The Listening Ear
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
I am at my second set of classes for CTI (Coach Training Institute) and thinking about how I communicate; more accurately, I am noticing how I listen. In the first series of classes, called Fundamentals, I was made aware of different levels of listening. My realization is that, although I have always thought of myself as an exceptional listener, I have been a surface listener. I listen through a filter which relates everything to my experiences, values, knowledge, and etc. Great life coaches listen at a much deeper level, at a “cellular” level. They take a deep dive into the words, using the inflection of the voice, the breath, pauses, and all their senses (including intuition), to listen.
It’s a fun and simple thing to try the next time you’re having a phone conversation. Close your eyes and just listen…really listen. Can you hear the rhythm of the words? Can you detect the pace of the in and out breath? Can you see, with your mind’s eye, how this person is holding their body? Do you sense a smile of solidarity, grimace of confusion, or a wrinkled forehead of deep thought? As a listener from this place of deep focus, what are you curious about? Ask a question. How does this conversation feel different from a normal conversation had with this person?
In truly listening to someone, you’re giving them a gift more precious than gold; the gift is that of your attention. Please remember, however, that you are receiving a precious gift in return. Your gift is hearing and seeing someone’s authentic self.