This week I’m recommending a wonderful book I’ve been reading by Nancy Kline called Time to Think in which she talks about the importance of creating a thinking environment because ‘the quality of our attention determines the quality of other people’s thinking.’ It’s powerful and reminds me what a super skill listening is.
As a coach and trainer I’m often told I’m a great listener. And, yes it’s true I am pretty good at it, but reading the book I have become aware how often I forget to listen when I’m hanging out with my friends and family. Many times I catch myself falling short – like when I realise I’m multi-tasking on the phone to my friend, diving in with my advice on her problem or interrupting my husband to share my story about the time that thing he’s describing happened to me too.
This results in a situation where they tell me that ‘no you don’t understand’ or ‘I just need you to listen’ and they’re right – I feel the same way too on receiving unwanted advice. These are the people I care about the most and I want to give them the respect and space they deserve by really listening.
Do you catch yourself listening to answer or add your comments too?
I have noticed that when I let go of the impulse to jump in and talk, conversations are more relaxed. I’m learning fascinating new things about people just by being present and paying attention. They feel heard, sometimes that’s all that was needed and often they find their own answer in the process.
When was the last time you really listened to someone when they were speaking? Challenge yourself to listen to their story, listen to their emotions and really hear them. Be prepared to be surprised.
Carol Conway CPCC
Coach & Collaborator