The Gift of Listening
By Cathy Liska
Listening, really listening, is a gift. How often do you want that gift? How often do you give that gift?
During coach training, one of the competencies we work on developing is listening. When participants practice with the techniques taught, they are often surprised by how much of a gap there is between how well they thought they listen and how well they do listen. Challenge yourself: the next time you find yourself multi-tasking, stop everything you are doing, turn to the speaker, and listen. Summarize what they say and ask to ensure you got it right. Ask for more information. As you do this, note what happens for them.
Completing coaching certification requires practicing coaching. During the coaching sessions, the coach really listens, rephrases, and asks another question. This is the flow of a great coaching session.
The funny thing is we often have the mistaken idea that answering their question, giving advice, sharing similar experiences, or explaining is helpful. The reality is that the more we give people the opportunity to first be heard and understood, then second to explore and expand their thinking, the more we help. People are, ultimately, their own best experts. They do know how to figure it out. When they find their own answer, and choose their own action steps, they follow through. Give them the space to do this and you give them a gift.