“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”
Think about it. When was the last time you engaged in a conversation, where someone truly took the time to listen to you? Where they clung to your every word as if their life depended on it? How did it feel? Did you feel heard, valued, and inspired?
As a coach, I quickly learnt that listening is the most important part of my job – something I never really did throughout my earlier years. It was a harsh reality to face, as I’d always considered myself an empathetic, approachable person people could turn to for advice.
That’s all they got. Advice. I had developed a habit of filtering peoples’ experiences through my own frame of reference; telling them to do what I would do. Only when I started to listen did I realize that I hadn’t been listening all along. I was imposing my own values and belief systems upon others.
Listening is one of the greatest gifts we can give, and the only way to engage with people and give them space to be heard. Listening builds better connections, more meaningful relationships, and most importantly, trust.
One of the biggest challenges is to avoid that “internal chatter”. Examine your listening habits, and embrace a more curious mindset. It’s not about you or your experience. It’s about them, their story, and their unique perspective – begging to be heard.
- Relax, remove distractions…and just…listen.
- Don’t just talk. Ask questions.
- The truth goes deeper than the surface. Listen to the words, but extract their meaning.
- Examine body language, and what lies behind the eyes.
- Use metaphors to paint a picture of what they’re going through. Are they a hamster on a wheel? Free as a bird? Proud as a peacock?
All habits require time and patience to get right. Don’t give up – you’ll be surprised at just how powerful your ability to truly listen could be.