As a coach one of our basic skills is listening to your client. This is more than just listening like you listen to your friend or your partner your children, it listening to understand, not to respond.
The power of a few seconds of silence after the client speaks, can open the space for more understanding. [Click to Tweet
(0:01) This is what Powerful Listening looks like
(0:26) Typically we listen to respond
(0:54) Coaches listen not to respond, but to understand
(1:13) Coaches help clients to process verbally
(1:23) Use silence to learn more from your client
(1:48) The silence is 2-5 seconds
(2:10) Practice using silence and share your findings
This Is What Typical Communication Looks Like
In typical communication, we are usually listening to respond. While you are speaking, I am listening, I am still hearing the words you are saying. Usually within the first five seconds I have a general idea of what you said, so I begin to think in my mind how I’m going to respond. What questions I am going to ask. How does this affect me. My listening becomes less about you and more about me trying to figure out how I’m going to communicate back to you.
This Is How Coaches Communicate
When we are talking about powerful listening in coaching, as a coach you are there there to listen 80% of the time and to speak 20% of the time. This is usually to ask questions or to re-frame, but to be focused completely on the client. There is seldom space for you, the coach to input your own ideas of your own impressions. When you are powerfully listening as a coach you fully engaged with the client to allow them to fully explain and process.
The Technique Of Silence
Something that goes hand in hand with powerful listening, is the power of silence. It sounds simple, but it requires the coach to turn off the part of their mind that wants to simply respond. Start with 2 or 3 seconds after the client is done sharing, even if they ask you question, leave a pause. Usually the client will fill the space with more information and more understanding about themselves. Try this technique of silence with a friend, spouse or child in your life. Practice some powerful listening by incorporating some powerful silence. It only takes 2-5 seconds. Share your findings in the comments section.