CAN YOU HEAR THE SILENCE?
LLG Open Mind Too Mary Smithson Amanda Tremark Linda Daccardi
“Silence is the communing of a conscious Soul with itself.” Henry David Thoreau
“The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought….
and attended to my answer.” Henry David Thoreau
As children we were told, Silence Is golden. The motive was to produce quiet children.It is reported that it dates back to Egyptian history. The wisdom of this phrase is eternal because we need to be silent in order to find the peace and serenity that is needed to get in touch with our inner self. Once we have that peace and wisdom inside then we can effectively listen and pay attention to our soul as well as the client. In this paper we will take a journey. We will consider what a consultant is as well as a coach. We will investigate what transforms us into attentive,
observant coaches and consultants. This paper will explore the techniques of the case clinics that were practiced by our team.
What is a consultant? “The old, albeit somewhat cynical, definition of a management consultant is that
of the highly paid person brought in to find out ‘what time it is?’ who then borrows your watch to tell
you”. ( Dexter, Dexter, Irving) The funny thing is that this is true to an extent because the best
consultants identify solutions and problem solve from within the very organization that requested their
help. A consultant uses strategies, approaches and skill to bring about change and set up goals within an
CAN YOU HEAR THE SILENCE?
A coach is a person that is motivated, self-disciplined, creative, ethical. A consultant may give the coach direction and guidance to obtain the goals.The coach follows through with the details.
As we touch on the theories and ideas that we learned from the readings we will look at the art of
listening. There are four different types of listening, downloading, factual listening, empathic listening
and generative listening. We need to practice deep attention and awareness to be good listeners. An
important thought on listening was noted as “successful leadership depends on the quality of attention
and intention that the leader brings to any situation”. Through this quality of attention, we find our
“inner place” which is where we find our peace and serenity. “The nature of this inner place in leaders is something
of a mystery to us.” (C. Otto Scharmer) Through the four types of listening created by Scharmer there is
one process but three movements. The 1st is observe, observe, observe. He makes a very valid point to
stop downloading and start listening! The 2nd is retreat and reflect which is to say to “allow the inner
knowing to emerge”. Pay attention to our role and journey. 3rd is called “Acting in an instant” which
states that we should listen to ourselves, others and to what emerges from the collective that you
convene. Observe, attend with our mind wide open. Sense with our heart. Presencing is connecting to
the deepest source of our self-will. Crystallizing is access to the power of intention. Prototyping is the
integrating of our head, heart and hands.The final one is performing or playing the macro violin,which means using our entire body and mind to perform the task at hand not just performing.
Silence can mean quiet as when we are quietly listening to someone with our whole heart, body,
mind and soul. We learned through our listening assessments and case clinic sessions that we are not
thinking about what we are going to say next. We are not trying to fix the problem but trying to listen deeply.
We are not being judgmental or critical but open minded. Open minded is to suspend old habits of
thought and listen. When we have an open heart we empathize and see the situation through the eyes of someone else.
The open will when we let go of old ways and accept new ones. Attention and
silence seem to be creative in themselves and yet so simple. Nancy Kline stated how simplistic this idea
is when she said, “Attention and silence can that ever really be enough? Yes. Often. Far more often than
we are ever taught to expect. In fact, we have hardly had a chance to find out just what attention and
silence can produce. We are too busy preventing it. “(Nancy Kline) Some programs teach us to speak
but it would it is more effective if we listen and don’t judge. Simplistic indeed, all we need to do is
start with a small goal of 5 minutes of peacefulness every day and build up to a comfortable time. Are
we afraid of the silence? It may feel odd at first but over time peace and serenity will be achieved. When
we have serenity we do not want anyone to take it from us so we guard it carefully.
During our case clinics we discussed management communication problems. We explored employee, intern issues with professionalism, and management issues with work ethics and authority. Our coaching and consulting
exercises were very good learning experiences for all. One example is senior management with poor
communication. How can this be changed? As a coach, a new method of communication and building
relationships must be established in order for structure within the organization to begin to develop.
According to authors, N. Thomas and J. Adair, “communication must be aimed primarily to meet the
needs of a given situation in the present. If it is to be accepted by the receiver it must also be related to
the common part- social, cultural and personal. Most important of all, however, it should be consistent
with the long-term interests of the future” (76). Strengths can be created with the improved balance of
direction. Treating each member with professionalism and increased verbal communication skills, would
allow harmony and balance to flow in the workforce. Establishing the framework of teaching basic
fundamental skills, which all three members seem to have forgotten, would allow for collaboration
within the organization. Once the framework is developed, it is clear to ensure that each of the
managers have an opportunity to communicate their concerns and objectives moving forward.
According to author Patricia Lynott, within the organization “active learning incorporates the essential
skills of talking and listening, writing, reading and reflecting. These skills encourage participation and
stimulate interest (21). The assessment of their body language will enable a dialogue which can enhance
their engagement into finding the connection of in order to seek a solution. When a suitable balance is
established and achieved, no matter how small the quality and quantity may be, the pathway to
improved structure will be achieved. Taking the journey of one step at a time, should be the goal as long
as there is a consistent and steady form of communication. With that in mind, a healthy discussion with
each other on a scheduled basis, will lead to positive relationships. These three managers must commit
and demonstrate their own respect for one another so they may focus on what needs to be
accomplished. Therefore, the goal within the organization which was splintered, would finally be on the
The consultant, Amanda would engage in a sit down meeting with each one individually and according to author’s Dexter, Dexter and Irving would “pursing change for the benefit of the organization (20). This would enable an improved understanding of the situation from each person’s point of view. Marshall Rosenberg, whom is a nonviolent communicator, would suggest hat “solutions will find you”. You just need to find a way to feel connected. Having this opportunity to engage group discussions, would enable a dialogue which improve the level of communication. Athough the idea of participating in this activity with the participants is appealing, the results would be best handled by the coach. This is an example of our case clinic. Vulnerability is the quality of being
easily hurt or attacked. When we think of vulnerability we think of weak and imperfect and
it is allowing ourselves to be open to pain or criticism. It takes a sense of courage to allow someone to
be close enough to hurt us. As B. Brown stated “We numb, but you can’t numb those hard feelings
without numbing the good emotions. (Brene’ Brown) Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable to our clients
is how we achieve intimacy. One must know when to take a risk. And of course, one must learn to
disagree without being disagreeable! (Maister,Green, Galford) “When we are silent and waiting,
something great inside us keeps on growing, and silence gives birth to creativity, moreover the more we
keep ourselves silent the less our hearts will be hurt.” (literarydevices.net)
We have in vestigated what defines a coach and a consultant. In conclusion we have learned to be vulnerable in order to achieve intimacy. Allowing ourselves to get to that "inner place" and know ourselves will make us better individuals as well as coaches and consultants. Silence gives birth to creativity as well as serenity and peace. The more we deeply listen we become able to have the open mind, open heart and open will and others can sense that we are open.
CAN YOU HEAR THE SILENCE?
Henry David Thoreau
(C. Otto Scharmer, Jul 09, 2013, Uncovering the Blind Spot of Leadership)
(Nancy Kline, What Happens in the Silence, 2011)
(Brene’ Brown, vulnerability video)
(Maister,Green, Galford,The Trusted Advisor 2000, p 78)
Adair, J., & Thomas, N. (2003). Chapter 13: Coaching and communication. In, Concise Adarion
Communication and Presentation Skills (pp67-78). Thorogood Publishing Ltd.
Dexter, J.; Dexter, G.; Irving, Judy (2011). An introduction of Coaching. Sage Publications Ltd.
Lynott, P.A. (1998). Teaching Business Communication in an Accelerated Program. Business