Silence and life coaching
For all the years I have worked with clients, there is one thing I've always noticed. When the conversation is flowing and it is a succession of questions and answers, we are mainly visiting the conscious part of the client’s situation. It is an exchange of information but not a real discovery for the client. They explore what they know and the way they know it.
It is often when silence appears that things become interesting.
In coaching, you are not asking questions to get information but to make the client think and explore the situation differently. It is really important to understand that, as a coach, you don’t always need to know anything about the client’s situation. The main purpose of questioning is to extend the viewpoint, the perception, the understanding and the awareness of your client.
When the coachee doesn’t know the answer to the question, it is a sign that your question as a coach disrupts the normal flow of reflection and usual answers, and leaves the client speechless for a moment. When it occurs, you can see the eyes explore up and down, right and left and try to figure out what the answer can be.
As human beings, we have some specific ways to think, with some very strong neuronal pathways that we use all the time - that is the reason why they are strong pathways. The connection between neurons becomes stronger every time we use them.
When a good question is asked, the normal process is disrupted. It makes you think and try to find an answer to build an unusual neuronal connection. That is the way we explore new territories, new possibilities, new perceptions of a situation.
Neuroplasticity allows the brain to rearrange synaptic connections according to brain activity and changes in thinking. Our thinking habits are what is preventing more neuroplasticity and the creation of more diverse pathways to experience reality differently. Coaching is an opportunity to develop your actual brain connections and expand access to new ideas, new insights in your life.
Silence is a sign of potential real discovery
It is only when we don’t know what to answer that we finally explore “the new”. That is the point of having a coach, rather than just thinking alone. In most cases, people have the same way to revisit situations, over and over again. Therefore, the same kind of deductions or answers come every time.
Silence is a space for new visions
It offers the potential for new perceptions. Talking can be “noise” when the content doesn’t teach or bring anything new to the party. The coach can instigate moments of silence during the session to allow this special space, to give room to the client in their inner process. The disruption of the question and answer process is powerful and comes back to the ability of a coach to find the right question.
This process doesn’t come by thinking or analysing but by listening carefully and being fully present in the moment and being 100% available for the client.