What was new learning for me? I’ve learned many things in this course, but the single most impactful thing I’ve learned at this point is…Silence has wisdom. The idea that silence allows for reflection is a straightforward concept. However, I don’t think it’s practiced very often. I see silence, as it applies to the coaching conversation, taking place in two areas. The first relates to the silence within the coach. This type of silence is the silence of the mind. I know that I personally can improve in this area. I need to improve my ability to listen with my whole being. I often think about other things during a conversation. I’m not entirely aware of it, but I know that it is happening. To focus on what they are actually saying and not how what they are saying connects to a bigger picture.
The second type of silence occurs in the space that a coach creates for the coachee. Our world moves so fast, we are constantly being saturated with information. Information that can be delivered in an instant. It’s hard to slow down and process everything that is coming at us. This type of silence can be created through the coach’s body language and speech pattern. Silence allows for reflective space where the coachee is able to come up with their own answers and insights. I think the silence is where transformational coaching takes place.
How does it impact my “being and doing”? The “doing” portion of Silence is wisdom relates to the actual act of being silent in both mind and body. I’m not exactly sure how to make this happen at this point, but I can theorize. I have spent a lot of time doing guided meditation to help focus my mind. I often rely on the recommended portion to help keep thoughts from entering my mind. If a thought comes, I have practiced acknowledging it and then returning to the meditation. I think this practice will come in handy in the coaching conversation. If I focus on the coachee as the guide, I can tune out all the other thoughts.
The “being” portion of Silence is wisdom relates to my authentic desire to help others. I love helping people solve problems. I love empowering individuals to make positive changes in their lives. It is very freeing to understand that this all comes from within the coachee. I decided to leave clinical work because of the great responsibility that came with this type of work. I worked with abused children who had suffered horrible trauma. I felt a tremendous responsibility to help these children, and I carried it home with me. I was doing meaningful work but at a great cost to myself and my family. I want to help others, but I need to do it differently. In this way, I can use my tools to create a space for a change instead of being responsible for that change.
How does it change my world view and perspective? I think that “Silence is wisdom” challenges the idea that the individual who speaks the most is the most knowledgeable. Our society celebrates and praises those who express themselves easily. We hold the hold politicians, media personalities, reporters, influencers, public speakers, etc., in the highest regard. We believe what they are saying because they have the platform to speak from. Perhaps this happens because it is easier to be told what to think than it is to form the idea ourselves. It takes time and effort to develop an idea or a solution.
An example of this would be a celebrity promoting a new diet plan. An individual looks at this celebrity and says to themselves, I like this person, I like their life, I want to be like them. I’m going to try this diet because this celebrity is saying it works. Along with this celebrity, there are whole communities of people doing the same thing, so it must be the right thing to do, right? They don’t ask themselves the essential questions: Is this good for my body, does this fit into my lifestyle, or why do I want to be on this diet? These are difficult questions, and we live hectic lives packed full of responsibilities and commitments. It’s often easier to follow along with something without taking time to ask what do I want, what do I need.
I think this is one of the greatest things that transformative coaching can provide: The space to think, reflect, and connect with oneself – the opportunity to find an authentic solution within themself.
What does it make me stretch? The concept of Silence is wisdom makes me stretch in three ways. First, I need to train myself to quiet my mind so that I can fully engage in what the coachee is saying. To create a presence of mind to be able to listen to what is being expressed below the words. I think it will take some time and practice to be able to hear the subtext without simultaneously analyzing it.
The second area this will stretch me is how I establish the environment in which this silence can occur for the coachee. This relates to the physical space the session is taking place in, both in-person and online. In terms of the in-person physical environment, I need to be mindful of outside distractions, like noise, lighting, and room decor. This also relates to the online coaching sessions in terms of what is visible on my screen and what is occurring in the coachee’s environment. The online environment may be harder to reduce distractions. As the coach, you don’t have the same opportunity to structure a calming environment. However, a coachee may feel more comfortable in a familiar environment than in a new environment. These factors are potential distractions that affect the coachee’s ability to fully engage reflectively.
In terms of personal development, I need to practice clearing my mind and being fully present in the coaching session. The first step is being aware of how and when this is occurring. The next step may be creating a ritual where I take time to become fully present and open before starting the session. This plan will become more clearly developed over time. For my professional development, I need to continue the coaching program to develop my skills in asking clean questions, adjusting speech pace and rhythm, and creating space for silence and reflection. After the coach training is complete, I will need to continue to practice these skills through peer coaching and skill builder sessions. The last area relates to the practical or physical space.
I want to create a calm and relaxed environment for the coaching sessions to occur. This relaxed and inviting environment needs to be available for both in-person clients and online clients. At this time, I will focus on the online environment. My plan is to conduct practice sessions to look at the physical environment as it translates to the online format.
I noticed that this reflective assignment created the opportunity to engage in a written version of the Silence is wisdom process. Through answering a few well-selected questions, I was able to understand and apply a key concept to my coaching approach.