In our article, entitled What does the life coach/client relationship look like? we outlined what types of listening skills there are out there. These types of listening are critical listening, empathetic listening, pleasurable listening and active listening. In this article, we’ll delve into what is involved in active listening as this is a vital skill for life coaching.
To maintain good coaching relationships, you need to embrace active listening. ‘To hear’ means the ability to be aware of, and receive, sound. Listening is about understanding the sound that you’ve heard and communicating to the speaker that you’ve done so.
The consequences of active listening are awe inspiring. It helps you to establish rapport and trust with your life coaching clients. It encourages people to express their feelings and relate their experiences.
If a client is listened to in an attentive and active manner they are encourage to take responsibility for working at improving their own skills. In addition, listening actively may lessen defensiveness. If you listen actively to your life coaching clients a basis for discussing challenges and encouraging clients to assume responsibility rather than avoiding it. When two people are engaged in a scenario where one has the complete attention of the other, these two individuals tend to think more carefully about what they communicate.
How to actively listen as a life coach
We are not active listeners
Unfortunately, we remember between 25 and 50% of what is heard. This means that when you talk to your boss, colleagues, customers or spouse for 10 minutes they pay attention to less than half of the conversation.
Clearly, listening is a skills that we can all benefit from improving. If you improve these skills your productivity will increase. This is true for your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate. What’s more, you’ll avoid conflict and misunderstandings. All of these are necessary for workplace success!
You need to be highly self-aware if you want to be a good communicator. You will go a long way towards creating good and lasting impressions with others by understanding your personal style of communicating.
Become an active listener
There are five key elements of active listening. They all help you to ensure that you hear the other persona and that the other person knows you are hearing what they say;
Make sure that the speaker has your undivided attention. Acknowledge the message. Remember that non-verbal communication also ‘speaks’ loudly:
- Look at the speaker directly
- Put aside distracting thoughts
- Avoid being distracted by environmental factors
Show that you are listening
Use your body language and gestures to convey your attention:
- Nod occasionally
- Smile and use other facial expressions
- Note your posture and make sure that it is open and inviting
Our personal filters, assumptions, judgements and beliefs can distort what we hear. Your role, as a listener, is to understand what is being spoken. In addition, you need to ask questions.
Interrupting is a waste of time. If frustrates the speak and limits full understanding of the message:
- Allow the speaker to finish
- Don’t interrupt with counter arguments
Active listening is a model for respond and understanding. You are gaining information and perspective. Don’t attack the speaker or put him or her down:
- Always remain Be candid, open and honest when you answer
- Assert your opinions respectfully
- Make sure that you handle the other person as he or she would want to be treated
If takes a lot of concentration and determination to be an active listener. Old habits are half to break and if your listening habits are as bad as many people’s are then there’s a lot of habit-breaking to do. Be cautious when you listen. Remind yourself often that your goal is to truly hear what the other person is saying.
Do you want to learn more about essential life coaching skills? Trifocus Fitness Academy’s Life Coaching Certification Course is the perfect way for you to achieve what you want to! For more information, follow this link.