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
I want to tell you about my own personal experience of past life regression therapy.
We opened our holistic wellbeing centre in 2011, I was open to all sorts and dabbling in tarot, psychic abilities, and all things spiritual and mystical as well as mainstream stuff such as aromatherapy, massage, meditation, sports massage, yoga and bodywork etc.
In one of my psychic readings I had been told that I had been a witch in a past life and this made me eager to want to find out more (I was naive). I booked myself in for a past life regression therapy session with someone who came highly recommended to me. I had no idea what to expect.
I arrived at her house and she talked me through the process. I laid down and she took me into a meditative state. I cant even tell you how it happened or why my subconscious brain cooked up what happened for me.
Picture the scene - an old farmhouse many many years ago, my mum stood eerily watching from an upstairs window in the distance.
Me with my dad standing over me in a field and a car coming towards us on a long dirt track.
I knew instinctively what was going to happen and it had happened many times before. I wont go into detail, nevertheless I can assure you it was a very unpleasant experience.
I think I was left in shock, I paid £120 for the experience and after it was over she just said that it had gone on longer than expected and to contact her if I deemed it necessary.
The next day I crashed the car. My head was all over the place.
This experience affected me deeply and it is only now that I think about it and that I am training to be a therapeutic counsellor that I get angry that it was allowed to happen at all.
I want to raise awareness of this kind of thing happening. The problem is anything otherworldly or not deemed as mainstream is unregulated, there are no regulations or codes of ethics to adhere to. Nothing protects the therapist or the client.
As a Therapist of many years, A Personal Coach, A Teacher and a Trainee Counsellor I have a code of ethics that I have to adhere to, I have memberships with associations which give advice on all sorts and are there to help to protect me and my clients, I have public liability insurances, I have to ask my clients to complete working agreements to ensure their safety and to ensure confidentiality.
I talk to my clients about the process I will go through in our first sessions together so that they are completely aware of what is going on.
I am at last finding my voice on this and so much more.
The subconscious makes up 95% of the human brain and it can play tricks on us, it tells us stories that are not always true and will always think of the worst case scenario first because it is there to protect us from danger, ie i'll look for the threat so I can protect myself.
I would love for more to be done to protect people from these kinds of experiences and hopefully by me sharing mine it will raise awareness of what can happen.
I'm not saying all experiences are bad, I am sure some people have lovely past life regression therapy sessions. What I am saying is I didn't and I didn't feel pre-warned or protected in any way. If writing this can stop someone from having the same experience then that would be a good start.
I'll leave this with you to contemplate, it is a very interesting and controversial subject.......do we really have past lives or is it just our subconscious brain cobbling together a story of it's own from the experiences that we have already lived?
Having conversations about death and dying isnt something that a lot of us do in ordinary every day life unless we are forced to because someone we know is dying or in fact we are faced with he prospect ourselves.
Even writing this is filling me with dread and panic.
I am brought to this subject after having the opportunity to meet a wonderful lady called Amanda Blainey who has written a book on Death and holds regular death cafe's as well as having regular podcasts on the subject.
I am putting a link to Amanda's website and book at the bottom of this blog post.
Amanda really made me think and I suppose that is the point, she inspired me to want to learn more.
We discussed how well people plan for life and how this can affect their death.
I believe that there is a relevance to coaching.
Does how well you live your life and the quality of life that you live effect how well you will die?
People come to coaching for a variety of reasons, but usually it’s because they feel a lack of clarity, direction or need help with a certain area of their life such relationships, finances, career, regrets, fears or undealt with trauma. Tackling unhelpful behaviours and habits which can stem from trauma, upbringing or fixed patterns of beliefs and behaviours is another reason for coaching or counselling. Generally feeling unhappy or unfulfilled for some reason and not knowing why or what to do about it.
At the end of life sometimes it can be a hard and traumatic experience for those who haven’t prepared for their financial situation, planned ahead, have unfinished or unresolved business with family or friends, or haven’t done the things that they wanted to do in life, and therefore might find achieving a peaceful death difficult.
Is peace something we are all searching for? How do we find it?
Learning about ourselves and finding compassion for others who we have previously blamed and resented for something we percieved that they 'did to us' can bring us a new understanding and healing which can in turn lead to peace, and a feeling of healing and wholeness which in turn can help us live our lives from a much nicer place. Would it then follow that death would become a much more peaceful and easier experience?
Coaching can help to complete the circle and bring clarity, understanding and peace in our lives. This also gives us a completely different perspective, and approach to how we do life which will affect how we do death.
Two other things that come to my mind which I believe are relevant are responsibility and motivation.
Is how we take responsibility for ourselves in life linked to how we take responsibility for our own death? As a coach I am not responsible for my clients and indeed one of my main objectives is to find a way forward where my clients can take responsibility for themselves and take ownership of their own destiny.
For me thinking about death and dying motivates me to want to lead a more authentic, fuller and richer life, grabbing opportunity by the hands and not allowing anything or anyone stand in my way. The prospect of death clearly brings my life into sharp focus.
Poverty mentality is commonly found in people who have experienced poverty in childhood. It is a barrier to enjoying happiness and financial security. The remedy is to find ways of changing beliefs about money and focusing on what you have rather than what you don’t have; a process which sometimes requires assistance from a counsellor or coach.
There was a time that I didn’t even realise what a poverty mindset was, much less that it was a thing. I could see that there were successful people and not so successful people, people who are happy to work in a supermarket stacking shelves (nothing wrong with this) and people that are not. I couldn’t help but think what’s the difference between how these people think? I have always been very very determined, and driven towards a better life for myself and my family (Or running away from the life that I did have), but I didn’t realise that my mindset was holding me back my whole life. Every time I did well I would subconsciously sabotage because I didn’t think I was worthy of anything better.
All my effort and hard work wasted. The phrase work smarter, not harder comes to mind.
I remember the moment I was on the MOE training course in London and we were on the subject of a poverty mindset verses a growth mindset. That was a pivotal moment, so many lightbulbs were going off in my head and realisations dawning on me. Things suddenly began to make sense. I had the determination, the will and the want to make something of myself but I lacked self belief, and the right mindset. Because of my upbringing and past experiences I just didn’t believe I was worthy, and I would always beat myself up. I was incredibly hard on myself. Where was that ever going to get me?
I knew I needed to build my confidence, start believing in myself and start thinking very differently. It’s been a long process and something I am still working on now, however I now look at my achievements, and how far I have come, I accept myself warts and all (some days better than others) and can see my strengths and also know the areas I can work on to improve myself and my life. Progress leads to happiness.
I use my strengths and build upon them, knowing that I don’t have all the answers and that I am in a very lucky position to be able to learn from all the amazing people I am lucky enough to meet.
A poverty mindset can effect everything, it means that you may not have the same opportunities that others have had, and if you are lucky enough to realise that you are just as worthy as anyone else to have the life that you desire whilst you are still young enough to do something about it, you may still be years behind others who had a childhood of abundance either financially, or emotionally or both. This seems unfair and unjust.
A poverty mindset can hold you back in so many ways, it can leak into everything, how you feel about yourself, your education, your beliefs about what work you can do or not do, and how far you will push yourself. When in actual fact through learning, courage, self development and with the right support, encouragement and conditions you can overcome anything. This can therefore affect whether or not you feel you are worthy to buy your own home, have nice clothes, go on holiday, experience opportunities that you may see other more, worthy, people experiencing. Have you ever wondered why some people just seem to brim with confidence and have it all at their finger tips?
Mindset - they see the positive and possibilities in everything, they don’t sabotage what they have, and are grateful but also know that they are worthy of more and just keep going. When you don’t feel worthy of something it is hard to keep hold of it.
A strong foundation from childhood, emotionally, environmentally, financially, with a loving supportive family system will give any child the very best start in life.
The stresses and strains of modern life, difficulties in relationships, financial issues, any threat to a stable home life, low emotional maturity from parents or their own underlying undealt with trauma or issues can all lead to a poverty mindset, and this can go on for generations. There are patterns of behaviour which keep repeating until someone makes the change that they want to see.
I am passionate about inspiring others to believe in themselves and helping them to fulfil their potential. I want everyone to know that they have just as much right as anyone to do what ever they want to do, to follow their dreams, their passions and their burning light within.
Live the life you want without doubt, without fear, without judgement in everything. Live your life for you, not for anyone else. Don’t be afraid.
It is never too late to change the way you think, to change the way you behave, or to change the way that you perceive the world and others to be.
We may all feel that we are not good enough from time to time. Are you going to believe the negative self limiting thoughts and unhelpful negative script that you tell yourself or are you going to believe in something better? Hope? Possibility? Growth and progress?
Anything is possible, believe in yourself. You were put on this planet for a reason. What is your reason going to be?
Deprivation of any kind in childhood can lead to a poverty mindset or limiting self beliefs, which can lead to a life lived in fear and stagnation, not hope or possibility.
I am a mum of 2 teenagers and aunty and carer for 1 more. I am a wife, a business woman, an entrapenuer. I am someone who has drive, ambitions and goals. I am someone who also has the same struggles as everybody else and passionately wants to help people to thrive and be the best version of themselves. I love to learn and grow and pass on my knowledge. I am learning to overcome my own barriers and fears - and by doing so will hopefully make a small (or large) difference to someone else's life.