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In his book “Silence”, Erling Kagge – Norwegian writer and explorer who first reached the South Pole alone – writes how the experience of silence lived in his long journey through the Antarctic ice allowed him to expand the his senses beyond the boundaries in which they were forced.

Listening to one’s inner sounds: breathing, blood circulation, … coming to almost physically perceive the flow of thoughts and finally entering the deeper inner world, helped him to know new dimensions of himself and to acquire new skills.

His very sight – says Kagge – had an unexpected increase in perspective and accuracy thanks to that profound silence, leading him to see the nuances and the wonder of the chromatic games of what seemed to be just a flat land of frozen white snow: ” It is as if my senses had stretched to embrace everything around me, (…) I felt part of that nature “.

In this sense , silence is the prerequisite for becoming fully participating observers of what our deepest part is communicating to us and it is essential to make that interior space necessary to welcome what the “other” is really expressing.

Let’s be honest though … dealing with silence is not an easy thing.

We are not used to it, it can embarrass us.

I remember my beginnings as a coach when, after a question from me, the coachee was silent and perhaps took a long time to think.

The first few times my mind started racing wondering what was best to do … “I rephrase the question?”, “Can I tell him he can take all his time?”, “Do I cough?” voice?”.

Over time that silence has become something precious .

It is no longer an empty space, it has transformed into an interval full of meaning, a moment full of signals and information: as if the flow of thoughts, emotions and intuitions that the question aroused in the coachee, could be perceived almost physically .

Silence and waiting have become for me a fundamental part of communicating with my coachees.

Noel Bauza “Antarctic”

Those who love music know well that silence has a formidable power in the harmony and execution of the pieces.

It is the sound of silence that can be more precious than all other sounds.

For those in a leadership position, for example, the discipline of silence is a prerequisite for authentic and effective communication.

Training in silence, perhaps reserving moments in which we are forced to remain silent and in silence, increases the ability to communicate the essential while being “in the moment” .

Not being afraid of silence helps yourself and others to leave room for reflection and to communicate without pressure or anxiety.

Filling meetings with words or meeting days often creates a climate of communicative “noise” which, instead of producing effects of alignment and coordination, pushes people to disconnect.

Taking care of silence, training in silence, both personally and as a team, facilitates the pleasure of communicating and gives value to what is communicated.

Silence and conscious waiting are revolutionary elements, an often radical change of mentality, but fundamental to increase our “expressive” abilities.

If I had to summarize the steps that allowed me to welcome silence as an element of communication and share them with anyone wishing to acquire a “coaching mindset” , I would say to train yourself to:

  • Accept silence with courage
  • Be aware in silence
  • Let yourself be questioned by silence
  • Expand the connection through silence

To train you can start from the first step.

Try, for example, before any meeting, to ask to be silent for 60 seconds, simply by looking at each other.

It is certainly already a courageous undertaking.

Just don’t give up, if there is consistency and continuity in repeating the exercise, slowly you will discover how fruitful those 60 seconds are: they will almost become a requirement for the participants who will taste the effect on the success of the meeting.

It is the magnetic force of the sound of silence.

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