SR Silence: an example

I coached a sales-trainer who is widely respected on the world stage. Bob had become stuck. Having decided on an important task he found himself demotivated to accomplish it, let alone start the job. He told me that he had become frustrated because the target was important to him but he kept putting it off. Over the course of the next ten minutes Bob explored his situation with me. He willingly entered the state of his on-stage sales-trainer by getting out of his chair and imagining/experiencing himself before one of his large audiences; ready to demonstrate his influencing skills to them. From that state of being, I asked Bob to offer his ‘stuck-self’ (still metaphysically in the chair) some advice with his problem. He provided that advice immediately. Shortly afterwards I asked Bob to return psychologically to his chair and then to listen to the best possible advice available from a leading trainer. I simply read back his exact words in the same tone and pace.  There was an SR-silence laden with spine-tingling suspense and ‘atmosphere’. Bob was transformed. His concentration was internal and acute. His neck colored with blood, his eyes were de-focused, and his whole being became energized. I let the silence run on. When the silence was broken, Bob did so by launching himself to his feet, “I’m doing it right now”. Sorry to cut the session short!” I couldn’t reply because Bob was already out of the room and on his way to his office.

Jill Dann says[2] that: ‘in coaching, you have to allow prolonged silences and intervene to push the coachee to reconnect with the moment, bringing them back to it and keeping anyone else silent. If they can revisit the moment they are often astounded by the range of emotions experienced’. Emotion once registered (and whether expressed or not) is a key driver for change. Silence and emotion are a facilitators of awesome power.

There is another lesson from the session with Bob. The most motivating behaviors come from self-determined processing. I could have offered Bob the same advice but would he have leaped out of his chair and rushed out of the room to act upon it?

[2] Dann, J., (January 2003). Private Communication