How many times do we hear, but do not really listen?
Recently, I practiced Perceptive Listening with a person going through outplacement/career transitioning. The results were rewarding on both sides.
The Coachee felt uplifted and empathised with. The difference was palpable. I was able to delve deep into his heart. I helped him face and go beyond his fears, uncertainties, and doubts. And this was just in our first meeting.
Now imagine you doing this with your spouse, your kids, your own parents, your work colleagues… and anyone you are selling an idea to! How would that improve the quality of your relationships?
In his latest book, business guru John Jantsch, describes ‘Perceptive Listening’. To understand Perceptive Listening, it’s instructive to compare it to other, lower order levels.
when you act as though you are listening to someone, but are instead just waiting for your turn to speak.
when you are discussing a problem with someone in the hope of finding an opening to jump in and ‘pitch’ yourself.
when you are listening carefully to someone and reacting primarily to the words being said.
when you hear and interpret the words as they are said, but also consider what the person isn’t saying, what they might really be thinking, and how they are acting as they speak.
The Co-Active Coaching model also teaches this – where one listens to the nuances of voice, emotion and energy – someone who is intent on receiving everything that person communicates.
Perceptive Listening is by far the most complex of all because it requires you to be totally focused, completely mindful and perceptive of the conversation – about what is spoken and what remains unspoken.
For those of us who career coach, this is not new. But as a human it is easy to forget to practice.
So you want to really empathise?
To do so, ask great questions instead of providing great answers.
By asking questions, I’ve found I become a better listener. This allows me to interact with to connect at a deeper and more engaged level. And vice versa.
Jantsch suggests watching the TED talk by a deaf percussionist, Evelyn Glennie, to truly appreciate the art of listening.
It’s worth the experience.
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