The Effect Of Silence

My actions as a starting coach is characterized by identifying my own personal style of coaching. That’s a hard thing to find out which every coach has to do. That includes  e.g. the following questions:

  • How do I get into a decent kind of relationship with my clients?
  • How do I manage to see, hear and feel the little things that are torturing my clients from inside without them telling it to me directly?
  • Which tools and methods do I use?
  • How important is my intuition in coaching situations?

...and so on.

Silence Creates Depth

On the tactical front I really had a recent major breakthrough. A “light bulb moment” so to speak. I experimented with silence. I did it simply by putting long pauses at specific points, during the session. By specific points I mean situations when I had the feeling that there was something coming up in my client and trying to come out. It’s unbelievable sometimes what happens if you simply stop talking and be silent for a while and endure that silence. Five seconds, ten seconds, twenty  seconds. Simply try to do that in a normal conversation or during a presentation. Then you see what I mean when I say “to endure the silence”. And often the client can’t stand the silence either and continues telling you something on the topic which often gets deeper then.  

And exactly this awareness of the power of silence is for me, personally, a big thing because I tend to do the following things:  firstly, I talk very much, secondly, I talk very fast and thirdly, I talk without thinking too much about what I’m saying. Therefore it’s a 180-degree turnaround for me to be silent on purpose. Recently, I have been developing a little addiction to speaking pauses during sessions with clients and in other situations in my life. I’m trying them in my speeches for example and that’s even harder than in coaching sessions because in a speech long pauses also irritate the audience, which leads to more attention. In this case attention to the speech, during a coaching session attention to the topic of the client.

Being Silent Is As Important As Being Eloquent

I remember a leadership coach I met during a corporate development seminar. It was a guy from the Netherlands who was a former actor who worked at theaters. He taught me how I can use my voice more efficiently and more appropriate to the particular situation, e.g. how you literally fill the room with your voice. I also learned something about the melody and the pitch of my voice. That was all interesting and useful for me, but he also spoke very much about pauses and the power of silence, and I really didn’t understand back then what I understand now: silence has a lasting effect.

What do you think? Let me know!

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