This quote resonates with me on many levels, as I’m sure it does with many of you. Life for most of us in today’s society is busy and noisy. My daily morning walks often take place against a backdrop of traffic, sirens from emergency vehicles, and human chatter. This noise ends up drowning out the soothing sounds of birds chirping, leaves rustling, and waves crashing against the shore. For me, I long to hear the outdoor sounds of silence that rid my mind of idle chatter.
Returning home after a morning walk I enter into an empty house, but not always into silence. The house might be quiet, but my mind may be filled with the noise and clutter of unnecessary thoughts. I know when I allow myself the time and space to settle into silence, I can finally be filled with peace and calm.
What about silence in coaching?
SILENT and LISTEN are both two syllable verbs spelled with the same letters, but have very different meanings. Both are quite powerful and useful in a coaching session. When combined, the space for silence and listening can bring forth self awareness, self discovery, renewal, and personal growth. Silence can quiet the mind, and provide an opening for inner knowing to flow. Silence offers a way of holding space, providing a pause or a brief hesitation before forward movement takes place. Silence can be a time for contemplating, observing, or simply watching and waiting. Silence can be an opportunity for letting go, and according to Linda Bark, “Periods of silence in a coaching session slow the pace and allow for deepening of responses.”1
A companion to silence is listening. When I am in a coaching session, I listen to the unspoken words of my client that might reveal true emotions and beliefs. I listen to the energy that is generated by our interaction, and listen deeply from a heart-centered perspective. I do my best to listen with an open mind and an open heart, to create a non-judgmental and safe space for ideas, thoughts, and emotions to be comfortably expressed. When I listen, I connect with another person and with myself. When I do my best listening, I am silent.
Have you explored silence? What have you heard?
Diane Shaver, RN, MSN, NC-BC is a Registered Nurse and graduate of the Wisdom of the Whole Coaching Academy. Diane has over 35 years experience in caring for adults and children in acute care hospitals and community health settings with a focus on patient education, health promotion, and holistic nursing. http://www.shaverdiane.com
- Linda Bark. The Wisdom of the Whole: Coaching for Joy, Health, and Success. Create Space Independent Publishing Platform, 2011: 227.