Want some active listening techniques you can use in your coaching session? When coaching it is important to listen to your client, as well as letting your client know that you are really listening to them. This will help build rapport and help your client feel more at ease. Allowing the client space, confidence and freedom to open up, is a mark of ICF coaching.
Verbal active listening techniques.
• “Yes”, “right”, “OK”, “Ah ha”, etc. These short interjections are great for showing that you are listening and will not interrupt the client’s train of thought.
• Reflecting back the words, thoughts and feelings of your client, emphasizing their own words e.g. ‘so, you say you want to make some “big changes?” or “you sound really excited.”
• Acknowledging your client for what they have done, achieved, discovered etc. It is a great way to bolster their self-esteem and is a great way to keep them in a positive frame of mind, whilst really showing you are listening to understand them. It is important to be sincere and specific about what you are acknowledging them for.
• Ask relevant questions. Coaching is not about having a series of pre-planned questions. Intuitively ask questions based on what your client is saying. Your client will know you are listening to them when you ask questions that relate to what they have been saying.
• Asking clarifying questions is another active listening technique. Again the questions are about your client and not to satisfy your own curiosity about something not related to the client.
• Every now and again providing a brief summary of what has been said serves as a useful check that you have heard and understood your client correctly. It also allows the client to correct you if you misunderstood their meaning or for them to explain what they really meant.
Non-verbal active listening.
Use of appropriate body language can also demonstrate that you are listening, especially when verbal interruptions by you may hinder the client or throw them of track.
• Without staring, having eye contact shows you are listening. If you are taking notes be sure to often look up at your client and not just at your notes. Have your client’s permission to take notes. For some clients, taking notes may be off putting or rude.
• Positive facial expressions. Smiling, looks of empathy, etc. all naturally responding to your client will indicate you are listening. Avoid expressions which might indicate judgment, such as raised eye-brows or the shaking of your head.
• Slight nodding of the head is great for showing that you have heard and understood the client.
• Body posture. Leaning slightly towards your client and an open posture (arms open as opposed to folded) indicate you are open to and interested in what they are saying. Be aware not to be in their personal space.
It is important to not over use these techniques and to be always be sincere and authentic. Active listening will benefit both the coach and the client tremendously. It will greatly improve your coaching interactions.
I hope you found this post useful and that you will use active listening in your coaching. It will assist you in being the best coach you can be.
If you want to find out more about the coaching courses offered by Coaching with NLP, simply contact us today and we will be more than happy to help.