What is your body saying that you're not?
Just a few days ago, a client made a hand gesture, like grabbing something with determination and raising her fist up. It was a very powerful move, and clearly held meaning for her.
How would you respond as an expert listener?
- I could have ignored the gesture completely, and focused on her words (one of the most common coaching responses early on)
- I could have asked her to describe what she is experiencing as she raises her fist (ooooh, smart move, coach!)
- Or, I could let go of my need to understand in words, and simply mirror her gesture (mind blown)
The person you are listening to wants to "feel felt".
It's not that you as a coach need to understand everything, because there are limits to our ability to understand but to make your client feel like they've been understood in order to move forward.
Sometimes, if somebody makes a gesture like this one, doing the same movement helps you as an observant listener actually feel with them what their internal experience of their situation is like. And, your conversation partner will feel like you really get them. The more you can make an exact mirror, just naturally like you're in a dance with them, the more the two of you actually do understand one another at a more profound level than just words and cognition.
The more you tune in to cues in terms of tone, speed and pitch, and body language, the more you become a great listener.
What is your body saying to you right now? Any intensity, tightness, tingly or other feelings that want to send you a message? What is your body saying that you're not? What are the bodies of the people around you silently speaking? How tuned in can you get?