#BlogElul 8: Hear
I love listening to podcasts, and just recently I heard a great one by Jeffery Combs, on becoming a master listener.
What is a master listener? According to Jeffery, it is someone who can hear what is meant rather than what is said, someone who is fully present when the other person is speaking.
I certainly can’t claim to be a master listener right now (squirrel!), but it is something that I am striving for. There’s no question that I can work harder on being truly present with people, and not letting my mind wander – or as Jeffery calls it, checking out.
Even when listening to a call or webinar, especially if it is live, I am working hard on focusing on what is being said and not wandering off into FB or Instagram or filling out my admin. It reminds me of the days when I was a teacher, when we would sit through endless mandatory meetings or professional development, and people would do their marking under the guise of listening. I don’t want that to be me. Focus has been an issue for me all of my life, so it is a good opportunity to work on that.
In his latest call, Jeffery made some interesting points about most people being checked out, disassociated from the present moment, and of course unable to make a decision or commit to a course of action. He connects that with childhood trauma – whether it be physical or emotional, or even the result of living with huge expectations or criticism.
That may all well be, but as I learned at The Life Coach School, circumstances are beyond our control, especially if they occurred in the past, but our thoughts are our own. It may not feel that way, especially if you are very disconnected and don’t know how to control your thoughts, but it is true.
To become a master listener, it is imperative to develop the corresponding mindset – to become someone who can focus on a person and really hear what they are saying, and more importantly, what they really mean. Sometimes they may not know this themselves, but a master listener will know.
In many ways, a good coach is a master listener, and many of the required skills overlap. But anyone can become a better listener, simply by deciding really and truly to listen. It can be a revelation, more about yourself than about the other person.
What about you, how can you improve your listening skills? What will you hear if you do?