One of our main functions as a life coach is to listen to our clients. But listening is about a lot more than just hearing what someone is saying.
To truly listen, one must listen with their heart, not just their ears. And listen for the speaker’s heart, not just their words. Which is why “active listening” is one of the International Coaching Federation (ICF)’s Professional Coaching Core Competencies. In order to be considered competent in this area, a coach must be able to focus not only on what the client is saying, but also on what they are not saying. That means interpreting their body language and tone of voice, as well as the feelings, perceptions and beliefs behind their words.
The coaching relationship is co-equal and co-active, and while 80% of the talking that means 80% of the listening is by the coach! So, in the 20% of the conversation, the coach is affirming our client, summarizing, paraphrasing, and mirroring back what our client is saying. We do this to support our client’s journey into a deeper awareness. After all, it is all about the client.
As coaches, it is also our job to help the clients get to the “bottom line.” By listening to the feelings and the beliefs behind the words, you can help your client sort through a lot of ideas and thoughts and narrow them down to the heart of the matter.
But perhaps the most important part of active listening is to help our clients make progress. By listening to what the client is saying, as well as the meaning of what they’re saying in relation to their overall goals, we can help them to stay on track with their own goals and agenda, not ours.
Active listening is not just our responsibility as a life coach though. It is also our responsibility as believers.
“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” -Proverbs 18:13
So, next time you are in session with a client, make sure you’re not just hearing them… make sure you are actually listening.
How do you know when you are actively listening to your client heart-to-heart?
About the Author:
Janice LaVore-Fletcher, PCC, CPCC, CMC is Founder and President of Christian Coach Institute and has a passion for helping coaches become confident, competent, and courageous coaches who are well prepared to step out boldly to do the work they feel GOD is calling them to do. She is the Master Coach Trainer and her Certified Professional Life Coach course is accredited by ICF for 80 ICF Coach Specific Training hours and includes 5 ICF Group Mentor Hours. Janice is also a Certified Mentor Coach, a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and a commissioned Stephen Minister. She shares years of knowledge and experience with her students. Learn more about courses offered at www.ChristianCoachInstitute.com.