories, I meld a background in theatre, psychology, literature and public speaking to guide clients in discovering, evolving and delivering their stories to the delight and satisfaction of both themselves and their audiences. Storytelling coaching is available for individuals, groups or teams.


Story can be a change agent to develop insight and connection, becoming a platform for individuals, teams, or organizations to move forward from a stronger, more self-aware, and intentional place. Whether working in profit or non-profit organizations, with CEOs or guests in a shelter, I strive to bring participants to a profound understanding of what story is, why it is important, and how to use it intentionally to change people’s lives.

All workshops are highly interactive and experiential, engaging participants to learn about themselves as they learn about story. Read on to learn more about sample themes for both workshops or keynotes.


This graphic illustration of the intersection of storytelling, leadership and culture was created by artist Kelvy Bird of Dpict who captured my talk given at a conference sponsored by Harvard Business Publishing.

Leading with Story: Maximizing Your Presence and Influence

Effective leaders have the ability to engage and motivate their staff, articulate the current challenges and opportunities of the organization and imagine future initiatives that will inspire others to follow. Whether your goal is to establish leadership presence, articulate a vision, initiate a change, story is the catalyst. In these highly interactive workshops, Lani facilitates an introduction for groups of any size to the role of storytelling in organizations. Workshops are customized to address your team or organization’s and may focus on:

  • STORY CONCEPTS: An overview of story as a tool for insight, connection and influence, including:
    • Story and its impact on the brain,
    • Story and its relationship to emotional intelligence,
    • Storytelling and story listening as essential communication tools to educate, influence and entertain.
    • Building, aligning, or shifting organizational culture through story.

  • STORY STRUCTURE: The basics of developing and delivering the right story for organizational influence and inspiration, including:
    • Formulating high impact stories that address the goal and engage the intended audience.
    • Communicating one’s evolving vision and mission to engage and inspire stakeholders.

  • STORY CONTENT: Uncovering your staff’s personal leadership stories, exploring themes like:
    • What is the leadership journey that led team members to this role in this career in this organization at this time?
    • What are the underlying values and beliefs that fuel their personal mission?

  • POWERPOINT ESSENTIALS: Even the best presenters can lose their audience if the accompanying PowerPoint is overburdened with script and complicated graphs. Putting together a strong PowerPoint or support materials to accompany a presentation is as much of an art as a science. The workshop will cover the essentials.

Pitching Science: Bringing scientific data alive through the story that it tells

Exciting innovations in the world of science are occurring daily. Scientists assume everyone sees the possibilities in the data with the same understanding and excitement that they do. Unfortunately, conveying the potential impact of these discoveries too often falls short of the mark.

When the goal is to inspire others to invest their time, money or commitment, scientists need to ensure that their pitch has maximum impact. The data is not the message. It takes translating the data into a story that can inspire others. Through integrating story techniques, Lani works with individuals or groups to transform their data into a story that not only engages audiences of all levels but inspires while it informs. Customized to meet your team or organizational needs, focus can be on:

  • Applying story structure
  • Developing your most important message
  • Translating data into story format
  • Matching your message to your audience
  • Creating your elevator speech
  • Delivering the story for maximum influence and inspiration whether face to face or virtually

The Self-Aware Leader: Developing Emotional Intelligence through Story

Emotional intelligence is recognized as an essential leadership skill, but its translation into action often requires focused attention. Brain science informs us of story’s role in categorizing and making meaning of the experiences that form the foundation of our EQ. Exploring their foundational stories can help leaders to gain insight into what motivates, sustains, challenges, and inspires them. Working within deepened clarity, leaders know what to tell to reach the right people at the right time for the right reason. Whether your role is as co-worker, manager, colleague or spouse, the connections between story and your E.Q. (Emotional Quotient) will help translate theory into action.

From Re-Membering to Renewal: Harnessing the Healing Power of Story


Some of our defining stories are sustaining narratives, providing the perspective, clarity and courage to carry us where we want to go; others become constraining stories, filled with messages that keep us paralyzed, anxious, or self-limited. Understand what leads a story to become thin or constraining and how to shift it towards a thicker story that sustains, motivates, and empowers.

Story as a Tool for Social Change

I develop customized workshops to help both individuals and nonprofit organizations find and share the stories which break down barriers and build understanding across groups, cultures and communities. I have been an ongoing developer and facilitator of the Public Voice Project through the City Mission Boston. As previously unheard voices share their stories of homelessness, incarceration, poverty, and violence in public forums, there is greater insight, understanding, and motivation towards social action for both tellers and their community of listeners.

Your Enduring Legacy

Through increasing awareness of the underlying stories that have shaped your values, influenced your behavior, and informed your actions, you can begin authoring the future stories that you would like to be told one day about you. Listen below for an interview with Purposeful Planning Institute on:

Story as a Pathway to the Soul

For ministers and religious educators, how to understand, evolve and deliver the guiding stories that emanate from our rich traditions, bridging our understanding of both who we are and who we can be.



Storytelling performances and workshops can be customized for audiences around themes appropriate to the size and focus of your group. See some clips from the storytelling sampler to experience what can happen!


More than ever, communications, including presentations, workshops, and conferences are moving to virtual platforms, demanding different ways of organizing, designing, and delivering influential messages. Learn to use virtual to your advantage, demonstrating your ability to deliver with impact on all platforms.

  • Think through set up and backdrop for integrated messaging
  • Use body language, stance, and hand movement to accentuate your delivery
  • Modulate Energy and articulation to ensure connection
  • Integrate story skills to maximize engagement and understanding
  • Create powerful slides and effective support materials to support, not detract from your most important messages.