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  • Writer's pictureStephen

The Power of the Pause!

I wanted to share a brief follow up thought after last week's message about The Superpower Everyone Has - Listening!

In my work as an executive/personal coach, I recently attended a seminar where a master coach demonstrated how powerful a pause can be in coaching. We were watching a coaching simulation and at one point the client shared something that was obviously emotional. The coach just sat and waited for the client to speak again, holding silence in what felt like a pretty long pause. When the client eventually spoke again, what they said next was incredibly significant. When we asked the master coach about that moment during our time of debriefing, they said they were willing to wait as long as it took for the client to speak again!

What struck me about this is how many times in a conversation (not just in a coaching setting), I am so quick to speak and fill the space with "something." Often, I will fill the space with just about anything - a joke, a response, or even a question. While I think there are times when a response is necessary and important, I also think many times I am way too quick to come in and respond with something (anything!). I am learning that a part of the superpower of listening happens when I am willing to use the power of the pause - just waiting for a moment or two longer before I jump in.

There are a couple of good things that can happen when I use the pause. First, it gives my mind a few more moments to process what the other person is saying and think about what I actually want to say. For example, sometimes when I pause and don't jump in with my immediate reaction, I realize I may not completely understand what they are saying and instead of a response, I actually need to ask a clarifying question. Second, it gives the other person a little more room to finish their thought in case they weren't done. It's like a sign of respect that I value what they are saying and want to make sure they have room to continue if they don't feel finished.

I also think the power of the pause can be employed in more than just an immediate conversation. I recently talked with two different clients about feeling the freedom to say, "I am not sure I know what to do about that right now. Can I take a day or two to think about it or find an answer and get back to you?" In this situation, the power of the pause comes in admitting we may not have all the right answers right now or know what are the next best steps, but we are committed to learning and growing and continuing to work together toward a positive solution and outcome.

Where could you use the Power of the Pause in your life this week? Are there particular individuals or situations that it might be easier or harder to use than others? Is there some type of strategy you could use to remind yourself to use the pause (put a note/reminder in your phone, write it on your meeting agenda page, get it tattooed to the back of your hand!)?

Here's to enhancing our Superpower of Listening by adding in the Power of the Pause this week!

Be Well,


Center was created to support individuals and teams so they can live from their Purposeful Center. We specialize in executive coaching and leadership development and we’d love to support you! Click on our Services page to book a free consultation.

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