Listening as a Life Coach
Often as life coaches we can become incredibly concerned with a lot of things out of our control. Things such as…
“I hope she likes me.”
“Does he think I’m doing it right?”
“Are they going to achieve their goals?”
“What if they ask for a refund?”
Our inner chatter and ego can start to have it’s own dance party inside our head, sending us down worrisome pathways that can not only shake our confidence and abilities as a coach, but drive a connection wedge between us and our clients. We can easily become fixated on things in the coaching relationship that we think are going to make things better and more meaningful for our clients, when in fact it detracts from them. And sometimes I also think we become fixated on the latest trend or way of working, because we think that maybe ‘that’s the way’ things will really start to help make ‘it’ happen for our clients.
Amongst all of this can be a simple forgetting or losing of one of the great fundamentals of not just great life coaching, but great human exchange.
And I’m not just talking about your average garden variety listening that we do by default, while our real intent is focused elsewhere. Driving and trying to co-ordinate diaries for next weekends already overwhelming plans. Four pots on the go in the kitchen while our partner is trying to tell us their soul is being sucked out at work. Checking Facebook on our iPad, with the television humming, and knowing our flatmate is talking to us but not really what about.
The reason why life coach listening skills are so important goes beyond the obvious.
Of course we must not only listen to our clients, but we need to truly hear them. Hear their intent, their fears, their longing, their joy and their underlying needs. We cannot be expected to deeply serve them if we don’t listen and hear.
However listening as a life coach is so powerfully important for more than this. Have you ever considered how the quality of your listening impacts the quality of the questions you ask? How the quality of your listening also impacts the clients ability for them to hear themselves at a deeper level? That level where their intuition, spirit, heart and soul speaks?
If you are entangled with fearful or ego based thoughts such as wondering and worrying if your clients like you or if you’re doing your coaching ‘right’ I have one very big tip to share with you today that I hope can quieten that inner chatter and make you feel more grounded in your power and knowledge as a life coach and the extraordinary power you are helping create in someone’s life.
Do not worry about things you cannot control such as whether your client likes you, or does their actions, or will or will not follow through on what they have decided they will do.
Instead, when next in a session, set yourself the intention to truly and deeply and presently and with full focus, listen to your client and every single word they say. Listen with curiosity and not from default. Leave assumptions aside and everything you know of them in the past. Be with them just in that moment and listen to them like you’ve never listened before.
And this is what is likely to happen…
You will see and hear amazing things about your client that you may never have known and they don’t know themselves
You will hear nuance and subtlety upon nuance and subtlety that will allow you to truly know, maybe for the very first time, what is holding your client back or preventing them from being their true and real self
You will release any fears you have about not knowing what to say
You will give yourself the power to ask the most extraordinary questions
The pace of your coaching session will be slower, deeper and richer, and you will both become less focused on what there is ‘to do’ and more focused on how your client can just ‘be’ their best and most beautiful self
Being able to tap into the heart of your life coaching clients and support them to achieve amazing things is not found wrapped up in the latest technique, fancy worksheet or trick question. It’s firstly and foremostly found in a space where spacious, deep and present listening occurs.
Try it. You’ll never go back to skim, speed or surface listening again. And your abilities as a life coach will deepen and richly improve.