Many people think that communication is mainly about the way we talk. They assess communication skills based on how well-structured, deep and argumentative the phrases they make use of are. Therefore, when discussing, they abound in rational witty and proof-based rhetoric but later find out that it didn’t help much in convincing their interlocutors.
Strange and paradoxical, Isn’t it? Sometimes being knowledgeable and eloquent but not persuasive and influential…
Why is that?
That’s simply because communication is more about listening than talking…
The American psychiatrist Karl A. Menninger says “Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”
There are five levels of listening.
The first one is Ignoring: This is when we squarely refuse to listen.
The second is “Pretend listening”: it is when we are not really interested but, in order not to offend the person addressing us, we feign paying attention. It would just take him to ask us about what he said to discover that we were not really listening.
The third is “Selective listening”: This is when we are forcing ourselves to focus but having our mind calculating, judging and busy anticipating the answers. The inner conversation is overruling and blocking the way for the outer one.
The fourth is “Attentive listening”: It is when we are really and genuinely interested but interpreting our interlocutor words based on our own beliefs. Therefore, we are not standing side by side…, we are looking at things through completely different perspectives…
The fifth level is “Active or Emphatic listening”. This is when we truly pay attention to our interlocutors’ verbal and non-verbal communication so as to understand their underlying thoughts, emotions and beliefs. By reflecting back what we see, feel and notice, we help them raise their self-awareness, tap into their inner wisdom and know exactly what they need to do. We are neither judging, criticizing or leading.
“Active Listening” is crucial to the success of coaching. All the magic happens when the coach, listening, mirroring and asking powerful questions, opens that thrilling window for his client to look in depth into the multiple beautiful facets of his true nature, win back his confidence and unleash his unlimited powerful potential.