6 Ways to Use Silence As A Tool in Coaching

6 Ways to Use Silence As A Tool in Coaching 3 Year Ago · 5 min read

Talyaa Vardar

Talyaa Vardar, MA, FCPC, MCC
Executive Coach, Psychologist & Art Therapist

It is known that silence is something a lot of people aren't big fans of. It gets uncomfortable, it's weird if you are in a room of people and it's just all quiet. However, in coaching, silence is known to be one of the best tools to use to transform a coaching session. In this article, we break down the 6 best ways to use silence as a tool in all your coaching sessions in the future.

Practicing silence is a great addition to any coaching session. It adds that magical touch that helps clients get to solutions and achieve the goal of the coaching session.

It is a good idea to make effective use of silence at the right times during the conversation in a professional coaching setting. Misuse of it may create awkward situations, in order to avoid those, we have created some ways in this article to make correct use of it.

Here are the 6 ways to use silence as a tool in a professional coaching setting:

Remain Silent

One of the ways to use silence is to ask an attention-grabbing question and remain silent. The silence prompts the speaker to ponder, react and answer. Giving the person you're speaking to space and time to think of their answer is incredibly useful because coaching sessions are meant to be thoughtful. When you speak too much or break the silence, it might break their train of thought causing them to not give you the best answer they usually have -- it just requires some time to extract.

So give them space and respect that space so that your clients can truly think and ponder to give you and themselves an answer that is honest and true.

Use Pauses

People have the tendency to think faster when they talk that’s why it's useful to make use of pauses at the right time during a coaching session to uncover more insights from the client. With pauses, you give your brain time to also think more and formulate your answers better.

When your client sees you slow down and speak to them with more pauses, they would also mimic you and do the same thing. Thus, allowing them to think more when they do speak.

Slow Your Pace

Before making correct use of silence it is useful to pace yourself. It's best to match the pace of your client but sometimes a slower pace can be more helpful. Speaking slower allows people to understand you better as well.

Some of us tend to speak incredibly fast because our minds are working fast too -- but slowing it down helps you to think more thoroughly and also allows for much better conversations.

Practice Acknowledgment

Showing a gesture of acknowledgment is very effective after a pause so that the client can be sure that you are all ears and listening closely. Always speak to listen and not to answer back. This is especially important in a coaching session where the attention is supposed to be on your client.

Showing interest in their response is crucial so that they know that you are interested. Most times, people just want to be heard. So doing this will help your clients in the long run so that they know that they can come to you when they need to speak and get things off their chest.

Ask Only Once

When the client is taking his time to answer resist the temptation to reframe the question, let the client hear the question, process it, take his time and then answer before you speak. If you’ve asked the right question, believe that it doesn’t need editing.

Make Use of Visualization

Invite your client to walk through a visualization exercise with you. Make sure at some point you remain silent so that your client can let their imagination run. Encourage them to take their time devouring the silence and visualizing.

These are 6 ways to add silence to your coaching session to help dig out more useful insights from your client. It is one of the ways of “communicating effectively” as ICF’s Core Competencies mention.

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