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The Power of Listening_Final

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>> Hi, I have a question for you. What's the most valuable skill for a Health Coach to master? If you've said active listening, you're correct. You'll recall being taught about active listening in the Health Coach Training Program because this skill is so important and central to being a good coach. I'm going to provide you with a quick tune-up on listening in this lecture. So if you weren't listening actively the last time, here's your chance to catch up. In this module, we've talked about how establishing a great working relationship with your clients is key to their success, but the force that drives interpersonal success is great listening. And this involves paying attention to all things our clients say and do and conveying this attention so they feel heard and understood. You might be thinking that this is really obvious. But then why do we struggle with this so much? While the concept is clear, it can be really difficult to put into practice. And a major reason for this is because as much as we know it's important to listen, we're often just too preoccupied with our own desire to be heard. Because of this, we easily fall into this trap of thinking that we're listening when actually we're working on formulating our own responses and waiting to be heard. When we get stuck in this habit in our personal lives, it carries over into our professional practice. So in order to become better listeners for our clients, we need to become better listeners overall. To do this, we must cultivate active listening skills across the board, not just one-to-one coaching mode. To get started down this path, we must first make an honest assessment of how well we truly listen to others. Think back to the last time you were at a party or some kind of social setting. Maybe you were talking to someone one-on-one or maybe you were sharing funny stories in a group. While the other people spoke, were you completely present or were you thinking about that funny anecdote you wanted to share next? Were you waiting for the next person to stop speaking so you could jump in and share next? Hey, we all do it. What about the last time a friend or family member came to you for support? Were you already sizing up the situation and formulating your advice while they were still sharing or were you totally present until they were done saying everything they had to say? Or how about the last time you were in an argument with your partner? Did you give them the space to fully express their feelings or were you framing your counterargument while they spoke, and maybe even cut them off at points during the conversation. We need to be honest with ourselves. Just because we're looking at someone and listening, does not mean we're actually hearing them. Sitting silently and nodding on autopilot every so often doesn't mean we're paying attention. Even if we're just thoughtfully planning out a meaningful response, letting our minds wander to our own material is a disservice to those we lend our ear. Because this is accepted as listening in our day to day lives, it's easy for us to convince ourselves that we're listening to our clients when really we could be doing a better job. You can study the skills of active listening all day, but in order to make a difference in your ability to coach, you have to consciously practice them, strive to embody them, and hold yourself accountable. As I said earlier, we all want to be heard, and this is what we owe to our clients and what we as coaches intrinsically want to provide for them. To get better actually doing this, we simply need to practice our active listening skills and not just in our coaching sessions but in our everyday lives. So what does this require of us? Well, active listening requires us to be present. This involves keeping an alert and open posture, sharpening our focus, and be conscious of our body language. When someone is opening up to you, you'll want to always keep an open and friendly physical stance to indicate that you're attentive and receptive to what they're saying without judgment, instead of being closed off like this. Face the person squarely, sit tall, and lean in just slightly to indicate your interest. Signal that you're inviting them and what they're sharing by keeping your arms and legs uncrossed, like I just mentioned. Demonstrate your focus by refraining from fidgeting, tapping, or moving around in your street. To keep yourself looking natural and not like a rigid statue, smile, breathe, and relax your muscles. To stay focused, eliminate as many distractions as possible and breathe through the rest, your mind will naturally wander. It's not realistic to expect to be in a state of 100% focus when listening at all times. The key distinction, however, to listening deeply is to train your mind to catch itself when it wanders and then bring it back calmly. It's just like meditation. It could actually be helpful to think of deep listening as a form of meditation. In fact, you may find it beneficial to adopt a meditation practice to help you learn how to ease into the space or to apply it here if you already have one. Next, active listening requires us to read between the lines. Hearing words is not enough, we must be keenly observant of non-verbals to really get the big picture of what's being said. Also, we must provide silence and space. This doesn't mean just not interrupting, this is about giving people the time to process and really say what's on their minds without rushing them. It's a habit in conversation to respond back immediately when there's a pause, but this doesn't allow the person speaking the opportunity to really go deeper. When we demonstrate our attention but we leave space for our conversation partner to keep going, it signals to them that it's okay to take their process to the next level. Silence can be uncomfortable to employ, but the benefits are really rich. Next, while listening, we should convey our attention by providing acknowledgment. This is accomplished with appropriately time nods, sounds, and comments such as "uh-huh" and "I see." With eye contact, we don't need to fix our gaze upon the other person for every second. But we do want to be sure that we're returning to them frequently and not staring off into space or looking elsewhere. Active listening requires not just conveying our attention but also our understanding, this builds empathy and connection. You may recall from the Health Coach Training Program that three ways we can do this are paraphrasing, reflection, and summarizing. To quickly review, paraphrasing is when we restate what someone just told us, but we do it in our own words. This demonstrates that we understand and it also increases the other person's focus on the content that they just shared. An example of paraphrasing would be if the person you're talking to said, "I've really had it with this job, I'm underpaid and my coworkers are miserable." And you responded by saying, "So between the lack of pay and company morale, you're really frustrated with your job." Reflection is when we mirror back what another person has said in a way that includes our own interpretation. This is something we glean through observing and pointing out non-verbals, patterns, and discrepancies in what was said. This skill demonstrates your understanding, while helping the person you're speaking with to increase their own awareness. An example would be, if you said, "Going by the way you reacted so strongly to my question and the fact that you said you'd be happy to never return again, it sounds like you're really ready to leave your job. Is that true?" Summarizing is when you simply reiterate the highlights or the main gist of what was said. This is helpful for checking and conveying that you've obtained the big picture, and it helps the person you're speaking with to notice any themes in what they've shared. In this example, the person you were talking to went on at length about all of the reasons why they were dissatisfied with their job. A summarizing response might sound something like, "Wow, it sounds like there's a lot of reasons why you're unhappy with your job, you're not getting paid your worth, the morale is poor, and you've described a bunch of ways the environment is just overall toxic. Because of all this, you've decided you're ready to start a new job search." Next, in addition to stating our understanding and leaving space to create depth, we need to ask appropriately timed, powerful questions. These are what you've heard us refer to as high-mileage questions. You should already be familiar with these, but we'll review and expand upon how to use a skill more later on in the course. Next, we must try to adopt a beginners mind when we listen actively. This is you may recall is basically approaching someone with a blank slate. From our meditative listening state of non-judgment and curiosity, we aim to listen without injecting our own interpretations, values, experiences or judgments. We do this by quieting our minds and asking questions or making reflections rather than forming our own assumptions. And lastly, active listening involves checking your own needs at the door. As I mentioned earlier, we have a tendency not to listen because our own competing desire to be heard is really loud. We need to keep our needs in check when we decide it's time to devote our attention to someone else or when we're coaching. This is an ego challenge, and it involves reminding ourselves that the current situation is about being present for another, not about seeking to get our own needs met. At the same time, we do need to seek out lets to meet our own needs to be heard, whether that be through peer counseling with a supportive friend, our own coach, a counselor, or through creative outlets of some sort. So to recap, active listening requires us to be present, read between the lines, create silence, hold space, provide acknowledgement, convey our understanding, ask powerful questions, adopt a beginners mind, and check our own needs at the door. Which of these do you struggle with most? To assess how well you truly listen, check out the "Are You Listening?" handout to evaluate where you stand in your active listening skills. We've also included the Active Listening Checklist to provide you with a clear and concise guide that you can refer to time and time again to brush up on your active listening skills. Go check out these resources now and then head over to the Facebook group page to let us know one thing you plan to start doing right now in your interactions to become a better listener. Thanks so much for watching. See you soon.

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Duration: 10 minutes and 35 seconds
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Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Views: 6
Posted by: integrativenutrition on Jul 6, 2018

The Power of Listening_Final

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