So what did Einstein know about coaching?
Albert Einstein is regarded by many as having been one of the greatest minds of the last century – a genius even. He used a simple analogy to illustrate his theory of relativity:
‘Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.’
So, you’re probably wondering what that has to do with coaching? Well, let me explain: Silence.
We’ve discussed the importance of silence in coaching, yet it can be challenging for the coach.
To use Einstein’s analogy:
‘A few seconds’ silence for the coach can seem like minutes, while the same few seconds silence for the coachee seems like nothing’
Silences in everyday conversations can be very uncomfortable. We can feel the need to fill them.
But coaching conversations are different because the coach’s role is the help the coachee to explore (their situation, their feelings, their options, their way forward, etc). We can do this by using our skills – listening, asking insightful questions and summarising. In other words, we give time and space.
When your coachee ‘goes silent’ it is very likely because you have asked a great thought-provoking or emotion-searching question – helping their insight.
So just go with the silence and they will start to talk when they are ready.