I had two coaching sessions yesterday, the first with a woman who is warm, witty, chatty, a little on the loud side. When I ask a question, I get an immediate response. When I say something funny, she laughs. When I make an observation, she gives me immediate feedback, either confirming or correcting me. When we coach together, it feels good, effortless, ego-boosting because her a-ha's are immediate and vocal.
The other session was with a woman is an introvert, speaks very quietly, sighs often, and takes her sweet time to answer my questions. My quips are sometimes met with silence. My observations are considered with very, very long pauses.
I should not be put off by her response patterns because I've worked with her for a long time. In fact, she is a repeat client, but interestingly, when she called me to start coaching again I initially refused because of my discomfort--her comfort with silence makes me uncomfortable. I so quickly make it about me--did she not understand me? Did she not agree? Did she not hear me? Did she not like what I asked her? All of this head-trash chatter, prompted by a mere seven seconds of silence!
Richard Rohr writes that "silence is the primary language of God." Silences forces us to pay attention to things that we would ordinarily miss. Silence in coaching is necessary so that God can be part of the conversation.
Are we missing what God has to say to us, and to our coachees, when we talk over or over-think what we perceive as a vacuum, a void?
Quietly signing off,