I don’t do podcasts. Or audio books. And rarely videos. Listening to a talking head, without engagement, feels like drinking from a firehose. 

I’ll buy a book and underline, highlight, and dog-ear as a way to interact and get personal with the information, but listening makes me feel too saturated. Stick a fork in me, as they say, I’m done. 

For me, this type of listening doesn’t create space. It feels passive at best and stops happening at worst, and my mind is already wondering after a short two-minute attention span.

So I’m a professional coach who doesn’t listen well…

A colleague pointed this out after I told her of my aversion, however, the type of listening that is done within coaching is active and invigorating. 

  • Time flies!
  • There is total focus for extended amounts of time. 
  • It creates space without judgment or attachment in order to move on to next steps.

Active listening, according to International Coaching Federation, is the ability to focus on what someone is saying and NOT saying, to understand the meaning of what is said in the context of what the person desires, and to support the person’s self-expression.

Oh my. Anyone up for this? Count me in!

This interactive listening creates engagement and connection and involves taking in more than words:

  • What do you believe is possible and not possible for yourself?
  • What tones, gestures, or body language are manifesting as we talk?
  • How open are you to exploring your feelings, perceptions, concerns, and beliefs?
  • How willing are you to jump right to the punch line versus bask in a long, descriptive story?

Helping leaders get from where they are to where they want to be––faster––is my favorite.

Listening during coaching is done with the purpose of:

  1. creating awareness,
  2. establishing intimacy,
  3. designing actions, plans and goals,
  4. and monitoring progress.

Listening to learn about the person in front of me versus what the person in front of me knows, is the difference.

Did you listen to something amazing recently? Cool! Send me the link to the book, or better yet, let’s sit down over coffee and explore what you heard!

  1. What stuck out to you?
  2. Why?
  3. And what difference will it make for you?

I can’t wait to hear to your responses.

Comment: What’s the title of the last thing you intentionally read/watched/listened to learn? (What’s your preferred way to learn?)

Rachel is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through International Coaching Federation (ICF) for INspired Leadership at ESSDACK. She helps professionals get where they want to be, faster. Contact her.

What if you could measure your work culture? Ask our team how: INspired Leadership Website


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