Here’s my experience how listening builds trust and creates coaching breakthroughs.
I just finished a coaching session with one of my clients. They told me they were going through some tough times and challenges at work.
“How can I best support you around this?” I asked.
“Well, let me share more detail around what’s going on and why I’m so upset and frustrated, okay?”
For the next 40 minutes, the floodgates were opened. My client told me what was going on, however, they spent most of their time sharing and unloading their feelings, frustrations, fears, and thoughts that were bottled up inside.
During this conversation, I may have asked only three or four questions.
And inevitably, at the end of the coaching session, my client said, “Thanks so much for your advice. This was really helpful.”
I didn’t give any advice, answers, opinions, or guidance. What I did give this person was the gift they desperately needed.
An unconditional ear and sounding board to feel heard, listened to, and supported, without feeling judged.
Sometimes, when coaching, the most valuable thing you can provide is just being there with them, in silence.
What they needed most was a safe place for them to share and bring what was eating them up inside to the surface so they can talk it out and decompress, because that’s what was most valuable for them.
Be mindful of what people need most when coaching. At the end of a coaching session, sometimes, there are no action steps or tasks to complete.
At a time when people feel more isolated and lonelier than ever before in our new hybrid world, non-judgmental, proactive listening can be the greatest gift you can give for people to feel connected.
Besides, look at the words SILENT and LISTEN. They both share the exact same letters. 😊