We’re all working so hard to listen, but are we really hearing anything?

As coaches we are trained to listen.  We practice listening and we get assessed on our listening skills.

With our friends and family we also listen.  At times we may not listen deeply enough or we may “over do it” and forget to take our coaching hats off when we are “off – duty.”

No matter what we do, rest assured – we are focused on listening.

But what about hearing?

woman-with-hand-to-ear-photoAs coaches, we hope to hear what is  underneath what our clients are saying.  We hope to hear the deep connection and the clues to insights and opportunities.

And with friends and family, we hope to hear something that will help us to gain deeper understanding and build compassion.

So often listening is more about what we believe and think than truly understanding the message that our clients, family, and friends are trying to convey.   It’s the age-old question – does that tree falling in the forest really make a sound if we are not there to hear it?

How much of what we listen to gets strained through our filters, resulting in a stew of misunderstanding, and how much do we take in purely as it was intended?

Where do we begin to tune up our hearing skills and how can we build on those skills we already possess?

Here are a few tips:

    1. I ALREADY KNOW THE END OF THE STORY:  Be vigilant with your own narration.  When you are listening to someone – do you ever think you “know where they are headed with what they are saying?”


    1. THIS PERSON IS ALWAYS LIKE THIS:  Notice any preconceived judgements you have about the person who is speaking.  For example, if you are listening to your sister and you find yourself assuming that she is sharing another example of what you assume to be true about her, like she is “disorganized” or “selfish.”


    1. IT’S HOW I WANT IT TO BE:  Also notice if you are listening for what you want to hear and cleverly eliminating any evidence that doesn’t match that desire.


    1. YOU SHOULD BE DOING IT MY WAY:  Take note of any “shoulds” that you might be placing on the person speaking or beliefs about the situation they are describing.


  1. I’VE GOT THE ANSWER!  Notice that you have the solution to the situation or problem.

We have opportunities to listen every single day and we’ve become very skilled at listening deeply. Time to take on a new challenge? In addition to listening, how can we deepen what we hear?

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Click here to learn more about Listen to Real Coaching Volumes 1 & 2