Listening and Hearing are not the same thing. Hearing is the physiological process of registering sound waves, any noise or sound in our presence we will hear. We have no control over what we hear. Listening on the other hand is an active process , it is something we CHOOSE to do.
This hilarious video doing the rounds on Facebook is an excellent example of two people talking to each other, but neither of them is listening. Watch it and have a laugh, then read on below for some more serious conversation about listening.
Too funny, right?
But all jokes aside it does actually demonstrate what happens when people don’t listen. Neither of them are getting their point across because both has their own agenda. And this is not uncommon. Actually being listened to is something that everyone craves and sometimes the most valuable thing we can do for our clients is to simply listen. But not just any kind of listening, ‘coach-like listening’
How do Coaches Listen?
1. Coaches Suspend Judgement
The first and most important things coaches do when they listen is suspend judgement. This is not as easy as it sounds and takes a fair bit of practice. You actually need to listen with absolutely no preconceived ideas about what your client should do or might do or even can do. You also need to ignore your own values, and unless your client is about to commit murder you have no place to judge their beliefs or values.
2. Coaches ATTEND to their Clients
The second trait of a great coach is the ability to really ATTEND to your client. Sometimes we call it being present for the client and in North America it is often referred to as “holding the space” for the client. This is the practice of creating a totally safe, totally client centered space in which the coaching occurs. As a coach your very BEING must be focused on your client, and for the time that you have together you must block out your own thoughts and things happening in your environment.
3. Coaches Listen with INTENT
The third skill of a great coach is the ability to listen with INTENT. Most coaches will create some sort of “Coaching Agreement” with their client when they first begin the relationship and it is this agreement that should form the basis of the coaching. And the coach should coach with the INTENT of doing all they can to help their client achieve their goals within the framework of that agreement.
And to finish off, you know something is funny if Ellen picks it up 🙂