Most people believe they are good listeners and believe most others are not. Most coaches believe they are good listeners. Some actively develop their listening skills through ongoing professional development and application. From a client’s perspective, the coach who seeks opportunities to continue learning and developing their skills is a coach that cares about the quality of their work.
An excellent coach knows that listening and understanding are elemental skills for an effective coaching relationship. A simple way to recognize the skill of the coach to listen and understand is to note whether the coach does much talking. The more talking a coach is doing, the less listening they are doing. If a coach has an example, similar story, or idea for each thing a client brings up, chances are they are not really listening.
While in a good training program, coaches learn the difference between active listening, rephrasing, and reflective listening. In coaching sessions during the coach’s training, the coach uses these skills and receives feedback. The trainer, an observer, and the client provide a coach-in-training with an evaluation of their coaching. An excellent coach eagerly seeks this feedback and learns from it to further develop and enhance their skills.
Excellence in coaching simply demands excellence in listening skills.