We’ve written before about the skill of listening as a tool for great leaders and it is always good to recall the oft repeated phrase about having two ears and one mouth and using them proportionally! As coaches the Xenonex team know that all good coaching conversations start with good listening.
This short article adapted from “What Great Listeners Actually Do,” by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman gives some good advice that we can all take on board.
Some people equate good listening with sitting silently, nodding, making eye contact, and, when the speaker is done, paraphrasing what you heard. But these things are only part of what makes someone feel that you heard them.
The best listeners go deeper by trying to understand the substance of what the other person is saying.
Doing this requires that you ask questions to clarify your understanding and push the other person to better articulate their position, examine any assumptions they’re making, and see the issues in new light.
You should also try to empathise with and validate any emotions the speaker is conveying. Once you’ve made sure the person feels supported, you can offer some thoughts and ideas about the topic that could be useful to the other person.
Just be careful not to highjack the conversation so that you or your agenda becomes the subject of the discussion!
Xenonex is an approved ILM Centre and is recognised for the quality and standard of its training in the National ILM Hall of Fame. The Xenonex team trains internal and external coaches and has experience of developing and embedding coaching within the public and private sector.
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