The importance of listening skills

As a coach, I know the importance of listening skills and the value of deep and active listening in particular.

I know the importance of suspending judgment and I know how critical it is to remove ones own’s biases, interests and concerns from coaching conversations.

Yet despite all that knowledge, I know there are times when I fail on some or even all of these fronts.

And this is especially the case when I am manager as well as coach, because the manager as coach role carries inherent limitations as to the extent of objectivity that can be obtained.

Nevertheless, I was struck today by how powerful true listening can be – when I was the one that needed to be listened to.

I asked to see one of my bosses to discuss a tricky situation that cut across work and personal matters and I was treated to a masterclass in empathetic, engaged listening.

No promises were made. No solutions offered. But, intelligent questions were asked and my answers were listened to and heard.

Was the problem solved?

No.

Did I feel better able to manage it?

Yes I did.

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