The importance of listening
Did you know that there are varying levels of listening skills? I didn’t before I did my coaching training and it was the one biggest revelation to come out of my initial training.
There are 5 levels of listening in coaching and I though I would share them with you.
Level 1, interrupting, do you ever do this? Are you aware that you do it? How does it make you feel when others do it to you? It can be really worth reflecting on these questions as effective listening can improve all your relationships, at home, with family, in work and with friends. I cannot underestimate the power of truly listening.
Level 2, Hijacking - this is when someone tries to talk to you about somethings that they have done and you hijack the conversation to make it all about you. I know I used to do this a lot - check in with yourself - how often do you do this? When someone does it to you how does it make you feel?
Level 3, advising - not totally terrible but it isn't always helpful to have your problems solved by someone else and can be disempowering. Isn’t it more powerful and effective when you are empowered to solve them by yourself? Do you want someone to truly listen so that you can offload? Quite often when we have a safe space to offload we can process our thoughts and we can come up with our own solutions.
How does it make you feel when you have truly been listened to? Does it increase your connection with that person? It’s natural to want to help, and it’s not a bad thing to give advice but it is also not the most helpful and effective way of listening.
Level 4 is attentive listening - Really listening- looking at the speaker, giving your full attention, open body language, focusing on what the other person is saying (and not what you are going to have for dinner), asking questions, inviting more information etc. How does it make you feel when someone says to you - “tell me more, I really want to know”?
Level 5 is active listening - Listening behind the words and between the words; listening to the silences; using your intuition; prompting the person to explore; facilitating self learning and awareness; making suggestions.
The purpose of this blog is to get people thinking about the power of listening and how it can dramatically improve relationships.
Effective listening can also inform you of the response that is needed, because you have effectively heard what the other person has said. 'Listening with the heart', showing empathy and understanding and really putting yourself into somebody else's shoes can make the world of difference to your communication and relationships.
Mindfulness also comes into play here too because when you are truly listening to somebody else you are able to tell them what they have just said to you.
Try this; talk to somebody you know really well for a few minutes and then ask them to repeat back to you what you just said.
How well they have listened will be evident in their response. You can try this the other way around too and see how effective your listening is.
Try being quiet and allowing people to talk and see how it makes you and them feel. Does it change the way you think?
“ Karen Wilson from coaching culture at work says ; Levels 2 and 3 above have their time and their place in good management, particularly in mentoring, but they cannot be termed ‘listening’. These two levels may also be appropriate in normal conversation, which is often a process of trading information and ideas. It is useful to be aware of where we are in the five levels during any exchange, so we can consciously decide which to use. In a coaching session, we should almost always be in Levels 4 and 5; however, in a social situation Level 2 may be more comfortable for all parties, and Level 3 is sometimes useful, particularly when someone has come to us specifically for advice”
How many of us really take the time to truly listen to each other and really understand what we are being told?
I know when I am truly listened to, how it makes me feel. It makes me feel understood, it validates my thoughts, feelings and Ideas, it can truly boost peoples confidence and empower people.
This is part of why I love coaching and empowering others to discover what they are truly capable of and of course giving them space to talk and be heard.
Happy listening xxxx