Listening and clear, direct language are essential skills for coaches in each and every coaching session. Coaches are called upon to challenge themselves and recognize that these are skills to work on continuously. The reality is that most of us give ourselves more credit in terms of these skills than is perhaps accurate, so when we recognize there is room to enhance our skills we are on our way.
There are many barriers to listening including distractions, competing priorities, interest or belief, and simply being rested. There are different listening styles including:
- Biographical wherein we relate everything to our own experiences and thus miss much of what is being said.
- Responding which means we are busy formulating a response instead of listening.
- Analyzing either the speaker or what they are saying missing most of what is said.
Listening effectively requires intention. When the listener rephrases and reflects, the speaker knows they are heard and understood, and the listener is improving their own skills. A coach listens with intention.
The words we use significantly impact listening, understanding, focus, and outcomes. Choosing words that say what we do want instead of what we don’t want seems simple; it requires practice. Consider this example:
- “I don’t want to work so many hours and be so stressed.”
- “I want to plan my day so it is organized and so I work 8 hours.”
Rather than talking about what is not wanted, talk about what is wanted.
Using intentional listening and clear, direct language ensures effective coaching sessions.