Mindful Coaching – The Power of Silence

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.

What to do when you’ve lost your Mo Jo


Back in August 2011, I wrote an article for our website entitled What to do when you’ve lost your Mo Jo.  Month after month I have noticed that this article continues to attract regular readers.  Visitors searching for answers, and hopefully finding something useful.  If you haven’t already read this article, then please do take a look.


It seems to me that the ability to reconnect with our Mo Jo is an essential aspect of any strategy for maintaining resilience.

Can Women have Gravitas?

Susie's gravitas image

Can Women have gravitas?  Of course they can. But what’s it like? How do women (and men for that matter) develop gravitas?  I asked my trusted friend and colleague Susie Every to share her thoughts on this issue, and not only has she published an article on the subject, she also produced this stunning drawing inspired by Mount Rushmore.  Click here https://t.co/zznyCfdN7O to read what Susie has to say about how to develop gravitas through presence and projection.  I think you will like it.

The power of optimism


The origin of the word “optimism” is from the Latin optimum which means “the best”. By optimism I mean the tendency to positive thinking, finding the best in a situation; to look on the bright side; to regard a glass half full rather than half empty.

Researching this topic I came across a story about Andrew Carnegie, written by Alex Banayan, who posted it on Linked In.  Andrew Carnegie started his career with nothing and yet he became the richest man alive; worth more than Bill Gates and Warren Buffett combined.

According to the story, one afternoon, a young man walked into Carnegie’s office to interview him about his success. Carnegie could have talked the young man through his journey from poverty to riches, or told him about his dealings with John Rockefeller. But Carnegie talked about something else.

His optimism.

Apparently, Carnegie said the most important thing in his life was his “ability to shed trouble and to laugh through life.” He said that seeing life through a lens of positivity was worth more to him than millions of dollars.

“Young people should know that it can be cultivated,” Carnegie said. “The mind, like the body, can be moved from the shade into sunshine.”

It seems that optimism makes good business sense. By not getting weighed down by the negative, Carnegie could keep his focus on the positive, bounce back from failures faster, and see opportunities where other people didn’t know they existed.  He also seems to have discovered the fact that optimism can be cultivated…we can move our minds from the shade into the sunshine. This is something that Martin Seligman shows us how to do in his writing on Learned Optimism, which will be the subject of my next post.

If you dislike something isn’t it time to innovate?

Ian McDermott is a leading expert on the subject of “Innovation.” According to Ian we are all capable of innovation, and when we make change we are in fact innovating. Triggers to making change include:

  • Distress,
  • Discontent,
  • Love,
  • A vision of what might be, and
  • Sheer Bloody Mindedness!!

This put me in mind of an old TV advert that some of you might recall, for Honda’s much improved diesel engine.  The catchy tune is entitled Hate something, change something…it does make sense!!

How to open a world of colour for black and white thinkers

Reframing is a useful technique for unsticking black and white thinking. Colour brings a fresh dimension.

Use a simple question to encourage exploration of the grey area in between two stuck positions: eg “How would it be if the grey area was shot through with bright colours?”

Visualisation of colours can bring fresh energy, enabling a stuck thinker to find new perspectives and innovative solutions. Why not give it a try.