Hello career voyagers!
This site is now moving to Rivercitycoaching.com. I hope you will join me there as I continue to inform and inspire you through a coach’s perspective on this crazy journey called life.
Meanwhile here is a Facebook post that resonated with many people.
Have you visited my FB page yet? Please hop on over and check out my posts. Give the page a LIKE, while you are there! Many thanks for your continued support.
Are you infallible? I am certainly not!
Up until recently, I was a terrible listener. And even when it came to my loved ones, I listened with more than a hint of judgement and an intrinsic desire to advice.
Once we form an impression of someone, every subsequent conversation is tainted with preconceived notions. No matter whether we are listening to a friend, partner, offspring or client, we tend to inject historical context, thereby coloring the tone of our conversation.
The true value of coaching, isn’t the coach’s experience or effort, it is our presence and our openness to possibilities. It is how we listen to our clients.
Being open begins with detachment from the agenda that the client sets for the session.
This is referred to as content-less language; the coach doesn’t bring any content to the table. Even when they want to present an insight or an idea, it is done so with the permission of the client.
In a world where typical attention span is comparable to that of a goldfish (at no more than 9 seconds), listening with detachment is an invaluable skill.
…we’re experiencing the symptoms of adult attention deficit disorder: short attention span, distractibility, and a tendency to be bored. In an ADD world, people leapfrog to the next conversation, the next idea, the next website, culminating in “oh, look, shiny object!” syndrome. ~ Sally Hogshead, Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation
We may be living in the 21st century but we are stuck with brains that evolved centuries ago. Neuroscience shows us that lack of attention stems from multiple issues competing for our limited brainpower.
I love it when science provides a concrete proof for what coaches have been doing all along, providing undivided attention to clients. empowering them to set the agenda, offering insights and minimizing unsolicited advice.
Coaches listen for potential. So could you.
… when you listen to people, unless you consciously choose a certain way to listen, you will listen to prove your existing theories about this person. This is hardly the most effective way of transforming performance. ~ David Rock, Quiet Leadership
It is very hard to listen to anyone with detachment. Try it for yourself in a conversation.
Listening without attachment is essential, especially when attention spans are reduced. It is crucial to ensure that you don’t miss the context, tone or subtext of the message.
You don’t need a Pensieve to empty your mind before every conversation. However, here are a few tricks to prime your brain and level up your listening skills.
- Prepare yourself to listen. Focus, let go of the 6 other things on your mind.
- Limit your talking, only speak when necessary. Don’t interject or try to finish their thought for them.
- Remove any distractions. Focus on the speaker and the message.
- Help the other person feel at ease. Use verbal cues and gestures to indicate that you are paying attention.
- Listen for concepts, not just words. You can tell a lot about a person from the words and expressions they choose. If you listen carefully you can hear the trail of ideas and the real story behind it all.
- Let go of your perspective. Remember that what they say is through their lens.
- Be impartial. Let go of any judgement that arises.
- Be patient. Let them take their time.
- Be silent. Silence is an undervalued tool in the art of listening. This is their story, be a captivated audience member.
- Be present. We often attempt to replay previous conversations or anticipate where the current one is headed. Just be present and listen.
- Listen for nonverbal communications. It may be hard to believe, but when you really listen, you can sense feelings and emotions that provide the context. The speaker is sharing something with you and the impact of the entire message can only be felt when you listen to it in it’s entirety.
When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand. ~ Karl A. Menniger
These are just a few suggestions from someone who has embraced the art of listening.
I stepped onto the path of coaching because of the potential that it held. But now it has become a promise and a prayer.
Asking powerful questions, listening to my clients, with my mind, heart and soul, has transformed me as a human being. Which makes me wonder… what might it do for you?
What might listening with intention do for your relationships and your career? Do you have any tips or tricks that might enhance this list?
It has been an amazing experience building readership on this site. I have gone from a few readers to several hundred per month! I am by no means done. I look forward to continuing to grow the readership and bringing you many more enriching articles in the future.
I hope that you will visit Rivercitycoaching, engage in the conversation. I hope that you will join me on this journey to bring together a community of curious and creative career voyagers!
Your Creative Coach,