Some years ago, as a member of The Coaching Foundation, I attended a workshop lead by Doctor Angus McCleod entitled ‘The Power of Silence’ (Angus McLeod & Steve Breibart; experiencing silence as a tool for change). This experience changed everything for me. As a novice Coach I was nervous of silence, and a pause in dialogue with my Coachee would make me anxious. I felt the pressure to interject with a powerful incisive question of course!!
But less is more. Stay present, be mindful, relax and pay attention. Remember that listening to that silence is good. Allowing the time for thinking/feeling to happen is powerful in itself. Being there with the Coachee, giving them your attention, ready for when they decide to come back to a dialogue, allows the Coachee to experience an exquisite sense of the Coach simply holding the Thinking Space for them. In the Thinking space the Coachee has permission to allow their thoughts to wander and connections to be made. This can be hugely powerful.
This is what Coaching can do, and it certainly is Mindful Coaching at its best.
However, silent attention sometimes only takes us so far, and in Nancy Kline’s work on the “Thinking Environment” (as she calls it) she tells us that asking incisive questions can remove barriers. So if you have an incisive question you could offer it and then give your Coachee ”Time to Think”. Our best thinking happens when we have a great question to consider and then the time to think about it.