As the coaching part of my business grows, I’m finding myself doing even more listening than usual. Lots and lots of listening.
And I’m discovering that how well I’m listening is almost nothing to do with what I’m ‘doing’ as I’m listening – but totally to do with my state of mind in the moment, and the extent to which I’m listening from a place I call ‘Home’: not much on my mind, a feeling of calm clarity and well-being, and plugged in to Life. And from this place, a deep connection with the other person happens naturally.
It’s funny as I think back on all the courses I’ve taught (and been on as a participant) over the years that have focused on listening, with all the well-meant advice and tips: match and mirror their body language; lean in, nod in the right places; summarise their words back to them; make the sounds of acknowledgement “mmmm….uhuh…yes”.
I realize now that so much of the listening I used to do was a kind of “Stand still whilst I fix you!” listening. I was listening intently, but what I was listening for was the moment when I could ‘intervene’ in some way – using one of the gazillion tools I had at my fingertips. Getting ready with my next ‘killer’ question. Or I was listening to ‘affirm’ and to ‘build rapport’.
As I let go of all this, I find there’s a deeper, richer and much more natural connection which happens all by itself. This connection allows their wisdom to come through. It allows them to tune in again to the beautiful and gentle sound of the metaphorical piccolo which is always playing – but often gets drowned out by the metaphorical crashing brass band playing in their heads.
There’s something about being listened to in this way that frees the imagination, fires up the mojo, and nourishes the spirit.
How will you listen today?