Best Coaching Practices–The Silent Treatment

Some of the best coaching practices come from the realms of  hypnosis, NLP, or other disciplines, and are routinely taught when you go through a coaching training.  Others are more of an art, either a talent you’re born with, or one which grows along with your coaching experience and your ability to connect with your client.  Silence, and it’s effective use, is definitely an art.  Even if you are taught in coaches training that silence is useful, it can be a challenge to get past the negative connotations of “the silent treatment” that we associate with angry parents or sullen teenagers, and to develop your own sense of when and how silence can benefit your client.

How Do You Use Silence in a Coaching Session?

As children, we all knew that “the silent treatment” meant someone was angry or upset, while in other contexts, we also probably heard “silence is golden.”  As a coach wanting to use your very best coaching practices, silence is definitely your friend.

Novice coaches often feel a need to fill in all the space in a session with words. When you’re starting out, silence can feel scary or threatening, or maybe just wasteful.  It can be tough to just quietly be  present with your client, especially if you tend to be a talkative person.  But when you have asked a question, you must keep quiet and give whatever time is necessary for your client to answer.  Your ability to be silent, and to hold the space for whatever your client needs, is a gift, perhaps a gift that no one else in that client’s life gives.   Silence can be exactly what  your client needs– to think, to feel, to  absorb, to process– whatever is going on in the session, before moving on.

Your Best Coaching Practices Include Silence at Other Times

When else do you use your best coaching practices?  Well, probably in all your coach-client interactions, but here’s another one where silence can be  particularly tough and absolutely critical to your success.  That is in your complimentary or enrollment session.  However you ask your potential client to enroll in coaching with you, ask…. and then be silent.  Otherwise, you deprive them of the opportunity to make their own decision, and you run the risk of talking them out of enrolling before they have the opportunity to say yes.


Give this strategy a try and see for yourself that it works.   If you liked this coaching tip, leave a comment or use the handy bookmark buttons below to share it with others on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, etc. Thanks!

Dorine Kramer
JTS Strategy and Accountability Coach

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