This tip lives in the realm of Coaching Presence. I was recently listening to a candidate for a coaching credential application. There were often long pauses of silence between when the client stopped speaking and when the coach said something.
Now, allowing space for the client to speak in to is great. This was different. It felt as if the coach was writing things down that the client was saying, most likely as a way to remember the client’s words and language so the coach could incorporate into their response.
The impact was that the coach wasn’t being present with what was happening with the client. Most noticeably, there was a lack of connection to the client and no flow in the conversation.
Coaching Presence as defined by the ICF is an “ability to be fully conscious and create spontaneous relationship with the client, employing a style that is open, flexible and confident.” You can ‘hear’ when a coach is fully present in the silence, by what they say next. You can also hear when a coach is distracted and not being present in the silence. The silence actually feels energetically different, and then what the coach says doesn’t connect with the client.
Practice being fully present with the client. Everything else is a distraction. Move away from your computer. Switch off all alerts. Rather than making notes that take you out of being present, trust that you are remembering what you need to. If you still feel you need to make notes, keep it to a key word or phrase that triggers your thought process.
What takes you out of being present with the client? What do you do to stay present?