If you want to be a great coach you must be a great listener.
Listening skills are essential for anyone who wants to be a great coach. Most people think that if they hear somebody, they must be listening to them, but that isn’t true at all.
Hearing is the passive act of perceiving sound by the ear, but listening is active. Listening is something you intentionally choose to do. It requires concentration so that your brain can process what is heard and then create meaning from words and sentences. On average, people forget between one thirds and half of what we heard within 8 hours. The responsibility of coaching means that it isn’t good enough to be average.
Great listeners ask questions that tap into the coachee’s ideas and wisdom. They listen for what is not said. They check in to make sure they understand what the other person is saying. They stay focused, they have patience, they don’t make assumptions, and they get it right. Most of us aren’t born with it, but lucky for us, great listening is a skill that we can learn and practice.
What gets in the way of being a great listener?
Many things get in the way of being a great listener. Some of the challenges are human and some of them are technological, but we have to be alert to them all before we start listening.
- Distractions in the room
- Mentally scripting what you need to do or say next
- Tempting incoming emails and text messages
- The need to get your point out or disagree with the coachee
- Boredom or disinterest in the topic
- Complacency about listening
And the other person in your conversation faces all the same challenges while they listen to you.
Why being a great listener is so important for coaches
The ICF defines listening as the “Ability to focus completely on what the client is saying and is not saying, to understand the meaning of what is said in the context of the client’s desires, and to support client self-expression.”
People are yearning to be listened to and listening leads to learning. As coaches we help our clients go farther, faster, easier, quicker, and better than they would have without a coach. But there is no way to do this if we aren’t listening to what the client is really saying.
Great listening skills have never been as important as they are today. People are dealing with so much information and so many distractions while facing bigger and more complex challenges. People need to be listened to.
Great coaches learn great listening skills.
We teach great coaches
We have a wide range of programs that incorporate listening skills into learning. The following tables provide an overview of our courses.
|Take the first step towards coaching
|Obtain an ICF Associate Certified Coach (ACC) Credential
|On your way to an ICF Credential?
|Experienced coaches wanting CCE’s in Core Competencies
|Introduce or train others in coaching
To find out more about our programs and where you can enhance your listening skills, schedule a call with our Program Advisor.