Active Listening

The absolute overall tool in coaching is active listening. When listening actively, you are more interested in what you hear than what you say. The two basics in active listening are: ask questions and listen carefully. Be curious. Try to understand the same way the speaker does. Try to get as many perspectives from your speaker as possible, this way exploring the situation. When exploring the situation it is helpful to try to use relations, potentials, alternatives, wishes for the future.

There are no-goes in active listening, for example:

  • giving solutions to the problems presented by the speaker
  • presuming that you have understood
  • explaining your own version of the problem and your own experiences with these problems
  • asking questions that lead away from your speaker’s subject
  • telling stories from your own world

If you do these things, you are stealing the attention and will probably not be able to find all the potentials in the speaker. Active listening is a method that certainly benefits from training. However, when you listen actively it is a powerful method in all aspects of oral communication.

Other hints when coaching is to use different levels of conversations. If you once in a while check where you are in the process; if you are on the right track, if the points are clear, what you have reached, it can bring a feeling of security and comfort to the speaker.

It is a good idea to simply take breaks. Both as the listener and the speaker, it can be worthwhile having a time-out, giving you both a chance to relax.
6 JUNE 2020