Deciding which groupie to bed after a gig or what color M&M’s to keep in the dressing room … the rock-star life is tough, huh? Actually, it can be. Those who command the stage have a unique set of hang-ups, and like you and me, many need something to help them reach full potential. Of course, unlike you and me, their every high and low is out there for all to see. Drugs, as we’ve seen time and time again, are not the answer.
That’s where T.C. Conroy comes in. With a smat of tats and a ruby-encrusted tooth, this music-industry insider turned hipster/life coach definitely looks as cool as her clients, but her work is all about what’s on the inside.
“Creative people process things differently,” she says as we lounge in the cozy, modern Flynt Building office where her company, West Coast Coaching, is based. “They’re more sensitive. An artist or musician is going to be thinking about things differently than a financier.”
She should know. Born in Sacramento, the enterprising music lover came to L.A. at 21 and quickly became entrenched in the Sunset Strip metal scene. Later, working as a tour liaison for artists including Peter Gabriel (who dubbed her T.C.; her full name is Teresa Conroy) and the Rolling Stones, not to mention having been married to Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan, gave Conroy unique insight into the tempestuous “disconnects” that those in the arts often suffer. (Despite some overzealous media reports that inadvertently meshed her music-biz past with her current endeavors, she never coached anyone from the groups she used to work for.)
Still, her relationships both social and professional have helped her to corner the market on coaching rebels and rousers from both the boho world and the entertainment industry. The client list is confidential of course, but on-the-record personalities she works with include LA Ink’s Kat Von D, The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black’s Kembra Fowler and White Trash Charms’ Brooke Dulien.
So what exactly does a life coach do, and how is she different from, say, a therapist?
“Coaching is based in the present, not in the past,” explains Conroy. “Basically what I do is listen for when a person creates a hurdle or whatever it is that’s standing between them, where they are now and where they would like to be.”
This involves putting goals on paper and creating a strategy to attain them. Sounds pretty straightforward. Even when Conroy expounds Tony Robbins–like about creating an energy around certain desires, it doesn’t sound like mumbo jumbo.
“People get stuck on the what-ifs,” she explains. “It’s fear. Fuck fear. We call it out. We talk about it, bring it out of the dark and shine the spotlight on it.”
Of course, many of Conroy’s clients have to contend with spotlights of a different sort, and her “motivational message meets tough love” style seems to strike just the right chord. “If they need cheerleading, I’ll cheerlead them. If they need a kick in the ass, I’ll give ’em a kick in the ass,” she says. “That’s what it means to be a coach with edge. I’m never afraid to say, C’mon, it’s go time.”
Photo by Kevin Scanlon