A skill for understanding

In order to understand someone else we must practice holding space.

This is different to listening because it’s active, not passive and requires at least three steps.

We actively see the other person, by maintaining eye contact, observing their body language, and not being distracted. We actively hear someone through listening attentively to what they’re saying and how they’re saying it. Then, we reflect back to the other person what we have seen and heard, with curiosity .

“I heard you say ___, which made me think ___.”

“You mentioned ___, could you say more about that?”

“Thanks for sharing ___, how can I support?”

Holding space can be hard. It requires curiosity, emotional labour and patience.

Anyone who has ever seen a good therapist worked with a great coach, or been part of a team with a strong leader knows the feeling of having someone hold space for them.

It’s a generous skill anyone reading this post can also practice. So over to you, legend.