Participating in an international coaching training with 17 colleagues from several countries, I have become more aware than ever about listening. Our own experiences, earlier professions, ages and cultures have been present in the group in a very positive way. We all engage in many types of conversations during any normal working day as well. How do we usually listen to others?
In their book “Co-Active Coaching”, Henry Kimsey-House and his fellow writers describe different levels of listening. We usually move most on the first level, listening to others in relation to ourselves; our experiences, interpretations and values. “- I had a busy evening with my kids’ hobbies. – Yes, my kids play soccer, too. It can take a lot of time. But it is fun, isn’t it? ” This would be the light chat, being friendly and showing basic social skills. We need this. Imagine all the light conversation being left out? This is the level of listening where easy communication between half-strangers as well as close friends can take place.
On the second level, your focus is on the other person. A deeper connection is formed, there is a wider awareness in the room. You do not only listen to the words of the other person(s), you also notice the tone, the pace, possible feelings that are expressed. In my work, we listen to clients, candidates, stakeholders, receive information on a deeper level that is possible in the moment and relationship. We work towards an understanding of the situation in order to be able to help, to support them to make decisions or to represent them in the candidate market. We check with them that we have understood correctly. With people that you know, including the people you work with, it is probably safe to say that most conversations move between these two levels. [Lue lisää…]