Tag: listening

3D Ideas 739: Watch their feet!

feet-692024_1920Claire writes: “Once again on a one day course with people who have never used coaching before, we have had some deep learning about listening.  She said she was stuck.  She stood with her feet poised as though about to start a run. She wasn’t as stuck as she thought.
People speak with their bodies before they speak with their voice – one of the key skills of listening is to use our eyes.  No great analysis of body language.  Simply notice.”
© 2016 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 708: Listen With Your Eyes

Listen with your eyesClaire writes: “Active Listening is often used as a descriptor for coaching. I think I must be a slow learner as I am only just articulating that active means listening with all our senses. Which is why listening with our eyes is so important – and saves loads of time.

People’s gestures are almost always ahead of their speech. So someone who is saying they’re stuck may be moving their hands in a forward gesture. When you start listening with your eyes, you will also notice whether your colleague is thinking (looking away, slightly hesitant) or telling you things they know already (maintaining eye contact, speaking fluently). Learning to listen like this is quite difficult when you are learning the art of powerful questioning at the same time. But next time you’re in a meeting and it’s not your bit, watch and you’ll begin to hear differently.”
© 2016 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 658: Right Here Right Now

Claire writes: ‘People and their stuff are so interesting, if you’re that way inclined, that it’s easy to spend a lot of time finding out more and more.  That means in many 1-1s, the person becomes less significant as we engage in earnest listening and talking to their stuff – and not to them.  It feels supportive and interested… but unless we ask what we need to do right here and right now in this conversation, we may well end up going off at some very useful tangents or revisiting things they have thought about already.

What we are learning is that it’s easy to get back on track if that happens – all you have to ask is – ‘So, right here right now, what’s the most helpful thing we can do to move that forward.’  Occasionally people will ask you to solve that problem you were talking to – if that is in your gift – but most often they will ask you for something different!

Principle 2: Talk to the person not the problem’

© 2014 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 634: Time Making

Claire writes: “A colleague often used to say that people needed ‘a good listening to’.  There seems to be universal agreement that taking enough time to think is a useful and important skill.  When we run courses and do 1-1s, we notice that people think differently – silence may help some – but talking or writing is an important part of the thinking process for others.

A recent article in The Guardian about Sarah Teather’s decision to spend time on retreat in order to decide about her future as an MP raises a different question.  “This politician just needed to shut up and stop talking in order to make a decision”, she says of her month long listening experience.

Making time to think and listen is important.  What is enough time this time?”

© 2014 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 607: Riddles and Risk

If you’ve been waiting for our next day for people wanting to work on communication, conflict and confidence using DiSC, we have now booked this at the Goldsmith’s Centre in Letchworth on Tuesday 4th June.

Claire writes: “I heard David Clutterbuck talking at the University of Hertfordshire recently where he described no less than six levels of listening – ranging from listening to argue to listening to help the other person understand.  Many of us are eager to listen to problem solve – especially at work or when someone comes with a thorny issue. His sixth and highest level is listening with the human eye and without intent – which is what we endeavour to do in coaching.

Listening is often more about listening to mystery and riddles than it is to making total sense and coming up with fully formed solutions. Rilke describes it well in Letters to a Young Poet (1934): “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now.”

Many of the challenges we encounter at work and in the world are complex.  As an article in Smithsonian magazine puts it, we would do well to know whether we are exploring a mystery or solving a puzzle.

© 2013 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 577: Popcorn Moments

Claire writes:  “We had a great start to the latest open Coaching for Excellence last week and it reminded me a popcorn moment which another recent delegate used to describe too much curiosity.

How often have you been in a one to one when, instead of having the conversation you need to have, you spend a long time listening to a very interesting story.  Because you’re interested. So interested that you have almost opened the popcorn to sit down and listen the whole show.

I agree with those who advocate that narrative and story are an important part of learning.  But too much narrative and story can make it easy to avoid the conversation that needs to be had.  You’ll only know if you need the narrative if you ask them – do I need to hear it (apart from curiosity), or do you need to say it in order to understand? Think about it…”

© 2012 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 563: Active seeing

Claire writes: “The latest Coaching for Excellence course is underway.  One of the exercises on Day 1 is to listen without responding and to say what they heard and also what they saw.  So often we are listening whilst forming a question, a hypothesis or even a shopping list!

Coaching is about noticing not about diagnosing.  And learning to listen even more effectively is a key skill – in all aspects of life.  At the end of Day 1 we asked the delegates what they had learned.  One person referred to the listening  exercise: Active seeing is as important as active listening. Think about it…”

© 2012 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 547: The power of being there

Jane writes: ‘Sometimes it’s enough to just listen.  Research by Professor Jose Luis Villegas Castellanos in 2009 found that people who talked out loud to think through maths problems were able to solve them faster and had more chance of getting the right answer. We have found this to be true for people who are tackling any type of problem; it’s a smart way to learn.  Saying things out loud helps people to hear themselves, and through hearing they can reach a level of understanding that might not otherwise have been possible.

Sometimes as coaches (or friends, managers, colleagues) we just need to be there, to listen. Think about it…

Incidentally, Prof Castellanos also noticed that drawing or making a pictorial representation relating to the problem also contributes to its solution.’

© 2011 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 531: The importance of context

Claire writes: “After a recent coaching supervision where we had been exploring the power of saying very little, I said to the coach: ‘Less is More’.  She responded: ‘Even less is even more.’

I was so struck by the powerfulness of her comment that I put it on Twitter.  And received many strange responses including: I was puzzled because the logical extension was that nothing is everything. Either very profound or… 🙂

I still think ‘Even less is even more’ is profound in one to one conversations which are so often full of noise.  And it’s also a great lesson of the importance of context! Think about it…”

© 2011 3D Coaching Ltd
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Less is More

In ‘Techniques for Coaching and Mentoring ‘, Megginson and Clutterbuck suggest that “It takes approximately 4.5 seconds of silence on the car radio for the average person in western society to change channels.  Silence is a phenomenon we are ill equipped to handle; we attempt to fill it as quickly as possible.  Yet silence truly can be golden”

If you are a coach, and you know that you talk too much, contract with your client at the beginning of the conversation that you won’t break the silence – it’s up to your client to tell you when they are ready to speak again.

3D Juggling 495: Big Conversations

Jane writes: “Do you remember when Tony Blair launched a ‘Big Conversation’ consultation exercise. Back in November  2003?  Blair said that “We must engage people about the choices needed”.  At the time critics of the idea dismissed it as a New Labour “gimmick”.  The Conservative head of policy co-ordination said “I hope he really does listen. The trouble is all the evidence is he won’t”.

The idea of the big conversation hasn’t gone away – in fact it’s grown.   At its international conference later this year the International Coach Federation is introducing five Global Conversations to be held concurrently over a two-and-a-half-hour period, taking the place of a traditional keynote address.  These will be pretty big conversations!

So who does your organisation need to be having big conversations with? Whose voice do you need to hear in order to truly understand how to adapt and change in order to remain competitive and effective? Is it your customers, your suppliers, your competitors, funders? Or is it policymakers, politicians, local communities?

Big conversations need a purpose. They also need an appropriate environment and the right people need to be engaged. Here are some of the principles that you need to consider:

•    Create a hospitable place
•    Set the context
•    Explore questions that matter
•    Encourage everyone’s participation
•    Cross pollinate and connect diverse perspectives
•    Listen together for patterns, insights and deeper questions
•    Harvest and share collective discoveries

Imagine what you could do if you could see and understand all the connections, dependencies, synergies and opportunities which at the moment are hidden from you, or remain undiscovered. People like to be listened to, and heard, and understood, and they like to know that they have had some influence about things that are important to them. Why not take advantage of that?”

If you would like us to help you explore how to have big conversations, come out for a cup of coffee with us to talk about how we can help you.  We’ll pay!

© 2010 3D Coaching Ltd
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