by Leslie Schultz (Co-Founder)
Listening is an art.
Listening to the mind and the heart of another is a skill that may or may not be part of one’s repertoire. Often times the listener has an agenda, a belief that they know the solution for the speakers inquires or challenges. The speaker may be processing possibilities, brainstorming ideas or they may need a neutral listener to receive that what is being shared. Therein, is the dilemma– the intention of communication on behalf of the listener.
Listening is a skill.
One can hear others’ words, but listening to both the mind and the heart requires the listener to put aside their agenda, their opinion, and their solutions. Our active thoughts, as listener, will cloud our ears and our focus. It detracts from the message being spoken. Becoming focused on the speaker is paramount for effective listening skills. Life Coaching Institute of America (LCIA) trains Life Coaches in developing this necessary skill. If a Life Coach truly desires to partner and collaborate with their client they must be intent on hearing both the mind and heart of their client.
Listening is a choice.
It requires intention and focus. The client’s mind may be constricting and limiting or it might be a vessel that embraces opportunity. The heart is filled with desire and emotion that often illuminates and energizes our passions and deepest longings. It is imperative for a Life Coach to hear both the mind and heart of their client as they receive the communication being offered. The challenge for the Life Coach is putting aside preconceived thoughts so one may be present with your client, enabling you to be aware of only what is being spoken. LCIA trains its’ Life Coach candidates to utilize these dynamic skills so that they can be an active listener to support the process of their client’s vision. Belief that the client has the insight and power to achieve their visions and goals is essential. Belief that the client has the answers is crucial. Belief that your role as Life Coach is partnership, collaboration, is vital since it requires the intentional practice of active listening. This is an art, this is a choice, and this provides powerful communication. Communication is more than talking. Powerful and compelling communication is listening and hearing the whole person that is opening themselves up, sharing their life journey with you.
Listening is a Gift.
It a gift you give to another. It requires sacrifice, sacrificing the belief you know what is best for others. Sacrifice of holding your thoughts and tongue and waiting for invitation of your insights. Sacrifice of acting as expert in the life of another and being fully present in their life. This allows for reflection, providing oneself as a mirror so the speaker may hear their own mind and heart and begin to contemplate their options for their life. Providing this landscape for your client is a gift as it affords them the opportunity to see themselves for perhaps the first time in a long time. A gift with no expectations, a gift that will nurture motivation for potential change, a gift that will offer the client hope as they construct a strategy to achieve their vision ~ their goals ~ that reflect both their mind and heart.
Life Coaching Institute of America believes that developing sensitive and active listening skills will grow hope and will grow people in your life; family, friends or business associates. Be a gift–giver, offer your clients intentional listening and focus. Be the offering that provides safety for your client in the face of change, as you quiet your mind and align and fold yourself into the life of another.