The ability to listen is a crucial and essential skill in coaching. As a Life Coach, listening is one of the many skills I use with my clients. There are four kinds of listening.
*Listening but not hearing
*Listening and connecting with one’s own agenda
*Listening and hearing without a personal agenda.
*Intuitive listening, meaning not only hearing what is being said but what is not being said. This is deep listening.
Listening but not hearing. How often have we been present in body but not in mind? Preoccupied with our own thoughts, thinking about what we have left to do that day instead of being present with the person we are with. Listening and connecting with one’s own agenda. This means thinking about what we are going to say next instead of focusing on what the other person is saying to us. Does this sound familiar? Listening and hearing without a personal agenda. This is about respectfully listening to another person and not interrupting or interjecting our own thoughts or opinions. In other words, silent listening and bearing witness for another. Intuitive listening. Hearing not only what is being spoken but also what is not being said. This type of listening is a gift, listening with heart. It is listening with all the senses, intuition and compassion. This is deep listening. Deep listening is a profound act of love. The most powerful way we can connect with another person is to listen. The most important gift we can give each other is our attention. The American philosopher Eugene Kennedy wrote, “There is a silence that matches our best possibilities when we have learned to listen to others. We can master the art of being quiet in order to be able to hear clearly what others are saying…..We need to cut off the garbled static of our own preoccupations to give to people who want our quiet attention.” (from Listening Below the Noise by Ann D. LeClare). How would the world change if we all practiced deep listening?
What about you? When was the last time you felt heard? Who in your life really listens to you? How can you practice deep listening? How can you be fully present when listening to another person? What will they gain? What will you gain? How can listening with loving silence be a form of healing and connection in your life?
I invite you to learn more about the transformative power of silence and deep listening at my February retreat at the Carondelet Center in St Paul. Details are on my website.
9 thoughts on “Deep Listening”
Nancy, What a good blog post, thank you. Deep listening is such a gift to give and receive.
Lucky you Kelly to have such a great role model in your Dad! The next time you find someone not listening to you, what might you say to them instead of shutting down? No surprise that your spirit soars when someone listens to your with full attention. What a gift. Thanks for your comments Kelly:)
Thanks for your comments Heather. What a gift to have a 25 year friendship with your best friend. Being present with someone when they are talking to us is a gift to them and to us.
Thanks Vickie. As coaches we get paid well to listen to our clients and to give them our undivided attention during their coaching calls. How fortunate we are to do work that we love! Thanks for your comments.
I believe one of the greatest gifts we can give to another is our focused attention. It is so respectful and affirming to the other person. Glad you enjoyed the post Naomi:)
I think people feel truly valued and cared for when they have your complete attention. It always feels like the right way to treat people I love, when I remember! Lovely post.
Timely post – I’m taking a meditation class and deep listening has come up more than once. I recently was certified as a life coach – and learning to listen made me realize that vew few people listen well – or listen actively.
I’m fortunate to have a 25-year friendship with my best friend, a deep listener. As Kelly said, I can tell when people aren’t really listening. And I know when *I* am not really listening … and my kids know when I’m not really listening. This is a good reminder for me to be mindful about connecting with those who are sharing the moment with me.
Nancy this is such an important and sadly overlooked topic. My dad was an amazing listener. Growing up with him, my listening radar is finely tuned. I pick up immediately when folks aren’t listening to me and I have to say I am not very patient with them. I find myself shutting down and giving one word answers. They then ramp up their chit chat and flood me with stories about themselves. Do I listen to them then? Sometimes. when I’m with someone who really listens to me I find my spirit soaring. I want to engage and listen to them. Does that make sense?