For the past 8 months I’ve been learning to be a coach. In order to support the people they work with, coaches help their clients tap into a wealth of resources that they, the clients, have within themselves. These include their values, their motivations, their past successes, and their life lessons.
One way of categorizing some of these resources is what the Coaches Training Institute (the program I’m enrolled in) call “The Captain and Crew.” In this model people envision their Inner Leader- their Captain- as well as the different supporting inner perspectives that are the Crew members. By connecting with these resources clients can uncover treasure troves of how they’ve lived their lives that helps them craft the actions they wish to take in order to have even more fulfilling, purposeful lives.
I’m a musical person. I love to listen to almost all kinds of music- it relaxes me, motivates me, and often puts me in a particular mental framework that helps me accomplish whatever I’m trying to do at that time. And, as a child of the 60’s/70’s, I’m a rocker at heart. Recently I created a playlist of songs that I’m finding to be amazingly powerful for me. Each song connects me to a particular member of my own Captain/Crew team, whether it is by the lyrics, the title, the spirit of the music, or anything else. As I listen to the songs I feel the energy from each of these perspectives flow through me. Please allow me to introduce you to my Captain and Crew and the songs that, for me, capture who they are and the resources they have to support me through my life’s journey.
The Captain: “Surf’s Up” by The Beach Boys. My Captain is Mike, a guy in a Tommy Bahama shirt and shorts striding confidently toward me along the seashore. He brings with him a sense of wisdom, confidence, clarity, and certainty regarding how I can live my life according to my own priorities. As I listen to this song I feel myself at the beach and at peace. I find the melody and harmonies to be quite beautiful. To be honest, lots of the words don’t make much sense to me, but “Surf’s Up, aboard a tidal wave, come about hard and join the young and often spring you gave..” gives me a sense of something big happening and I’m a part of it.
The Listener: “Listen to the Music”by the Doobie Brothers. This perspective brings me to the value of being still and fully listening with my whole self. The song is about how listening to the music can connect people to joy and meaning. And I love the tune, the beat- it makes me smile.
Quinn, The Jubilant One: “Walking on Sunshine,” by Katrina and the Waves. I added this Crew member to the model myself. I typically project myself as being pretty serious and this has worked well for me through my life. AND, sometimes, life calls for being joyful, playful, JUBILANT. The person in my life who embodies these qualities more than anyone is my 3 year-old granddaughter, Quinn. When I think of her I sense dance, play, laughter, the joy of living. This song is the most jubilant one I could think of. The words mean little to me except for the title image of “Walking on Sunshine,” which embodies the light, gleeful sensation I’m looking to feel here.
The Intuitive One: “Trust Yourself,” by Bob Dylan. This Crew member helps me access my instincts, what I feel in my soul is the right thing to do/say in the moment. The lyrics are what bring this song to my playlist. “Trust yourself to do the things that only you know best…to do what’s right and not be second-guessed…to know the way that will prove true in the end…to find the path where there is no if and when…”
The Werewolf / The Howler: “Werewolves of London,” by Warren Zevon. I added this Crew member too. Just like every now and then I need to push myself to be more jubilant, I also need to allow myself to howl sometimes. Howling is about being bold, unexpected, cocky, and a bit crazy. As I hear the opening bars of this song I feel my shoulders go back as I stand up straight and begin to stride confidently. I’m “Walking with the Queen, doing the Werewolf of London” and “my hair is perfect.” AWOOOOOOH!
The One Who Forwards the Action and Deepens the Learning: “I’ve Had Enough,” by The Who. This role is about keeping things moving and ensuring lessons are being learned and remembered. I’ve always been a huge fan of The Who. This song from Quadropheniais about the protagonist being at a crossroad, ready to do something different. The opening lyric is especially powerful for me and, I think, has much to do with what many coaching clients bring as a challenge in their lives: “You were under the impression, that when you were walking forwards, you’d end up further onward, but things ain’t quite that simple…” No, they’re not- which is why action and learning is needed.
The Self Manager: “Respect Yourself,” by the Staple Singers. This role is about knowing oneself and maintaining balance and integrity. “If you don’t respect yourself ain’t nobody gonna give a good cahoot.” And this song has real soul, which never hurts….
The Modulator: “Shout,” by the Isley Brothers. I added this Crew member as well. This is to remind myself that, by modulating my tone, my volume, my vocal rhythm, I can invoke very different feelings, and these can lead to different ideas and actions. “A little bit softer now, a little bit softer now, a little bit louder now, a little bit louder now…”
The Curious One: “Learning to Fly,” by Pink Floyd. This Crew member encourages us to be deeply curious as we explore all of what life has to offer. This is one of my favorite Pink Floyd songs. It kind of makes me feel like I’m marching into the unknown. And this lyric really speaks to me: “A soul in tension that’s learning to fly, condition grounded but determined to try, can’t keep my eyes from the circling skies, tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I…”
The Buffoon/The Anti-Expert: “I Don’t Know,” by The Beastie Boys. I added this Crew member too. For much of my career being an expert was a valuable asset. As I’ve focused on being a change agent, including my current role as a Coach, I realize that being an expert can impede the change being pursued. The more I can “play the buffoon,” believing with true sincerity that I do not have the answers, the more I can help the people with whom I’m working find the actions that work for them. “It’s not so simple as I try to wish, but then again what is? I don’t know, who does know?”
The Appreciator: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” by The Rolling Stones. This final Crew member is about appreciating all that takes place in life, good/bad/otherwise, for what it is, what it means, and without judgment. I love just about everything about this song: the melody, the harmonies from the choir, the almost spiritual quality to it as one chord builds on another as it nears the end, and the sentiment that, even if we can’t get what we want, we get what we need.
So that’s my Captain/Crew and their playlist. Even just writing this piece about them connects me to their energy and support. I’ve found these resources to be particularly useful for me as I support my clients as a Coach. If I can use my full self with my clients I can be an even more effective Coach. I’m modeling behaviors that may be useful for them. I’m bringing all of my resources to the relationship, and, by doing so, helping my clients tap into the wealth of resources they have within them.