Active Listening SkillsYour workshop facilitator has been modeling and will continue to model both Active Listening and Reflective Listening for you during your weekly conference call. These two skills and the third skill you will learn in the third lesson are widely considered the basic Coaching communications tools. Some say these skills account for eighty percent (80%) of all effective Coaching. Therefore, you will be expected to demonstrate the proper use of these three skills in all of your Coaching sessions to follow.
Active Listening Skills
Active Listening is a process of listening to the content of the speaker's message; and then repeating back to the speaker, what you heard in your own words The purpose of doing this is to clarify your understanding of what the speaker said and to elicit further communication.
It's important for you to practice using this skill instead of asking questions to keep the conversation moving. It's more professional and less likely to cause communications problems with your client. We make many assumptions during most conversations when we ask questions. We have much clearer communication when we actively listen to our clients.
Active listening is not parroting. It's a conversational skill you use to interact with your client, friends, family members and other people. But by keying in on the basic concepts of what the other person is saying you not only confirm that you heard what was said, but you understand it.
Paraphrase - Do Not Parrot
If you want to get under anyone's skin all you have to do is parrot them. Few things are more aggravating for most people than being parroted.
When you repeat word for word what somebody said they receive the message that you really didn't understand what they did say. The feel unheard, misunderstood, ridiculed, put down and maybe offended. Think about it. Do you enjoy being mimicked?
If you want someone to know you understood what they said, paraphrase what they said in your own words. They will clarify anything you don't understand. They might go deeper into the topic of discussion knowing you are in empathy with them. But when you parrot them, most people tend to clam up or change the topic.
Listen to the conversations around you and identify missed opportunities to develop a deeper level of understanding and communication through active listening. Mentally practice what you might say instead by paraphrasing what the other person said.
Teacher: I'd like to know what you thought about this lesson.
Student: I didn't understand it.
Teacher: You don't know what to say when you're trying to actively listen to your friends.
Teacher: You don't think you really understand what they're saying.
Student: No that's not it.
Teacher: I don't know what it could be then.
Student: I don't understand how anybody can tell the other person he understood what they were saying without sounding weird.
Teacher: You don't feel comfortable telling your friends what you thought you heard them say.
Student: Right! It all sounds so fake.
Teacher: How I'm speaking with you right now sounds really fake. <smile>
Note to students: Practice is the only way you can become comfortable using this technique. At first it probably does sound fake. With practice you learn how to focus on the main points and keep the conversation going. Be patient with yourself and just keep practicing.
If it sounds "fake" to you, it probably is. You can always say something like: "Let me rephase that." and give it another try. After all, this is a lerning experience. Please relax and learn.
Practice Active Listening and Making Requests every day until you become comfortable with these techniques. Practice listening to your family, friends, clients and other people. Practice making requests instead of asking questions. The more you practice, the more you'll come to appreciate these powerful empowering tools.
Then Practice Reflective Listening and the Short Chat -- which can be extended out to a few minutes if your client needs to express that many thoughts and feelings. Practice these skills until you know and understand them very well.
Then practice the skills described in Parts Three and Four. Use one or more of these skills during every Coaching session. Practice them all until they become second nature to you.
You may also use some of the skills ahead of schedule. But this is not a requirement. Practice is a requirement. You can only pass this workshop by practicing your Coaching skills daily.
Your facilitator will assign you to a small group of three or four people. Each of you will function as a Coach, client and observer in five practice Coaching sessions with each other member of the group. In a group of three there will be one observer and in a group of four there will be two. The observers are asked to comment on the strengths and weaknesses of each Coaching session.
The Coach will use all of the skills you've learned to date and may try any from future lessons. The client is to act as normal as possible and neither aide nor hinder the Coach during the session.
In the beginning you will make some mistakes. But if you practice with your friends, clients, associates, family and other people, you'll find these skills empower other people and they become easier and easier for you to use.
If you plan on one session a week with your group, you'll complete your practicum before the last weekly Coaching session with you facilitator. That's good timing.
Pay special attention to the Short Chat Schedule.
You will be ready for your oral examination as soon as you complete the required practice sessions for your Coaching Practicum. We encourage you to complete this requirement as soon as possible.
1.Active Listening Skills
Successful completion of this workshop earns you 35 CEU for certification and/or licensing.