The other day I was walking along with my dogs
and it was a hot day. A sure sign spring is on the way.
And as the three of us ran and walked along the path
I noticed they were looking pretty tired (truth be told
it was the perfect excuse for me to stop and rest too!).
So we did.
I let them off leash and they bounded into the creek to cool off.
As I stood there watching them I noticed they immediately looked up
to see if I was carrying on our walk or waiting for them to swim a little longer. To note, the creek is getting a higher and faster with the spring run off and I had the urge to haul them out the moment they got in. But I noticed they were in a safe eddy and so I waited and let them simply be in the swirling water until they were ready to get out.
Then we carried on.
In that momentI realized that I had just "help space" for my dogs. 'Holding space' isa common jargon-term used frequently in the personal development world.
But what does that mean?
And how do watching dogs swim apply to that?
Well to me, holding space is simply allowing someone to do what they want or need to do. Without helping. Without demanding. Or insisting they figure it out on your timeline. It is allowing someone to struggle a little even and doing the most important part of holding space: seeing them as capable.
Holding space often has few or no words or even action on your part and yet gives the unmistakable energy of “You got this!”.
I am not saying help is never required. Let's be honest, coaching as an industry would not exist if we all could figure everything out on our own *but* holding space comes first. So the next time you see someone struggling, hurting or looking really stuck, try this:
Stop (resist the urge to rescue)
See them as capable (truly)
And 'hold the space' for them to swim to shore (metaphorical or otherwise).