On Waiting for the Answer

A key skill taught to coaches is the capacity to ‘hold space’ for our clients. This involves giving you, the client, plenty of time and space to respond, to think, to feel, to reflect, particularly in response to a question. This may mean sitting with silence. It means waiting. It means sitting in silence for longer than you normally would, and initially it can feel strange or uncomfortable. But it is the most powerful coaching skill.

If you wait that little bit longer before following up with another question or another prompt, this is the space where the insight often happens.

So often we don’t pause to let someone think. We rush to fill in pauses.

So often we don’t allow ourselves explore. We want an answer quickly.

This held pause is particularly effective because we don’t often get given that opportunity by those around us and we don’t get the time to sit with something as it arises in the moment, to process it, to feel our way into it slowly, to cautiously wrap our heads around it and figure out what the real answer is.

To let the answer bubble up. This is often where the surprise answers come from. Where we hear ourselves answer from a deeper, more honest place.

We need to give ourselves time, space and attention to find what we need to know.

We need to be generous and patient. To wait.