From the desk of Teresa Jordan, Executive Director – ‘Holding space’ is a term that I hear over and over again in what I read, meetings I go to and leadership articles.
‘Holding space’ in my interpretation means that – without a real sense of the end, without judgement, with no interruptions and with no clear plan to solve, save, help or redirect – we just listen.
‘Holding space’ means that while someone is speaking from their perspective or about their experiences, we are just letting those words rise and fall into the atmosphere of the room and working to allow the spaces in between the words to just be. Doing this may sound easy but it isn’t – it means setting everything else aside, clearing out worry and planning, and just remaining open to what a person is saying and working on for themselves.
So what’s the pay-off to holding space and working so hard at it, you ask? The pay-off is a true glimpse of what something means to a person, a space in which a person can dream without judgment, a place in which a person can, in your presence, work out a problem or find a solution – a process that you have encouraged simply by listening.
Hold space and watch the magic that can ensue when someone feels safe and heard, relaxes into the moment and really works out the next steps, thoughts and reality as it really is. Super listening and a focus on what is being said and not said will change the speaker and listener like magic when we try it.