In life coaching, one of the most important skills a coach can have is the ability to listen. Many times it is easy to be “hearing” and forget to “listen”. In order to conduct a proper coaching session, the coach must be well versed in the techniques, skills, and obstacles in listening. Listening is not only important to the coach, but also to the client. Both parties need to have a mutual understanding and comfortable communication. By gaining a more full understanding of listening skills it enables the coach to listen and guide the client to his or her goal. The success of the client-coach relationship is dependent upon the ability the coach has to put aside their personal thoughts and fully engage in effective listening of the client.
Listening versus Hearing
Listening is not only a skill for a life coach, counselor, teacher, or friend to have but it is also important for children engaging in education. For life coaches and counselors concerned with training these children there are techniques to help optimize the effectiveness of listening. One of these skills is careful presentation of stimuli that is audible by the client (Estes, 2010). By supplying stimuli causing a focus on the client’s ability to listen, asking appropriate questions, and helping the client learn how to be an effective listener the coach is improving his or her academic abilities and future communications. Moreover, in a coaching setting it is important for the life coach to utilize skills optimizing the effectiveness of their listening. By understanding emotional, physical, and verbal signals the life coach is better equipped to listen to what the client is saying, instead of just hearing them (Estes, 2010).
Body language is an important part of communication in the life coaching setting. Coaches are urged to gain knowledge about certain types of body language and how it effects the information they are receiving and sending. Knowing the body signals a client gives, such as a raise in the tone of voice, shuffling or fidgeting in their seat, facial expression changes, and others are vitally important to assessing the meaning of the information the client is sharing (Hyson, 2013). Moreover, being sensitive to the changes in speed of the client’s speech, hesitation in finishing a sentence, the omission of information, or crossing their arms and slightly turning away can help the coach identify when they are reaching information that is deeper and requires more careful questioning (Hyson, 2013). By understanding these physical traits, a coach is better prepared to address the session with verbal questioning and techniques to help disarm the client and reach a solution or head in the right direction.
For a life coach to be able to listen effectively, they have to first understand the bad listening habits they can fall into. Habits such as pretending to listen while thinking of other things, attempting to write down verbatim what is...