A Coaching Power Tool Created by Adefolake Okunubi
(Life Coach, NIGERIA)
Are you living On Key or Off Key?
Think about the last piece of music you heard and enjoyed? Chances were that the notes were in harmony and the melody was pleasant to you.
On the other hand, have you ever listened to music which had off-key notes? How did it sound? How did you, the listener, feel? Did it make you want to cover your ears to make the music stop? Be a little patient in the hope that the musician would soon correct the error?
Listening to music that has discordant notes isn’t a pleasant experience, it is much more soothing & enjoyable to listen to music that is in harmony, with all the notes in place. Harmony comes when all the instruments play their parts and do that well, rather than to attempt to be an instrument that they’re not.
The Collins online Dictionary defines ‘On Key’ as (a) in the right key (b) in tune. It defines off key as (a) not in the correct key (b) out of tune. It goes on to say “When music is off-key, it is not in tune”
In life, we have the choice to be in harmony, by living up to our strengths and existing in possibility. Living a life where we’re ‘playing in harmony’ by utilizing our strengths, talents and abilities is a beautiful thing to watch/ ‘listen to’ and the opposite is also true. When we’re living ‘off key’ from our natural talents and abilities – it becomes a bit of a struggle.
People coming to Coaching have decided to live in harmony, to find their melody/tune. Finding the right melody is very important. What is your tune? What gives your life harmony and melody?
Sometimes, there’s just a discordant note that needed to be identified and ‘fixed’, sometimes it’s a whole verse. Whichever it is, the client has identified that he would like to be ‘On Key’ and comes to the Coach for support with this process.
People who are off key are typically not living to their full potential of being their ‘best self’ – they could feel indecisive, lacking self-esteem& confidence, under-performing. On the other hand, individuals living on key are described as (and feel) charismatic, confident, go-getters, result oriented, resourceful and typically people are drawn to them.
Living On Key – A case study
Have you watched the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical ‘The Sound of Music’? The film is about a Widower and his 7 children who had been living a stern, disciplined and slightly humorless life. The father (Captain Von Trapp) hires a nun (Maria) who reintroduces music into the family and, together with love and patience; brings joy, humor and life back to the family.
This can be viewed as an example of a family which went from living ‘Off Key’ to living ‘On key’ with the help of someone whom I can loosely term as a ‘Coach’ – Maria. She supports them in identifying their Musical talents and using them. This strengthens and knits them, leading them to rediscover their love, joy and become a real family again. With this strength and family unity, they are able to flee the ugliness of the war to a new life as Captain Von Trapp decides against joining the German Navy.
In Act II, the family which just recently discovered their talents in singing are bold enough to sing in public at a musical festival, they even go on to win!
Discovering our talents and living a life that is ‘On Key’, gives us boldness to do that which we were novices at.
Our clients typically come to us with a problem/area/or issue they want to work on. As Coaches, we typically find that what the Client initially comes to Coaching with isn’t the real issue. As we gently probe and surface the underlying issues, we’re also checking if the Client is ‘On Key’ or ‘Off Key’. Are they living in tune with their strengths, values and beliefs? What are their underlying values and beliefs? Are those serving them to live at their fullest potential or not? How are they showing up in their lives? Are those beliefs empowering or disempowering?
Living on key is a life of limitless possibilities, as Coaches we can support our clients in first recognising where they are, and then to help them either continue living on key and make even better music. Or we help discover what notes are discordant and support them, as they take the actions to play the music they want;which their audience will enjoy listening to as much as they enjoy playing.