How many times have you felt someone was not hearing what you were saying? Have you ever caught yourself preparing your answer while someone was still talking? Have things you heard generated memories that took you away from a conversation? Chances are these questions ring true for most. Moving forward, coaches learn techniques to enhance their listening skills.
One of these techniques, rephrasing, is sometimes misunderstood and misused. Rephrasing is when the coach listens to the client, and then to verify understanding, the coach rephrases what the client said in the coaches own words. Sometimes people restate, or parrot, what was said – that is repeating it exactly. Restating or parroting may create a false sense of understanding because words have different meanings to different people. By rephrasing in their own words using only some of the same words, there is an opportunity for the coach and the client to verify understanding.
When a coach requires themselves to rephrase, whether or not they do it each time, they listen completely. Coaches focus on the client which means listening with intention. A coach wants to hear what you say, how you say it, and understand what it means to you.
Because the coach focuses completely on the client, the coach hears what is said; the coach hears how it is said too. The coach is trained to understand different approaches to communication and different personalities so that the coach adjusts to the client. This enhances communication and understanding, which in turn enhances the ease with which the client is empowered to think openly, explore possibilities, plan, and follow-through to achieve what they choose.
Do you think rephrasing is sometimes misused? What difference does effective rephrasing make?