Jane writes: “Catharsis, when someone leaps to a new understanding, happens when they are paying attention to what is going on ‘inside’ them, not when they are paying attention to what we are saying. At this point they do not need any verbal or physical (e.g. nods, shrugs etc) interventions from us. We need to be silent.
To serve others well we need to be able to pay attention to them – their words, what is not being said, what is being communicated without them realising it via their eyes, tone of voice and body language. When we tune into these things we are able to judge when to allow silences. An inexperienced coach will ask a question, the experienced coach will wait. The experienced coach will not be concerned for them self (what should I be doing? What should I say?). They will only be concerned for the other person.
For silence to be fully effective there needs to be total trust between those involved. If you feel uncomfortable with it, they may as well. Think of yourself as being a relaxed and respectful fellow traveller whose attention is in the space between you, sensing what will be most useful. Don’t be tempted to fill the space with noise, it’s not always useful. Duck tape is! Think about it…”
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