Listening is a gift. How often has someone really listened and understood you? Chances are the answer is not often enough. Given the value of the gift of listening, what keeps us from listening more? Of course the obvious things include time, competing priorities, and environment. At a deeper level, the biggest barrier is the energy and focus required to really listen.
As with presence, really listening is much more than is obvious. Listening means hearing what is intended, hearing what is not said, hearing what is said, and being aware of the bigger picture.
Listening calls for understanding the speaker in terms of how they think and process. This includes an understanding of different personalities, different learning styles, language patterns, and thought processes.
Listening calls for clearing the mind of everything else.
- Clearing away similar experiences
- Clearing away any analysis
- Clearing away opinions and ideas
Listening means being present and listening with the intention of really hearing and understanding. Intentional listening focuses all of the senses on the speaker. The listener rephrases and reflects back to support clarity and mutual understanding.
Listening means committing all of the senses to hearing and understanding.
In a coaching relationship the role of the coach is to intentionally listen so that the coach is able to serve the client with powerful questions and exploration.