Original Article written by LeaderChat.org. My comments have been highlighted in bold.
Call it what you may – the “aha” moment, the light bulb, sudden awareness, or moment of meaning. It is that wonderful flash of insight learners or people being coached experience when the pieces come together and a shift in thinking happens. That moment extends well beyond learning and problem solving. It is the moment that can create lasting change in behavior or perception. It is, simply put, a magnificent moment.
Here are some suggestions on how coaches and mentors can facilitate more aha moments:
It’s all in the timing. Most of us tend to try to push insights so we can get to the next thing. Wait for it. Pause and allow silence in the conversation. The timing for aha moments is unpredictable.
“Less is more” and something we taught early in the ITP. Sometimes asking the athlete to perform a few reps with the silence that follows allows us to really synthesize what we see before immediately providing feedback. This has really helped me lately.
Know when to nudge. This may sound contradictory to suggestion #1, but it really isn’t. When we truly pay attention to the person being coached, we can sense when they are on the cusp of an insight, but holding back. Some indicators are responses such as “yes, but…” We can help move people past the “yes but” place by asking challenging questions such as “What is the cost of staying put?” or “What is the benefit of moving forward?”
The “but” is definitely a form of resistance from the client. It can be direct (knowing that the comment is defensive) or indirect (their just complaining and don’t realize it). Work past those moments as they have nothing to do with you personally. Clear communication is paramount here.
Notice energy. There are many indicators of the aha moment. When meeting in person, we can often see the change in facial expression from puzzled to happy. The aha moment releases pent-up energy much like an opening in a dam releases water: it allows the person to move forward.
This usually occurs with a “I got it!” or a burst of eyes wide open. This is an exhilarating feeling for them. High five them or pat them on back. This are great moments. Even if it is 10 singles in a row.
Celebrate success! So often, we rush to whatever is next on our to-do list without taking time to bask in the glow of the new insight. Celebration can be simply taking five minutes to allow the new awareness to sink in. If you are the coach, make a big deal out of it! A client’s shift in awareness is often the payoff for a job well done by the coach.
This is important as we want to reinforce the aha moment with out clients. I do this this by telling them to try and remember that feeling they felt. This is the aha moment turning into an actual motor pattern.
Cement the learning and establish clear next steps. Challenge the individual to create a specific action plan to bring their insights to life. Many aha moments open a door to a new direction. Encourage your client to step through the door and establish the path to the goal.
This is an easy one as you move on to the next movement you encourage the individual to practice that more at home or before class the next time they come in.
Think of the last time you experienced an aha moment. Remember the joy of finding clarity on something important? As a coach or mentor, you have the opportunity to facilitate these moments in others every time you practice your craft. It’s a gift your client will not forget.