The Power of SilenceMarch 6, 2018
I went to watch my fellow third year students at ALRA North performing DH Lawrence’s plays “A Collier’s Friday Night” and “The Daughter in Law” during the week. These plays are both written in a very naturalistic style and approach, which allows for lots of times when the actors are on stage but are not talking. This space between the words, whilst silent, can speak volumes if the actors are alive and active in the moment.
This principle about the power of silence also applies when coaching.
One of the concepts I found hardest to get around during my “Coaching for Leaders” programme at The Beech Centre was about not needing to fill every moment of a coaching session with talking. I remember I found my first few coaching sessions quite stressful because I spent the entire time panicking about not knowing what to say next.
What I now know is how important silences are for allowing both the coach and the coachee to think and process. I realise that if I really existed in the moment of each silence and truly listened, I would know what to respond authentically. It is not my responsibility as the coach to fix the situation or “know what to say” and I can’t overly plan ahead of going into the situation. In acting, I can learn my lines and strategies to help me on stage but ultimately I have to do all of my prep work and then let it in order to be able to just listen and respond when the moment arrives and I think the same can be said for coaching – you can plan but ultimately you just have to listen and trust yourself to respond when the moment comes.
Do you feel silence is powerful? Do you find the space between the words hard to inhabit?
Let me know your thoughts on all of the above in the comments or via email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Beech Centre for People, Performance and Organisational Development