Listening Techniques from Coach Training

In good coach training programs, listening techniques are an essential competency to include.  What are the barriers to effective listening?  One is biographical listening which means whatever is said triggers internal thinking about our own experience rather than really listening.  Another is responder listening meaning we are figuring out our response so we miss much of what is said.  A third common barrier is analyzer thinking and it happens either when we are busy analyzing the information or analyzing the speaker instead of hearing what is said.

What are the techniques executive coaches use to move past these barriers?  We start with listening intentionally and actively where we are completely focused on the speaker.  Then we use rephrasing which means using a few of the speaker’s key words then putting the rest in our own words to verify understanding and demonstrate we listened.  Additionally we may reflect the emotions behind the words back to the speaker to further ensure meaning and show understanding.

How does it make a difference?  Consider this brief example:

Client: My inbox is overloaded!

Coach: Are you worried you cannot keep up?

This is poor listening – the coach analyzed and is interpreting and judging.

Now apply effective listening:

Coach: Tell about your inbox.

Here the coach is opening the door to explore what the situation is so that with understanding the focus can become strategizing solutions.

Active Listening is one of the Core Competencies as published by the International Coaching Federation and is an essential skill for executive, life, and business coaching.

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