Why listening is the number one life coaching skill

Life Coaching Blog

When hiring a life coach, clients express the vulnerabilities and struggles in their lives. A life coach needs to help their clients process these issues in order that they can move forward. If they aren’t able to listen to their clients’ feelings and expectations, they won’t be able to provide the right advice and guidance that the client needs in order to achieve their goals.

There are different listening perspectives that life coaches need to consider when developing their client-coach relationship.

Passive listening

Passive listeners don’t really pay attention when someone is talking. They listen without reacting or interrupting and don’t provide any feedback or understanding.

Life coaches can’t be passive listeners when it comes to their clients as they need to be able to give feedback about what their client is saying in addition to being able to understand what the client wants.

Active listening

Life coaches need to be active listeners. An active listener shows a true understanding of what the client is trying to say or express. Life coaches also need to use this skill to intuitively understand what their client is not saying.

They then need to use this information to support the client in expressing themselves, coming to realisations and making forward progress on their goals.

Active listening requires the life coach to forget about everything else happening around them and being completely present with their client.

In order to become an active listener, the life coach needs to:

Eliminate distractions

Create a distraction-free environment. There should be no phones computers or other people in the environment that would be able to distract the life coach or the client.

Have the right body language

The life coach needs to face their client while making eye contact. Their arms and legs should be uncrossed so that they look open and accepting. The life coach also needs to show positive reinforcement like nodding their head or leaning forward.

The right body language will make the client feel comfortable and allow them to open up more.

Ask questions

The life coach needs to continuously ask questions in order to clarify what their client is saying rather than making assumptions or guessing. This also encourages the life coach to stay alert and focused on what their client is saying.

By asking open-ended questions, the life coach is forcing the clients to better express what they are trying to say.

Ask for feedback

It can be difficult to interpret what other people are saying. This is why it is beneficial for life coaches to ask their clients to provide feedback after their session.

They repeat what they understood, from the conversation, back to the client and ask the client if what they’ve understood is correct. This allows misunderstandings to be avoided and lets the client know that the life coach is paying attention and genuinely cares about what has been said.

Life coaches need to be able to listen effectively to what their clients are saying. It is not only about hearing the words coming out of the clients’ mouth but fully asserting themselves to the conversation by understanding as well as providing feedback and insight.

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