At the end of a recent coaching session, I asked my coachee for some feedback on my approach and he specifically commented on my use of silence. He used the phrase “You let the silence do the heavy lifting.”
This particular coaching session was on the telephone and silence is even more obvious, even louder, than when face-to-face with someone.
Maintaining silence can be harder than speaking and harder than asking questions; many find it uncomfortable. It would have been very tempting in this coaching conversation for me to break the silence with another question or with a suggestion. By waiting I was encouraging my coachee to travel further along his path with me by his side rather than leading the way.