There is also a human natural tendency to evaluate and judge. Sometimes people get so busy criticizing what the other person is saying that they don’t hear them. Frequently, the listener’s personal interpretations, attitudes, biases, and prejudices lead to ineffective communication.
Active Listening and Coaching
One of the ICF’s Core Competencies for coaching is Active Listening which in the coaching environment is defined as:
the ability to focus completely on what the client is saying and is not saying, to understand the meaning of what is said in the context of the client’s desires, and to support client self-expression.
But why is Active listening such an important skill that coach should have? Active listening is an important way to bring about changes in people. Despite the popular notion that listening is a passive approach, clinical and research evidence clearly shows that sensitive listening is a most effective agent for individual personality change and group development.
Coaching is about supporting the client to move from where they are to where they want to be; and since listening brings about changes in people’s attitudes toward themselves and others; it also brings about changes in their basic values and personal philosophy.
People who have been listened to in this new and special way becomemore emotionally mature, more open to their experiences, less defensive, more democratic, and less authoritarian.
When people are listened to sensitively, they tend to listen to themselves with more care and to make clear exactly what they are feeling and thinking.
Besides providing more information than any other activity, listening builds deep, positive relationships and tends to alter constructively the attitudes of the listener.
The proper use of active listening results in getting clients to open up and building trust. In the coaching context, benefits include increased client confidence which allows them to be themselves and it improves the outcomes of the coaching relation.
Active listening is a specific communication skill. It shows the other person, both verbally and nonverbally that the listener is truly interested.
Active listening is more than just paying attention, active listening is a specific communication skill, based on the work of psychologist Carl Rogers, which involves giving free and undivided attention to the speaker.
In the coaching field Active listening is a dynamic commitment to understanding how clients feel and how they see the world. It means putting aside coaches own prejudices and beliefs, anxieties and self-interest, so that they can step behind their client’s eyes and envision their perspective.
ICF-certified coaches must learn and master the practice of Active Listening in order to gain complete learning and understanding about their client(s). Active listening allows the client to vent the situation and then move on to the next appropriate steps.
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