Here's a leadership coaching strategy that's perfect for whatever this season brings: Pause and Wonder.
Whether you’re an executive, a small business owner, a community leader, a mentor, a friend, still trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up...this practice can bring some surprising and wonderful gifts.
Pause. Breathe out, slowly. Practice getting comfortable with quiet spaces in conversations where no words are exchanged. Pause and look at the person or group that you’re speaking to and observe them or think about what you’d like to accomplish with your next words. We live in a world that often values speed of data over the quality, thoroughness, or importance of information.
Your thoughtfulness, silence, or pause creates space for people to consider their own perspective and ideas. A pause can create an opening that lets us better see another person’s perspective and can give us the opportunity to respond more intentionally and more impactfully.
A good pause can bring down the temperature of a stressful exchange. A pause can help you and those around you feel more present in that moment.
Wonder. Be curious. Don’t know. Allow yourself to not have an answer, or ‘the’ answer. Professionally, our knowledge or experience has been our source of value and success, so this can sting like potential failure. But holding tight to knowing gets in our way of understanding in many of the most important conversations.
Wonder is a clever spark for collaboration, innovation, and growth. A stimulating question is often more impactful than a pile of right answers. Wonder is an invitation for others to contribute to your question and become part of the answer. It takes some vulnerability and a special kind of bravery to spend time not knowing, but it is where all of the new possibilities live.
While I'm writing. I pause often and wonder what the new year might bring, for myself, my clients, my family, and my friends – for all of us. There's a quiet joy in not knowing, yet.
My best wishes for a winter | holiday season filled with moments of pause and wonder.
revised from original 2016 publication