Not listening shuts people down quite quickly and they go, “why should I bother to share?”

Hi there and welcome.

It’s Kerstin Jatho here. A transformational coach who focuses on shifting people from languishing to thriving. In today’s video, I want to talk to you about how leaders can develop deep listening skills.

When I underwent my coach training, the first competency and skill that you have to learn is active listening.

It sounds easy, but it is one of the most difficult skills to master because it’s listening unconditionally to a person without wanting to butt in, give advice, or have your own voice heard. And as you know, mastery takes up to 10,000 hours. So, I’m not sure if I’ve mastered it yet, but for leaders, it’s all about the listening. And why it’s important for you as a leader is that if people know you are intently listening to them, listening to understand, listening to hear where they’re coming from, they will share their ideas and their creativity.

If people notice that you’re listening with half an ear, or as I would call it with the bronze medal while thinking of other things, people will stop talking. They stop communicating with you. They stop participating.

Is that what you want to happen in your team? So, learning to listen is all about focusing on the other person. It’s not about you. You don’t feature at all when you engage in deep listening. Hence, I want to leave you with these seven tips on how to very practically enhance your deep listening.

1. Remove distractions

The first one is to remove all distractions. Really set the intention to listen to somebody and focus on them.

2. Paraphrase and Summarise

The second one is to paraphrase and summarise as much as you can to ensure that you are with the person in the conversation and that you are understanding what they are saying. If it’s not, the person will correct you. However, they appreciate that you are listening. So, they will carry on communicating with you.

3. Ask open-ended questions

The third one is to ask open-ended questions. So, these are questions that cannot be answered with a yes or no. Those are closed questions. And you would have to ask another question to really get an answer.

4. Refrain from ‘Why’ questions

The fourth one is to ask: What? How? Who? and When? questions. Try and stay away as much as you can from why questions. Why questions are defensive questions. People become very defensive and they close down. So, you might want information and you can ask the same question by just removing the why.

5. Focus on the person

The fifth one is to focus on the person. And I know it’s uncomfortable for some people to look the person in the eye. So, a common tip that we learned in coaching is to focus on the tip of their nose or on their forehead. They still believe you are looking at them, but it’s not a direct stare into their eyes.

6. Be comfortable with the silence

The sixth tip is don’t fill in the gap when there is silence. Silence means that the person is contemplating and thinking. So, you’ve obviously asked them a question which they have never thought of. So, don’t feel uncomfortable about silence. It’s actually a very positive sign.

7. Refrain from advice giving

The seventh step is don’t give advice. I’m sure you’ve all had the experience where you received advice from somebody, but you never followed it. Why? It didn’t motivate you. It didn’t encourage you, and it wasn’t yours. So, it was perhaps not of value.

Those are the seven tips I would love to leave you with on how to as the leader engage in deeper listening. Your team would so appreciate it, and really you’ll see the value. Because the deeper you listen, the more you’ll get out of your team from communication, ideas, and creativity. Not listening shuts people down quite quickly, and they go, “why should I bother, why should I share?”

So, as the leader, you want your team to participate right now and to share, to bring in collaboration and enhanced commitment.

Thank you for watching. I look forward to connecting with you in the next video.

I don’t want you to miss anything. So, I want to invite you to join me on social media. Subscribe to my YouTube channel, follow me on SoundCloud, and like me on Facebook.

Over to you for sharing your comments and experiences.

What strategies do you use to listen intently?

About the Author: Kerstin Jatho

Kerstin is the senior transformational coach and team development facilitator for 4Seeds Consulting. She is also the author of Growing Butterfly Wings, a book on applying positive psychology principles during a lengthy recovery. Her passion is to develop people-centred organisations where people thrive and achieve their potential in the workplace. You can find Kerstin on LinkedIn, Soundcloud, YouTube and Facebook.

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