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Stories for Life, Leaders and Teams™

Transformative Storytelling Experiences

Fairy tales can be enjoyed simply for the entertaining and curious tales they are, yet the naiveté with which they present universal human themes makes them a powerful tool for personal development.


Discover our growing suite of Transformative Storytelling Experiences.

“Spellbinding”***** “Inspirational”***** “Empowering”*****

“Energising”***** “Brilliant”*****

Participant feedback

Stories for Life

Transformative Storytelling for Wellbeing

1-hour Workshop


As a live Storyteller Cara guides participants through a series of mindfulness and coaching techniques to unfold the wisdom potential of the story, facilitating transformative behaviour through renewed awareness of the choices available in our own unfolding stories.


Cara works with a range of stories from different cultures lending themselves to a variety of wellbeing themes including resilience, self-talk and our narratives, gratitude, moving beyond comfort zones, approaching change with curiosity, celebrating differences, the power of purpose, and the courage of vulnerability. 


Wellbeing session overview

Participants will be guided through several experiential techniques, which may include:

  • Forming a personal inquiry on an issue that would benefit from greater awareness, clarity and courage.
  • Deep listening and a mindfulness exercise to connect with feelings and thoughts.
  • Guided visualisation drawing on imagery within the story, to discover resources and gifts that support awareness and choice-making.
  • Individual reflection time to connect more deeply with intuition and values.
  • Reflection on coaching questions drawn from the archetypes in the story (e.g., the ‘old king’ represents the energy that provokes positive change, often in unwelcome ways. Participants may reflect on times when people or situations have pushed them out of their limiting beliefs or comfort zones).



If there is good psychological safety among participants, e.g., a team or leadership development cohort, we may include paired coaching conversations to provide support and challenge on a development or leadership issue. 

Stories for Wellbeing

The rich symbolism, metaphor and archetypal images within fairy tales may help to make meaning of the struggles and choices we face in our own lives. As we work with the story, the story works on us, disarming our defences, unlocking our creative and intuitive capacities, and releasing awareness, clarity and courage to act.


The Stories for Life Wellbeing Workshop is part of the Stories for Life, Leaders and Teams™ suite of transformational storytelling experiences. Download the Workshop PDF.

“I just want to say how amazing this afternoon’s session was, it made me feel very calm and balanced going into the evening.”

Stacey Lane, Retention Manager, NHS London Region

Once Upon A Team™

Transformative Storytelling for Team Development

Half-Day Workshop


Facilitated by Storyteller and Team Coach Cara McCarthy, this half-day workshop offers a unique and transformative experience to accelerate team development. Cara delivers a live virtual storytelling performance, bypassing cognitive thinking patterns to facilitate transformative behaviour through renewed awareness.


Translating the archetypal and symbolic potential of the story to the needs of the team, Cara guides your team through a series of fun ‘unfolding’ techniques to unlock your team’s collective awareness, creativity and commitment to action.


This session will help your team to:

  1. Get to know each other better and build trust – the foundation of team performance.
  2. Discover diverse perspectives, strengths and resources available within the team to achieve team goals and build morale and confidence.
  3. Design your ‘team alliance’ for how you want to work together and commit to building the team culture that will help you succeed in achieving your priorities.


Your team will engage in several experiential techniques including:

  • Deep listening and a mindfulness exercise.
  • Reflection time to support personal sense-making and strengthen individual 'voice'.
  • Pairs/trios respond to team coaching questions provoked by the story – building psychological safety and connections between team members.
  • Facilitated team conversations to explore diverse perspectives on how to succeed and work together as a cohesive and purposeful collective.
  • Methods are enjoyable, ensure everyone can be heard, and support meaningful dialogue about issues that detract from or enhance collective performance.

Stories for Teams

Though deceptively simple, fairy tales are rich with symbolism, metaphor and archetypal images that may help teams to make meaning of the challenges they face, define their goals and discover resources to achieve them as a cohesive unit. They have much to teach teams about navigating change and ambiguity and remaining resilient through uncertain times. They offer insights about pooling skills and resources to succeed against the odds and the power of purpose, curiosity, empathy, humility and courage.


The Once Upon a Team™ Team Development Workshop is part of the Stories for Life, Leaders and Teams™ suite of transformational storytelling experiences. Download the Workshop PDF.

“Once upon a time there was a wise coach. She remembered what many of us have forgotten - namely the power and learning in listening to stories. I recommend Cara wholeheartedly for anyone wanting a refreshing way to engage with a team and to explore archetypes. Thank you, Cara, there was some magic in that session.” 

Karen Smart, Head of Consultancy with the AoEC


Introducing Your Storyteller-Coach:

Cara McCarthy


After a lengthy career in the City of London, Cara followed her love of stories to the School of Storytelling at Emerson College where she trained as a storyteller. Unfolding the archetypal and symbolic potential of fairy tales, Cara holds transformative storytelling spaces that empower people, leaders and teams to unlock their creative and intuitive capacities, unleashing awareness, inspiration and action.



Cara is a leadership coach, systemic team coach and an Organisation Development specialist. Prior to setting up DesertSpring Consulting, Cara was Head of Organisation Development, Culture and Talent at M&G Investments, a top UK and European investment firm.

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“This has been exactly what I needed, and I had no idea that I did! Thank you so much.”

NHS participant, International Women’s Day Conference 2021

If you'd like to discuss your transformative storytelling session please get in touch!


To explore how we can help your business thrive, visit

Desertspring.org.uk


Organisation Development | Team Development | Executive Coaching

DesertSpring Consulting | caramccarthy@desertspring.org.uk | www.desertspring.org.uk