- What behaviors define leaders that listen?
- They do not cut off people in the middle of sentences.
- They do not look at their blackberry or computer when someone is talking to them.
- They do not ridicule people in public or private. This action almost insures that people will assume that you are not a good listener.
These are just some of the observations I have made in my experience in working with high-powered leaders. The best leaders have been able to balance these behaviors with the amount of time they spend listening to people who are not very articulate or succinct in their conversation. Essentially, good listening is a character trait. A person must have a general respect for others if he wants to be a good listener. Leaders that look down on the people who work for them are not able to make a permanent shift from poor listener to great listener unless there is a shift in the way that they view people.
Some effective ways to make someone feel heard are:
- Make eye contact consistently
- Acknowledge their words by asking clarification questions to show that you are really trying to understand what they are saying
- Use body language that demonstrates that you are not distracted. If you are distracted, tell them and have the conversation later
- If you are on the phone, you will have to acknowledge more than you would in person by using phrases that confirm that you are attentively listening on the other line. (i.e. uh-huh, makes sense, okay)
Hiring a coach is a difficult decision. Many people spend time and anxious energy in deciding whether what they are hiring a coach for can be done themselves. For example, recently I thought of hiring a marketing coach. I know all the essentials that I need to accomplish to market my business. Yet, I had the opportunity to work with a coach that would help me with marketing. I had a few conversations with the coach and decided that this was something that I wanted to try out on my own. It was an intuitive feeling that led to this decision. On the other hand, I am currently using a coach to help me navigate through the fundamentals of establishing a sound coaching practice, financially, organizationally and emotionally.
Recently, a potential client asked me a great question. How do I know I can trust you? The client works for a financial institution that is extremely particular about what information it shares with the public. I answered the question intuitively. I told him that legally, all we can do is sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement. We agreed that most of the time, that agreement is nothing but a piece of paper. I told him that it is not in my best interest to share information about clients with other people. What I do is based fundamentally on trust. If I violate a client’s trust by divulging information to another client or anyone else for that matter, I risk losing my client. I also risk taking on a reputation for violating peoples’ trust. The person who I divulge the information to will think twice in the future before telling me anything that is even remotely sensitive in nature. Other than the fact that I had my reputation to lose, I could not come up with any other reason for my potential client to trust me from the get go. So, I simply said to him that we would have to see after we start work together if we have the ability to establish a trusting relationship.
Great article in the WSJ on how we will view work in the future:
In order for a person to be coachable she has to be at a point where she is looking for movement. She must be dissatisfied enough with her current state or she should have an intense desire to reach her future state. Above all, she has to be convinced that shifts in perspective can occur and that these occurrences can produce positive outcomes.