How To Have a Powerful Coaching Session – Step 2: Learn How To Listen Deeply
One of the many things I enjoy about being coached is that I am seen and heard. (Yes, it’s true, if you want to be a great coach you’ve got to take the time to be coached and do your own personal work too!)
To have an entire session where someone listens to me, what I’m feeling and what I want as I work towards my next goal or growth spurt is, I think, one of the most basic human needs.
Years ago, this quote from Oprah came across my desk. I wrote it on a post-it note and it’s still there. Even though the paper is all wrinkled, faded and curled up I keep it close because for me it solidifies what I think is the most important reason for being a coach.
Oprah said that every single person she has ever interviewed wants to know these 3 things.
Do you see me?
Did you hear me?
Did what I say matter to you?
Truly, it’s one of our most basic human needs to be validated and heard.
To have the most powerful coaching session with your clients’ you must be an excellent listener.
How do you do this?
When I did my coach training with The Coaches Training Institute (CTI), they teach about the levels of listening which are aptly named Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3.
Level 1 Listening is when you’re listening and at the same time wondering, how does this affect me? What will I say next?
You’re listening and focused on yourself.
Level 2 Listening is when you’re listening and you completely forget about yourself. You’re mesmerized and completely absorbed in the speaker and what they are saying. Someone could drop a dish in the coffee shop where you’re having your conversation and you wouldn’t even notice it.
You’re listening and entirely focused on the speaker.
Level 3 Listening is global listening. Not only are you listening to the words, but you’re also noticing what else is happening in the space and with the other people nearby. You notice their facial expressions, body language and a certain emotion or feeling in the air.
An example of this kind of listening is when you walk in your front door and you know something has just happened, you don’t know what it is yet, but there’s a tension in the air.
You probably learned about modes of listening, perhaps with a different naming convention, when you were taking your coach training too.
You're listening to the words being spoken and what's going on around you.
How can you improve your listening skills during your coaching sessions?
Here are a few hints:
- Take 5 minutes before each call and get centred. Sit quietly, and to get fully present, do some relaxation breathing.
- Minimize distractions.
- Turn off all electronics.
- Close your eyes while you listen to them.
- Slow the pace down. Practice pausing a little longer than normal after the client has finished speaking instead of summarizing, making an observation or jumping on to the next powerful question.
- When you start to think of your opinion about what the client is saying, how you would handle their situation, or what to make for dinner, pause and turn your focus back to the client. You can accomplish this when you turn your body towards them, lean in, look more closely at them.
- Think kind, loving and respectful thoughts towards your client. When you realize how much you care for them, you are more apt to listen deeply.
- Make it a habit to notice which level of listening you are in and then shift away from Level 1 to Level 2 and 3.
- Listen to the tone of their voice. Do they sound bored and detached? Do you notice they have a habit of nervously clearing their throat or a self-deprecating laugh when they get uncomfortable? This can help you get closer in tune with them.
- Listen to how fast they speak. Do they nervously rush forward or hesitate as they try to figure out how to put their thoughts into words? Get curious about what this tells you.
- When you coach in person or on video, do they have a physical habit that tells you they are relaxed or if something is amiss. For example, some people cover their throat as protection or play with their hair as a distraction.
So now it’s your turn. Which of these tips will you use this week? Next, share your favourite listening skill with me. What makes it powerful????? Press the 'Message Us' button on the right side of your screen. I can’t wait to hear from you.
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