Listening Skills – Key to great coaching

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Listening is such a huge part of a quality coaching and therapeutic relationship. However there are a number of different types of listening:

  • Superficial/cosmetic listening -It looks like I’m listening but I’m not.
  • Conversational Listening - I’m engaged but also talking, thinking, watching others.
  • Active listening - I’m very focused on what you are saying, recording facts paying attention, asking questions.
  • Deep listening - I’m more focused on you than me and I’m getting a sense of who you are.

What are the characteristics of active listening?

  • Vocal responses e.g. ‘ uh-huh’ or ‘mmn’
  • Non-verbal responses e.g. nodding head, facial expression
  • Eye contact
  • Facial expression…what’s your listening face?
  • Summarising and paraphrasing
  • Checking understanding
  • Reflecting (repeating back the words used to encourage more development
  • Picking up language deletions, distortions and generalisations
  • Understanding and noting client metaphors and style of communicating
  • Understanding how to have the most leverage with coachee
  • Noting body language
  • Noting tones and ‘leakage’
  • Questions
  • Silence

What are the characteristics of deep listening?

  • Mind of listener mostly calm and quiet
  • Awareness entirely focused on other person
  • Little or awareness of self
  • Totally lucid and present to person speaking
  • State can easily be broken or disturbed-by a question from a speaker etc
  • An intention to serve –seek to understand, help, provide support

Note: Can’t stay in this state for long because we have other types of   listening and interaction to do!

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