Charles McFarland is a well-established business and executive coach who works with C-suite management and future leaders, sales teams and internal departments, to hone their effectiveness through a unique, award-winning theatre-based approach.
Charles draws on his extensive creative and executive development background in classical and modern theatre to offer businesses and business leaders a unique and effective approach to leadership, management and sales.
Hi! You’re hearing a lot these days about storytelling in marketing and also in the culture of growing companies and organizations. After all, messaging delivered as story is twenty-two times more memorable (says Forbes).
My entire career has been focused on “the most important person in the story” – the audience or, literally, the hearer. First, in the world of theatre and now in communications inside and outside business.
Having grown up (of Canadian parents) in Stratford-on-Avon, UK (yes, I went to the same school as William Shakespeare), I went up to the University of Cambridge fully intending to become an actor – one of the people responsible for playing stories.
However, quite soon I was asked to direct a piece to go up to the National Student Drama Festival (it won best short play) and the die was cast: I was to make my career as a director – the leader responsible for bringing the story “from page to stage” and for connecting audiences with it, every night of the show’s run.
Do you see the parallel? We are, all of us in business, storytellers in three dimensions: first, we create a script (and often businesses stop there); next, we put the story on its feet (we give it the means to play out to its public), and third, most important of all, we share it with the buyer, who tells us what story they’re hearing, and that’s the real story.
Ottawa Shakespeare Company, Henry V, Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre 2010
Over sixty shows later … at theatres big, medium and small …..some of them award-winning ….framed by a number of executive positions, at the Canada Council for the Arts, various theatre companies and city performing arts centres …..
On into the business world, and the same guiding principles: accessing the creativity in any business or company’s story-crafting is going to get its messaging way below the surface of stating a value proposition from a place of intention and into the real depth of the iceberg’s mass, where true values and purpose can be revealed.
In developing a next generation of leaders, the solution (and the tools to build their books of business) is to create a culture of celebrating success stories and inviting those leaders in to co-create the organization’s next story, together, in collaboration.
And in the world of marketing strategy and sales, it’s the story the audience reflects back to the teller that answers the next customer’s question, which is “Why should I choose you?”
In consulting and coaching, the real rewards are the same as in producing theatre: guiding creators and performers (you) to realizing their untapped potential and watching them take their shows onstage and wowing their audiences.
A list of accomplishments Charles has achieved
Led the capital campaign to raise $6 million to name and construct the base building of Ottawa’s Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre
Directed productions at Ottawa’s Great Canadian Theatre Company which have won several Capital Critics Circle awards
Served as President of the Canadian Arts Presenting Association
Co-founded the Ottawa Shakespeare Company
Directed at the Stratford Festival and was the Canadian Opera Company’s first Ensemble stage director;
Chaired the Ottawa’s Mayor’s Panel on Business and the Arts.