Tools for Coaching Mastery

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Coaching in Silence
by Janice LaVore-Fletcher

My dear Grandma Clara was a Coach and never knew it. She had the gift of knowing how to ask a wonderful, thought-provoking question and then resting in silence, allowing a 12-year-old to ponder and discover. I was a chatty child and so there were many times that she would gently lean down into my face and take hold of both my ears. Squatting down at face level, she would say so softly, "Janice, God gave you two ears and one mouth, and He intends for you to listen twice as much as you talk." Oh, such a wise and gentle-spirited woman. Thank you, Grandma Clara!

Masterful coaching is demonstrated at its finest moment when we are comfortable with silence, giving the client time to reflect on what he or she said. We observe those critical details of body language and nuances in the client’s communication. From Mastery #3—Engaged Listening, we know that to truly be a masterful coach, we must "listen beyond what the client articulates." Silence is a powerful coaching skill as it allows the client to be in that sacred place of stillness, allowing the client to simply and graciously "be."

Our creator made us and named us human "beings" and not human "doings." I believe that my sweet grandmother understood this much better than most. Honestly, she never grew tired of listening to my dreams—and I am sure some were so silly—yet she seemed completely connected to me in those moments. And she always made me feel that my dreams were real and within reach. I recall one occasion when I had finished telling her all about my dream house and we sat in silence, almost dreamlike. After a few moments of silence, she whispered, "Oh, yes, I can see it now."

Yes, "being" is an almost sacred place for a few glorious moments when our hearts and minds and souls align and we "hear" a client longing for acceptance, for validation. There is no need to jump in, thinking you are helping. Some of the most powerful moments in coaching take place in the silence. It is here that a client reflects, processes, discovers and has many "aha" moments. There are golden moments when a coach can hear more than the words spoken, for the power is behind the words that remain unspoken. Most importantly, it is in these moments of silence and reflection that the role of Christian Coaches is to allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in the client. This time is to be honored as time between our client and God… "Peace, be still and know that I am God …" Psalm 46:10

What is your client saying in the silence?


Janice LaVore-Fletcher is a Master Coach, Coach Trainer and the Founder of Christian Coach Institute, an IAC Coaching Masteries®-Licensed School. Their mission is to educate, equip and encourage Christian Coaches around the world.

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