We like to think we are listening properly to our partners, children, and work colleagues. But are we doing an effective job of it? This blog post explores a new way of understanding both how to listen, and consequentially how to communicate more effectively.
Listen Differently and Improve Your Relationships
Most people only consider counselling when they hit a substantial roadblock in their life and have difficult life decisions to make; or when they are feeling depressed or anxious. I would like to suggest that both counselling and coaching can be seen differently, as an opportunity to learn new tools and empower yourself with life skills to not only understand yourself better, but to make all your relationship interactions easier. You only have this life, and moving through it joyfully and effectively is a worthwhile goal.
Counselling and Coaching can teach you some tools to make you a more effective communicator at home and in the workplace.
One of the life skills that is underused is to listen powerfully. In this post I will outline some theories around listening. However, if you want to understand how to be a more effective partner, parent, colleague or leader, I suggest you book a session with me to determine your listening tendencies and how this effects your communication style.
Are We Speaking The Same Language?
If someone was speaking French to you, would you speak German back? For effective communication in personal relationships as well as at work, we need to use a language that communicates effectively for us, otherwise we can feel ignored or frustrated. To be able to communicate and be understood, we need to first know more about exactly how we are listening.
Four Levels of Listening
Otto Sharma who developed Theory U explains there are 4 levels of listening. They are as follows:
Level 1: Downloading
When you listen from your own perspective and from what you already know. You are listening to confirm your current viewpoint is correct. Listening from this position reflects the past and is a projection and is about habit.
Level 2: Data
When you listen for facts and notice the difference from what you already know. This is listening from an open mind and is the kind of listening that scientists do for example.
Level 3: Empathic
You listen from the viewpoint of someone else. It involves an open heartedness and involves an emotional connection.
Level 4: Generative
This deep form of listening is underused in everyday situations. When you use this deep listening technique, we use an open will and are essentially connecting with possibilities and the future that is trying to emerge.
Powerful Leaders Listen
Effective leadership comes from being able to consciously employ all levels appropriately. If you can do this for a substantial part of your interactions, you will not only be a more effective leader, but also more innovative, because you are permitting emergent ideas and thought processes to be more accessible to you. This is part of what I would term powerful leadership and it is something I teach during corporate coaching sessions as well as counselling sessions.
Parents are Underrated Leaders
One of the most important leadership roles in life does not happen in a corporate environment; it happens right at home. Effective listening skills help your children be themselves, and helps you as parents to facilitate that growth. Children are developing quickly, so they are perfect examples of how they are constantly moving into their own future. Parenting is the perfect learning environment! As parents, it is your job to facilitate an openness in our children to allow who they are becoming, to emerge. We do this by listening consciously to allow their future to come to them with ease. I can also teach you how to do that.
If you would like to access some new tools for your home life or work life, you can work with me online or in person.