The Value of Silence


The ability to know how to use this powerful tool of “Maieutica”

The Value of Silence

Gandhi stated that “in an attitude of silence, the soul finds its way in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive is resolved in a crystal of clarity”.

Today unfortunately we have lost the ability to appreciate and use “Silence” and we continually cover it with “rivers of words”, which are often useless and effective in our communication with others.

Silence is the foundation of Listening: you need to know how to keep silent in order to allow the other to speak.

The Types of Silence

Silence can be of two types: “External Silence” and “Internal Silence”.

The first does not presuppose the intention of wanting to create it, but has only an occasional character in the conversation.The second manifests itself instead when a person “makes (creates) silence within”, going as they say “in subtraction”, in order to give rise to the obligation in the other person to fill this space with his words. In these situations, even when the interlocutor finishes speaking or pauses, the listener deliberately chooses not to intervene, to allow the other to remain focused on his thoughts and so that he can reflect clearly on what he has just said. However, the use of active silence must be carefully evaluated in relation to the situation and the person in front of us; in fact, silence that is too long or not contextual can be interpreted as punitive or experienced with embarrassment by the other, since the absence of speech causes anxiety.

Silence as an instrument of “Maieutica”

In reality, Silence is in itself one of the most “powerful” tools that can be used in the art of “Maieutics”, through which “Active Listening” and “Open Questions” alternate to bring out awareness in the other. In fact, through the correct use of pauses and silence, the structure of the dialogue with our interlocutor is strengthened and appropriate “spaces” are created that can be used by him to intimately contact “himself”.

How to use Silence in Coaching Sessions

Silence can be used by the Coach as a tool to allow the Coachee to “release” his potential and concentrate to understand more clearly what choices or decisions to adopt to achieve his goals.

However, it is not always easy for a Coach to understand how long it can be used and, only by training, will one be able to know how to wisely alternate it with the formulation of questions or feedback sent through our “non-verbal”.