How to respond when your coaching client show up and says,” I have nothing to talk about….”
Couple of weeks before, one of my client showed up for online coaching conversation.
Everything was set as per mutual convenience and the session begins with Greetings and asking well-being of each other.
Suddenly my client said, “I don’t know what to talk about.”
When such thing happens, that too during online session, it can be tricky for a coach how to respond.
A series of fears get triggered within, fears that we are not good at what we do, or we start feeling in adequate or feel run out of things to coach your client, or how can we justify the coaching fees that we have charged for just a formal talk.
I also went through multiple of such fears, as I haven’t been in such situation before. Had it been one to one personal session, could have derived some clue from client’s body language and would have shifted the topic of discussion to allow my client to regain equilibrium.
It was absolutely new experience for me. I need to handle this anyhow.
After couple of deep breathing, I could regain my calmness and I told to myself it is really important to be comfortable with silence.
Sometimes that will happens, and even necessary. We can’t always avoid these kind of silences and working through it to be comfortable.
When client become absolutely silent or blank, try to give enough time to catch up. Don’t try to force the silence by asking open ended question. Instead, shift the topic of discussion and as a coach, take a lead to talk more and allow your client to give few responses like- nodding head, or brief smile, or short answer like yes or no. Allow, things to come to normalcy, for you as well as for client.
If you don’t take charge of the situation quickly, the situation would appear to be turning towards therapy and as a coach you are not a therapist, you need to pull your client out of this situation and encourage to speak or share something, may be not relevant to the issue for which coaching is sought for.
I share this experience here, because after 15 minutes, I made my client to speak and share a lot.