Recently I was listening to (what was in my opinion) a very chaotic story. My coachee was moving randomly from present, to past, to future, to past, to present, etc. Feelings were inserted here and there. Stories were left unfinished, as new thought would interrupt and take over. The coachee even apologized for ‘going all over the place’, admitting that he was thinking faster then he could speak. And then it ended. There I was, looking at a person across from me who expected a useful reply.
I mumbled some general, non-committal reaction and suggested we take a short break.
We went our separate ways, and during this two-minute pause in the conversation, something wonderful happened inside of me. Potential themes and patterns started to emerge in my mind. And I suddenly had some great ideas about where to take the conversation next. I rejoined my coachee, and we began the very enlightening process of making sense of the thousands of pieces of chaos he had handed me earlier.
Do you ever find yourself ‘stuck’ in a coaching conversation? Create a small break in order to give yourself (and your coachee) some space to process things: take a trip to the toilet, grab a cup of coffee, fetch a document, or whatever. Sometimes that pause might be just what you both need to clear the fog and see the road ahead.