Slowing Down to Speed Up: How Coaching Your Clients to Slow Down Can Boost Their Productivity
sent by Siddharth Anantharam | March 16, 2023
March 16, 2023
Here’s something I have heard over and over again when I coach high performers:
“I really wish to slow down but [insert excuse]….”
In my experience, most people want to slow the **** down. They just don’t know how or where to begin.
In this newsletter, I’m going to reveal the art of coaching someone to tap into the power of slowing down.
Slowing down can have incredible benefits – lesser stress, more intuition, better decision making skills and more presence. The profound peace that comes with a slowed down moment has the capacity to heal!
However, we live in an age of instant gratification – where we seek to move faster, get results sooner and operate from a “gotta have things now” approach. We hurry faster and faster only to find that we have less and less time.
In our attempt to ‘get there’ we even expect our growth to happen overnight and I’ve had coaches express their fear of not doing a good job because their clients seem stuck for ‘too long’ even though it’s just been the end of one or two coaching conversations.
However what most people don’t realize is that slowing down is a skill and coaching someone to learn this skill is an art that can be mastered.
The Art of Coaching your clients to slow down has 4 distinct elements
1. Explore their need to go faster
Most people don’t slow down because of a belief they hold around being fast that is closely linked with their identity.
Here are a few beliefs I’ve encountered.
- I am known for getting things done faster.
- I am a productive person who doesn’t like to waste time.
- I am afraid that if I don’t get there first, somebody else will.
- I like the stress that comes with going fast and without this stress, I feel I am not doing enough.
As a coach, it’s important for you to explore this:
Where does the need or belief to go fast come from?
How is going fast really serving you right now?
Acknowledging this need is an important first step because it brings it to their conscious awareness.
2. Introduce the Experience of slowing down
Slowing down is not an act that can be explained. It is a practice that needs to be experienced.
For this you need to create a container where your clients can experience its transformative power.
Here are some of my favourite tools to create a more mindful experience for my clients:
- A breathing / meditation practice to start my coaching conversation: Box Breathing, Alternate nostril breathing or simply just abdominal breathing can slow down your clients.
- I like to combine this with a systematic relaxation practice that draws attention to the sensations on their body and guides them to relax their muscles, expand their heart and loosen their belly.
- Consciously slowing down the pace of conversation: Clients often expect the same fast paced rhythm that governs the rest of their life in their coaching conversations too. By consciously slowing down your words and questions you trigger their mirror neurons to do the same and shift their rhythm.
- Holding Uncomfortable Silences: For novice coaches, holding silences can feel awkward. There is a big need to fill up that space with a question or a reflection because they believe that creates real value. However, a master coach knows that it’s in the deep silences where the real work happens.
3. Reflect on the benefits of the experience in other areas of their life.
The most important part of the coaching conversation comes right after you have held space for your client to experience slowing down.
This is not the time to intellectually ask them action oriented questions around when and how they will actually do it.
It’s time to actually deepen their awareness around how they felt and let that knowing sink in.
Questions that deepen their awareness:
- How did this experience of slowing down feel for you?
- If you had to describe this experience visually, what images come to your mind?
- How do you think such moments of silence can impact other areas of your life – including your work, relationships and your creativity?
- How does slowing down actually help you speed up?
4. Create the optimal behaviours to re-engineer a slow down
Now that your clients have deepened their awareness around slowing down, it’s time to drive the insight into action.
How would you like to create more space for stillness and silence in your life?
What are 1 or 2 simple practices they would like to integrate into their day?
Clients who have experienced its full power will often come up with their own ideas.
At this stage it helps to remind your clients that slowing down does not take time. In fact it creates time and space to do things well.
A few simple practices that I’ve suggested to my clients over the years:
- Wake up Earlier – Instead of hurrying into your day, wake up earlier to create time and space for yourself. A breathing, meditation or journalling practice is a great way to start your day slowly but intentionally.
- Add a 15-30 minutes ‘do nothing’ event in your daily calendar
- Write down the 1 big win for the day – instead of crowding your day, ask yourself what would make today truly worthwhile?
- Read less, integrate more – One book read with concentration and reflected on is worth a hundred books read without any integration.
- Create Quality time for relationships – meals are a great time for giving relationships a more important place in your day.
By following these 4 elements, you can coach anyone to slow down and improve their well-being, presence, productivity, and relationships.
Remember, slowing down is a skill, but with clear intention, practice and patience, anyone can learn to master it.
Have you experienced the power of slowing down in your life or business? Share your thoughts in the comments below.