Coaching insights - Vol 6

Coaching Insights (Volume 6) The Power of Listening

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Coaching insights - Vol 6

One of my favourite psychometric tools is the EQ-i 2.0. It’s a really insightful and fascinating exploration of 15 different facets of Emotional Intelligence.

Every time I use the EQ-i 2.0 it adds enormous value to the Coaching process and provides big “a-ha!” moments for my clients.

Last week was no exception.

I was working with a lovely lady and we were exploring an imbalance between two traits – high emotional self-awareness vs lower reality testing.

The potential challenge?

It can create scenarios where we’re so driven by our own emotional response we fail to notice/act upon other peoples’ emotional responses/their wants and needs at the time.

She very openly and honestly shared a personal story with me.  It transpires she had gone into a difficult family situation with the best of intentions.  Her way of dealing with this stressful situation was to come up with lots of ideas and suggestions for how to make things better. However her approach hadn’t been received very well.

I then shared with her the story of one of my best friends who had a really challenging relationship with her daughter during her teenage years. I’ll never forget her telling me how one night her daughter was pouring out all her problems to her.  As usual, Sharon (name changed for confidentiality) came up with lots of fabulous solutions.  Her daughter’s highly agitated response was as follows:

“Mum I don’t want you to fix me. I just want you to listen to me!!”

“I thought that was a brilliant piece of feedback,” I said.  “Sometimes it’s just about being truly present and listening to understand rather than to respond – it’s one of the highest honours you can afford another person.”

At that juncture, tears started streaming down my client’s face.

When she had composed herself a bit she said:

“That’s it, isn’t it?  I just need to start listening more. Starting from tonight!”

It’s so rare that we are truly present with another person. We spend so much time in our own heads ruminating on the past, worrying about the future, forward planning, rehearsing conversations, multi-tasking. The list goes on and on.

Thus we aren’t actively listening. If we’re listening at all, we’re typically listening to respond ie. thinking about what our response should be.

When we’re truly present; when we’re listening to connect and understand, not to respond, the quality of our relationship and our communication is on a totally different plane.

Try it out tonight and see what I mean.  I’d love to hear how it went.

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