Many coaches consider themselves to be good listeners, but how is that defined? Is it just hearing what the client is saying and giving a canned response? Or is there more to it? Coaches trained by the Academy of Coaching and NLP are provided with the knowledge of what it takes to become a diligent listener. This is done by learning the two aspects of listening in coaching along with how to incorporate the three levels of listening.

The Two Aspects of Listening in Coaching

For a coach, two aspects of listening are attention and impact. Attention may seem as simple as just hearing the words the client is saying but it’s actually so much more. A coach must be able to hear, see, and use their intuition to fully determine how to respond to their client. Coaches also must pay attention to the client’s pace of delivery, modulation of voice, and what emotions lie behind the client’s words. After listening to what the client says, the coach will provide feedback that will impact the client. The coach must make sure the response given reflects what the client has said. This will show that the coach has been paying rapt attention and will lead to a more positive impact made on the client.

The Three Levels of Listening

A good coach must be familiar with the three levels of listening and how each level differs from the other. The three levels of listening are Internal Listening, Focused Listening, and Whole Body Listening. Take a look at what each level entails below.

  • Level 1: Internal Listening
    When we engage in internal listening, we are focusing on our own inner voice. This means we are only considering our thoughts, feelings, opinions, and conclusions. Although all three levels of listening are used during a coaching session, this level should only be used by the client. If a coach is only listening at Level 1, this will negatively impact the coach/client relationship.
  • Level 2: Focused Listening
    Focused listening involves keeping an intense focus on the client. This type of listening involves not only taking in their words, but also paying attention to their expressions, emotions, values, and what the client isn’t saying. Focused listening revolves around the client and helps the coach determine what impact their responses are having on the client.
  • Level 3: Whole Body Listening
    Whole body listening, much like focused listening, revolves around your client. However, whole body listening is much more in depth. On top of listening, you must also learn to pay attention to your client’s language patterns to hear what really motivates them (NLP has many powerful techniques for this) Observing their body language and learn to use your intuition. A good way to describe whole body listening is that you are “listening at 360 degrees.” This type of listening will have the greatest impact on the client.

Incorporating the three levels of listening into your coaching can really make the difference between a good coach and a superb coach. At ACN, we make sure our coaches understand the 3 levels of listening and how to appropriately apply them during coaching sessions. If your coach is a great listener and provides you with reliable feedback based on your words, then congratulations! You’ve got a wonderful coach who is there to help you reach your goals and create your own ripples of change!

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