This weekend I was at a family event and my aunt asked me what I like most about coaching and I said listening, the power of truly listening which is super duper rare.
To be able to reflect on a client the very words and truths that are in the midst of their story is powerful. The thing they didn’t realise they had said. We don’t listen anymore and often we don’t take the time to listen to ourselves, inside and outside moments of conversation.
We have all we need within us, but we rarely take the time to treasure hunt in our own hearts and minds about the things that are important to us. As a coach, my greatest pleasure is to be a good listener to a client because It is only through listening that you give people permission to tell their stories.
Think about it:
- Podcasts and TED talks are huge and continue to be published because we are listening! Social media is full of people who began to speak out and share then as they realise more people are listening they continue to speak
- Eventbrite, meetups, bumble are all platforms that thrive on our desire to connect, listen and learn from one another
- If you keep cutting me off, I’m not exactly going to feel invited to continue my sentence
These are simple truths that hide in plain sight. I couldn’t tell you the number of times my boyfriend has had to remind me of what I said the day before in the midst of my tall tale, I can tell you from first-hand experience my mouth doesn’t tire when I’m ready to vent or recount.
Now, that’s in the unspoken contract between all my close friends and partner, I’m allowed to fill every silence with my voice, but when I pause and it’s time to listen, I listen because I remember what it feels like to be heard.
This honour and skill are multiplied by 100 with my clients; you see, coaching is NOT about me, it’s about the other person and giving them enough room and permission to share the fullness of their story within the rare and unique confidential space where I am there simply to serve and encourage them to be selfish, yes self-ish.
Anyone who has a coaching conversation is selfish because they are taking the time to set apart time JUST for themselves, it’s not about what your children want or husband is doing or wife envisions of you.
It’s about what you want for yourself, what you think for yourself and what you know of yourself.
And this is only possible through really truly listening and honouring the individuals’ commitment to self and selfishness.
Here are some reflections to help you give the gift of listening to those around you:
- Anytime you want to interrupt, ask how that will help or support the other person
- Sometimes it isn’t the time for words, perhaps what you are burning to communicate can be shared in another way, often a hand squeeze, eye contact and an intentional focus on the person can say all you wanted to say?
- Will I truly fall apart if I don’t get to tell my story today? How often does this person get heard and truly listened to?
- If after those questions you have listened and are ready to share then be my guest, and then take a deep breath and let the gift of listening really sink in.