Learning to Mindfully Listen

A significant part of being a good coach and leader is to be a good listener. The ability to intentionally listen helps to create a partnership with the person you are conversing with. This opens up a level of trust and can bring out aspects of that person that would otherwise have stayed hidden. Understanding that your success is based on the success of others around you can lead you to have a new perspective on your conversations. The coaching partnerships you form are dependent on your ability to interact positively with those you lead. Learning how to do the following can assist you with learning to mindfully listen in your dialogues with others:

  1. Convey a genuine interest in what they are saying. Learn not to interrupt or be absorbed in your own thoughts or forming your responses while that person is still speaking. Leave room in the conversation for the other person to speak and don’t do all the talking yourself.
  2. Absorb what is being said. Hear the words but also note the body language and emotions of the other person. Words are not the only form of communication.
  3. Recite back what that person has been saying by summarizing what you have heard. This allows the other person to feel like they are being listened to and they can confirm whether their actual message has been received.
  4. Extend the dialogue with questions, especially open-ended questions that can allow for expansion of the conversation. This may allow your partner to explore new ideas and lets them know you value what they have to say.
  5. Lastly, provide feedback that isn’t critical or patronizing. Use this feedback as a catalyst for positive development.

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