Best Coaching Practices: The Art Of Active Listening

One of the best coaching practices is to master the art of active listening. As a good listener, it’s not enough to be able to parrot back the words the other person is saying. Active listening requires that you demonstrate that you are truly interested in the other person. It’s a necessity in order to establish rapport and in order to get the best possible outcomes for your clients during their coaching sessions.

Using Active Listening As Part Of Your Best Coaching Practices

• Listen with the intent of understanding the facts and the underlying emotions of what the other person is saying.
• Give appropriate feedback. Nod your head, empathize with your facial features, and keep your body language open. If you happen to be on the phone, you can use your body even though the other person can’t see you. It’s been shown that people can “hear” you smile over the phone.
• Paraphrase what you have heard them say. Not just the facts, but the underlying emotions. Ask questions in a way that lets the other person know you understand what he is trying to express, and also that you are interested in understanding at a deeper level.
• Give feedback and step into your client’s world. Feedback such as, “Wow,” “Hmm,” “Oh, really,” or even the occasional, “That’s horrible!” will people feel that you are with them.

Does This Mean You Have To Agree With Everything They Say?

Using active listening as part of your best coaching practices doesn’t mean you agree with your client’s perspective. It means going with them and spending some time in their world so you can step back outside and offer another perceptive. You wouldn’t jump into the ocean to save a friend who was drowning and start drowning with him, would you? No, you would throw a life ring out so you could safely pull him back to the boat. Active listening is about understanding your clients so you can offer the best strategy to move them forward.

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Colette Seymann
JTS Advisors Designated Accountability Coach

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