The Hero and the Guide

Because we are Verizon Wireless customers, we were able to subscribe free for one year to the new Disney+ movie channel. It not only has all the recent Disney movies the grandkids love, like Frozen and Moana, but also the ones I remember as a kid, like Cinderella and Lady and The Tramp. In addition, it owns Pixar, National Geographic, Marvel, and the entire Star Wars Empire.

I loved the Star Wars movies when they came out back in the late 70’s but lost interest a few years later when I began raising two small boys and started my career. Now, we’ve been reintroduced to a whole new line of stories in the Star Wars saga. And I must say, for the most part, it’s a fun, well-told story where the good guys always seem to triumph over the Dark Side in the end.

Disney knows the magic we love. The settings and characters are different, but the storylines are often the same: A character faces a challenge and experiences a crisis of confidence or skill. A guide appears to help the character discover a truth that gives him what he needs to ultimately triumph over the challenge and emerge as the hero. Think Karate Kid and Mr. Miyagi. Katniss and Haymitch. Mr. Banks and Mary Poppins. Luke Skywalker and Yoda. The hero and the guide.

This reminded me of a business communication lesson I learned a few years ago at a StoryBrand workshop by Don Miller: In your business communications, you shouldn’t be the hero to your customers but rather the guide who helps them become the hero in their own story.

At LionSpeak, our SuperStar Telephone Training Program is booming. People tell us it’s because we have a very unique way of bringing out the best in professionals on the frontline of a practice or business and helping them to expertly guide their patients and clients toward an outcome they love.

For example, in a recent coaching session with a large dental team in the Northeast, we were reviewing their calls and noticed they were doing a much better job this quarter than the last on proactively and appropriately promoting their doctor and practice to potential new patients on the telephone. However, to get to the next level of skill, these administrators would have to turn the promotion of the practice into the ability to showcase the practice strengths as the way for the patients to get what they want and to feel great about their decision. In other words, we needed to help them shift from being the hero in their practice’s story to becoming the expert guide who helps the clients become the hero in their own story.

Compare the two statements below. They are essentially the same in content but radically different in context.
“We are really good at implants and cosmetic dentistry. Dr. Jones has a lot of advanced training, and we are known all over lower Manhattan for the quality of our work.”

“Mrs. Smith, based on what you’ve shared, you’ve definitely called the right place. It’s a big decision to have implants and cosmetic dentistry done, and you want to be certain you have a skilled and experienced dentist whom you can trust to do a great job. Dr. Jones is highly trained and exceptionally skilled with implants and cosmetic dentistry. You can feel confident about the care you’ll receive here, and I’m positive we can restore your smile in a way that will make you so happy you chose our practice.”

The first is all about the skills of the business and, while that’s better than no promotion at all, it’s basically a list of accomplishments and strengths. The second version expounds upon how those same skills can help the patient and allow the patient to feel like the hero in their own story by making a great decision.

There is a reason that clients reach out to us. Something is wrong, missing, broken, embarrassing, unhealthy, or seems hard or unsuccessful. When we help them imagine themselves in a story where their decision to choose us fixed the problem, filled the gap, restored health, made the hard seem easy and brought them long-awaited success… they love us, do business with us and refer more business our way. Not because we’re great but because we help them to be great. Become your clients’ guide and help make them the hero of the story.

Call us here at LionSpeak if you’d like to help your folks shine big and bright this year. They can be outstanding team members, exceptional managers, terrific with customers, and brilliant business builders. We love watching people become SuperStars and seeing their businesses and careers thrive because of it! And, we’d be honored to be your guide.

May the force be with you.


“Hard times don’t create heroes. It’s during the hard times when the ‘hero’ within us is revealed.”
~~Bob Riley