Monday, April 21, 2008

How To Become a Better Listener

How many times are you in the company of a person who just can't wait for you to stop talking because they have something more important to say than you? You may find it very interesting to know that that in the world of communicating, only 7% is accomplished by the spoken word. With that said the other two components are facial gestures--55% and other body language 37%. Listening is without a doubt the most essential part of the communication process. Many people claim to be good listeners and the way we convince others of this is to be reflective of the phrase," People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care". Let that resonate with others when being in their company. There are a lot of right fighters in this world. No matter what, they have to have the last word in every exchange or show you how you are wrong. Somehow, that is the way they have been taught to engage others. They can choose to be right or they can be happy, it is clearly their choice. There is a higher level of functioning and to just be "in the moment" with another person, sharing all of who you are and what you are about, is key to long lasting relationships. There is an acronym I tripped over a long time ago which makes incredible amount of sense regarding how to listen. The word is L.A.D.D.E.R. If you and I stood in front of one another, leaning in, foreheads touching, hands on top of one anothers shoulders; we could look as if we were forming the shape of a ladder. Here is what the acronym stands for, in regards to being attentive with each other. L--look at the other person. Let them know you are there for them. A--ask questions. This way you are engaging them to fully understand what they are saying. D--Do not change the subject. You are being trusted with a very pertinent part of this person's life and constantly changing the subject will change your relationship. D--Do not interrupt. They have a train of thought to share with you and please let them finish it. E--Empathy. Bring empathy to this moment in support of what all is being talked about. R--Respond verbally or non verbally. Your very response, which ever way you choose in the moment will validate their position, themself as an individual and strenthen your connection with one another. Listening will always communicate your understanding, trust, support and emphasis you place, on how much you regard the other person. The openness and accceptance you have to teach in the moment, will help them do the very same thing, as they begin to pay it forward with others. Wouldn't you love to be the author of teaching that lesson?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Coaching Verses Counseling

Whenever asked the question, "isn't coaching just like counseling"?, my reply will generally be about the distinction between the two. I have come to realize that in back of the question is sometimes a need for clarification because many times a person has been through the counseling/therapy process and is looking for something diffferent. As other coaches have remarked to me, that if a new client is in need of counseling we make that recommendation as well. Some people are in the place to need to understand why and how their life got to be where it is. Problems from the past have a way of staying in step with present and future lives. Thank God for the training counselors have to assist their clients in traveling back through time to identify issues which have created the very conflict people are in. No one needs to have the responsibility of carrying around burdens from the past with them. Coaches however, work in the future in a time we have yet to live. We help create success plans for tomorrow and redefine what new decisions or goals can be developed for having a fuller, richer, happier, healthier and balanced life. We also develop a very confidential bond with our clients because we want them to discover what new methods of living are going to be the most effective and rewarding for them. We begin immediately to give our clients control over their lives. We are able to present many ways of seeing a situation through a different lens for success. Never do we take the position of telling a client "what" to do as opposed to showing them many ways of "how" they can choose differently to achieve their goal oriented results. The sole purpose of coaching is to focus on the needs of the client. This is a "Personal Improvement Process."