Leaders – have you ever found yourself interrupting someone you are trying to coach? Interrupting is a fascinating topic. What’s really going on?
In all fairness, there are occasions when it might make sense and be productive to interrupt. Here are a few real-life examples that took place during action learning moments in JJC’s ‘Coaching is an Art’ program:
These can be extremely useful moments and ways to interrupt your coachee. AND, they are very courageous interventions that one can skillfully learn to apply.
Having said that, there are a number of reasons a coach might interrupt which do NOT serve their coachee. Why? Anytime we interrupt, we risk losing precious new insights that our coachee is creating at that very moment. In order to assess whether this risk is worth taking, the coach needs to understand why interrupting seems to be the right thing to do in the moment. Ultimately, the purpose of interrupting should be to create an opportunity for the coachee to explore more fertile territory.
The truth is that, from time to time, almost all coaches are guilty of interrupting to serve their own agenda, rather than their coachee’s! Your answers to these questions will help you to figure out whether an interruption was well-intentioned – or not:
Coaches who are aware of the context that exists when considering whether or not to interrupt will succeed at both managing themselves and raising the level of the coaching conversation. Consider spending a week being hyper-aware of your interruption habits while you coach – I trust that your learnings will be fascinating!