Establishing trust…active listening…powerful questioning. As coaches, these are each competencies we aim to implement with our clients. And we’re usually affirmed by their effectiveness when we coach or watch someone coach and see the power that is unlocked when we listen, guide, support. If that’s the case, then why are we often slow to use these same skills in our personal lives with friends, family, or coworkers?
In a Harvard Business Review article, Ralph G. Nichols and Leonard A. Stevens wrote about interviewing executives in Chicago “to survey the role that listening plays in their work.” One executive stated, “It’s interesting to me that we have considered so many facets of communication in the company, but have inadvertently overlooked listening. I’ve about decided that it’s the most important link in the company’s communications…”
This was written in 1957.
How much has really changed since then? Why is listening such a difficult skill to implement in other areas of life? I don’t know about you, but I’m much more emotionally invested in relationships with my family and friends than my clients! Which is a good thing, to an extent. But when our emotions begin to drive the agenda, we can start to get inside our own heads and bodies instead of staying present with the person in front of us. Again, it’s easy as a coach to see how this kind of agenda can damage the coach-client relationship so we’re encouraged to take time to reflect, adjust, and practice being more present.
So what if we did this in our personal lives? What relationship in your life could benefit from you asking a question instead of assuming an answer; being slow to speak and quick to listen; investing in the relationship without expecting something in return.
Now…if you’ve ever tried to go full ‘coach’ on someone who isn’t asking for it – it usually doesn’t work out as well as you’d hope. Not everyone is ready to be fully coached. But I believe most people are ready to be listened to and understood.
Proverbs 20:5 says, “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.” – Today, I pray to be one with insight and I pray the same for you.
Jenny Karr, CPLC
Jenny has been a fundraising coach with Tailored Fundraising Solutions for the last five years serving people in ministry – whether that be individual missionaries or non-profit leaders looking to fund the ministries God has given them.
Jenny and her family served as missionaries in SE Asia from 2012-2014 where she got an up close look at the danger of missionaries being left to fend for themselves.
Her missions is to train, equip, and support people in ministry and she has a particular passion for working with people in transition or those starting or growing their business.
Jenny has volunteered on the CCNI Board since October 2017 and currently serves at President.
Outside of work, Jenny enjoys spending as much time as possible with her husband and teenage daughter in their hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.