The coach’s ability to listen is one of the most important skills they use to facilitate coaching. An effective coach is an active listener. This means they ask questions, summarise frequently and repeat in their own words what they've understood the conversation to be about. They also listen to the tone of voice used, not just the spoken words, and they watch the speaker’s body language for additional information. They use smiles and nods to confirm they understand and encourage the coachee to continue.
Unfortunately, many people have developed some bad habits that make them ineffective listeners. Some of the habits include:
- mentally rehearsing what they will say in the next break in conversation
- interrupting the speaker
- jumping to conclusions
- finishing the speaker’s sentences for them
- changing the subject
- rushing the speaker
- giving their opinion before the speaker has concluded.
Are you a good listener? Use this questionnaire to find out if you have any bad listening habits that could jeopardise your ability to coach others.
Are you really listening?