The Nautilus Sea Shell
Group Coaching and the Nautilus Sea Shell
Visually it illustrates the connectivity and reciprocity of a group while honoring the individuality and independence of each group member in their own unique space. In my office, I have three views of actual nautilus shells in a beautiful frame as a reminder of the joy I have in doing the work I love with groups of wonderful people. The nautilus provides that symbol as constant inspiration.
The nautilus is a sea creature housed in a solid matte finished shell that does not stand out in a bountiful, colorful ocean. What a surprise it is to find on the inside of the nautilus’s shell an architecturally designed marvel of individual chambers that are brilliantly pearlescent in color. That inside world is a treasure of shimmering, sparkling, shining, glistening, glittering and gleaming chambers. Internally the nautilus is a Work of Art.
My experience with coaching groups is very similar. When you think about a group of people coming together for planning, or working on individual growth or joining to achieve personal and professional goals, it may appear to be a very ordinary gathering without a lot of pizzazz. It is quite a different experience, when you are on the inside of a coaching group. In a group coaching environment, where each individual brings the best of who they are into the group, that group can shine with energy, brilliance and pearlescence.
Just as in the nautilus, where each chamber is separate; in group coaching each member is separately honored and valued. In fact, people join coaching groups with the intention of receiving personal and individual business value by achieving specific goals. It is only after those individuals join together to become a formed group that the magic happens where reciprocity and generosity create greater value than ever imagined.
by Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-94)
This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,
Sail the unshadowed main,
The venturous bark that flings
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,
And coral reefs lie bare,
Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.
Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;
Wrecked is the ship of pearl!
And every chambered cell,
Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,
As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,
Before thee lies revealed,
Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!
Year after year beheld the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil;
Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.
Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,
Child of the wandering sea,
Cast from her lap, forlorn!
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
Than ever Triton blew from wreathed horn;
While on mine ear it rings,
Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings
Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!