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The Coaches - Transforum

Catching up with Kelly Carlin

The Coaches

 The late comedian George Carlin’s daughter, a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach and Co-Active Leadership graduate, shares how her CTI training has impacted her life, work and relationship with her famous dad.
Q: How did you discover Co-Active Coaching?

A: On the Internet. I’d just gotten my masters in depth psychology and knew I wasn’t going for my license and didn’t want to be a therapist. I was looking for something to serve my training and expand my horizons. I worked with a coach before grad school so I knew about it. I signed up for Fundamentals. When I walked into the room, I thought, “Oh dear. This is really corporate. What have I gotten myself into?” But within three minutes of listening to one of the co-leaders, LA Reding, I was like “Oh my God. I’ve found my new home!”

Q: What did you find so compelling?

 A: There’s no B.S. There is tons of learning to be had. It’s scrumptious. What Karen and Henry did was take the best of what had been discovered and created through the human potential movement of the past 40 years and really integrate it in a sophisticated and accessible way. I have studied a lot of those systems myself. I really love the experiential learning of CTI courses, though. You get it in your bones right away. It was everything I loved without the dogma. It felt very clean. It’s in service of something bigger than itself.

Every course has some great gift to it. In Fulfillment, it was amazing to tap into one’s sense of possibility and spaciousness. Balance was the most mind-expanding, learning about perspective. Everything is a perspective. Try everything on for the sake of it. Such a freeing practice. I use it a lot with clients.

Q: So, you have a coaching practice?

A: I work mainly with creative people, especially writers.

Q: Comedy writers?

A: No, I’ve found it hard to work with them. They often seem to be projecting my father on to me. Like they want my approval or they’re trying to tap into some kind of genetic magic they think I have.  In the work I do with my clients, I see myself as someone who is there to help them wake up to their truth, not some truth they think I hold because I’m a Carlin.

Kelly with mom and dad

Q: Aside from coaching, how do you use what you learned in the training?

A: Leadership was huge for me. I learned so many skills and tools. I thought I was already good at “Creating from Self” because I was a solo artist, but experiencing the first retreat showed me that I was still very limited in that area.  It gave me back my birthright. I realized that I have an impact on the world just by showing up. I use one of the grounding tools I learned in Retreat 1 backstage before I go out and do a show when my nerves are so intense and I’m feeling the adrenaline. It makes me go right into my body and out of my head.

In Retreat 2, “Creating from Other”, I learned the importance of co-creating. The future of this planet depends on it. I’m trying to teach people in my community – artists, comedians and writers – about that and I’ve created the space for co-creation to happen. I have parties with live music where it’s an incredible co-creation between musicians, there’s no real band. It’s all improv and sing-a-long. It’s really powerful, like church. It’s an incredible experience, like an advanced Co-Active Leadership activity.

Q: What’s important about Co-Active?

A: Whether we know it or not, it’s happening in every moment. It’s about being conscious that everything is interdependent. Many people walk around thinking they’re separate and things happen to them. Or they can make things happen. It’s so much more of a dance. Dancing in the moment is a great metaphor. Kids should be learning the Co-Active Way in school. If that were so, boy, every segment of society could be different.

Q: Did George know about Co-Active?

A: He was alive when I went through all the training, but he did not know about the concept. Like many artists of his caliber, my dad was self-driven, OCD and worked at a level that was slightly narcissistic. But he really knew how to create from self.  Although, he rarely collaborated with people, personal one-on-one relationships were easy for him. On stage though, he was the captain of the ship – his way or the highway.

I finished Leadership in February of 2008 and he died in June. I don’t know how I would have survived the week following his death if not for Leadership. I was a wreck, there was so much to do and organize and the press! And yet, my higher self came forward and knew how to walk through that week even though I was a wreck. Leadership was in my DNA at that point and it held me and walked me through it until I had to deal with the deeper emotions.

George and Kelly

Q: Did George’s “lone wolf” approach affect you?

A: I was propelled towards the opposite – I craved connection. Growing up in the chaos of drug- and alcohol-addicted parents, where one has to read the environment to know what’s needed to survive, I became highly tuned to my intuition. But these days, I am looking to emulate the wisdom and power of the ‘lone wolf” approach through my art. I do believe that the voice of the “lone wolf” is an important one when so many in the culture are more willing to be sheep and just follow the herd. That was my dad’s biggest gift I feel – waking us up to big truth.

Q: What are your next goals?

A: I’m touring my solo show A Carlin Home Companion in 2012 and part of 2013. I’d love to have an interview show on TV or a bigger radio show on NPR. I’d like to be the next Charlie Rose!

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