What Do Great Coaches Listen For?

What do the “Great” coaches listen for?

Perhaps few other professions are more familiar with the art of active listening than professional coaches. One of the highest compliments paid to great coaches by their clients is, “He/she hears me and isn’t just waiting for their turn to say something.”  But for what, exactly, are the best professional coaches listening? Read More ›

Engaged Listening Takes Heart

IAC Engaged Listening Takes Heart IAC Coaching Mastery #3  is  Engaged Listening and in the ICF Core Competencies, Core Competency #5 is Active Listening so as you can see, the IAC and ICF core coaching skill in this area are in alignment. I will refer to this skill as Engaged Listening since CCI (Christian Coach Institute) is a licensed Coaching Mastery School of IAC.

When I think of an “engaged listener”,  I get a picture of an intimate kind of listening where two people are deeply connected at the heart level. In one of our coach training classes last week, I asked the coaches-in-training to give me a word that would describe “engaged”, and I heard the words committed, bonded, connected and interwoven …mmm great words to describe communication on a deeper than normal level.   Aren’t these great words to describe an  engaged listener?  Don’t you yearn to be listened to by someone who is “engaged”?

Over the years, as I have studied and researched to sharpen my own skills and to learn more so I can share more with our coaches-in-training,  I have  really grown to appreciate listening as more of an art.  I learned that in Chinese, “to listen”  is expressed using the characters that include not only the ears but also eyes, undivided attention and the heart. As we listen to a client and use our eyes, ears, and heart, we have the potential to understand the feeling, meaning and content of the messages we receive from that client. Doesn’t that sound more like an art than simply a skill to be acquired?

Kimberly Dinsdale, a Master Coach and Coach Trainer for Christian Coach Institute, describes 3 ways of listening in her article, Listening in the Third Way“.   Her 3 ways of listening  are 1)Agree with listening  2)Disagree with listening, and 3) “Be With Listening”.  Kimberly explains “Be With Listening” means exactly what it sounds like. Be. Here. Now. In the Moment. Be here physically, emotionally,mentally. Truly be with the person you are listening to. How would  you like to be listened to in such an intimate way that you feel the person “really gets you”?

IAC  Coaching Mastery #3 is Engaged Listening and is defined as “gives full attention to the words, nuances, and the unspoken meaning of the client’s communication; the coach is more deeply aware of the client, his/her concerns and the source of the issue, by listening beyond what the client is able to articulate. And as a coach, when we are an engaged listener, the effect on our clients is : 1)The client feels understood and validated – not judged and 2) The client communicates more effortlessly and resourcefully.

On a scale of 1 – 7, how would you rate your listening skills as an Engaged,  Active “Be With Listener”? What one action can you take to improve your listening today?

‘I know that you think you understand what you heard me say, but I’m not sure you realize that what I said was not what I meant.” –  unknown

Coaching In The Silence

Silence-in-coachingMy dear Grandma Clara was a bit of a Christian Life Coach and never knew it. She had the gift of knowing how to ask a wonderful, thought provoking question and then resting in silence, allowing a 12 year old to discover. I was a chatty child and so many times, I remember how she would gently lean down into my face and take hold of both my ears, and squatting down at face level, she would say so softly, “Janice, God gave you two ears and one mouth, and He intends for you to listen twice as much as you talk.” Oh, such a wise and gentle spirited woman. Thank you, Grandma Clara!

Good coaching is comfortable with silence, giving the client time to reflect and respond which is a critical skill for coaches to master. There is no need to jump in thinking you are helping. Some of the most powerful moments in coaching take place in the silence. It is here that a client reflects, processes, discovers, and has many aha moments. There are golden moments when a coach can hear more than the words spoken for the power is behind the words that remain unspoken.  Most importantly, it is in these moments of silence and reflection that our role is to allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in the client and this is between the client and the Holy Spirit.  ….. “Peace, Be Still and know that I am God…”

As an IAC Licensed Coaching Masteries School, we train our students to give full attention to the words, nuances, and the unspoken meaning of our client’s communication.

What is your client saying in the silence? How are you coaching in the silence?

The Gift of Engaged Listening

One of the greatest gifts we can give to another is the gift of listening. I feel so special when my husband says, “Tell me about your day, sweetheart. What was the best part?” And to see him put aside the newspaper, or the computer, and just sit and listen to me warms my heart. No, ladies, it doesn’t happen every single day, certainly often enough that I can say I am blessed to receive. Oh, you know the kind of listening…. the leaning in, connecting, heart warming, “in the moment with you”, “I get you” kind of listening that takes all of our senses to give to another.

When was the last time you offered this gift to your spouse, child, friend or even the person sitting next to you in school, or class? When was the last time you received this gift? Share your stories with us … Where were you? Were you the receiver or giver? How did you feel as the giver, and if you were the receiver, how did you feel?

And, our children, oh how they are in tune to when we are really listening to them. Yes, moms and dads, they know if you are flipping thru the channels on the remote, or watching the news, washing dishes.

So for those reading this, I hope you will gift the gift tonight to your spouse, or children, or friend.