How Well do You Listen?

I’m taking a course on coaching. This is a new thing for me, and I’ve been slowly trying to get myself acclimated to listening to lectures. While the material is really interesting, I’ve found that my attention-span is lacking. I’m getting much better, however I find that it’s really hard to just do one thing at a time. I have the feeling that if I’m only doing one thing, I’m not doing enough. Of course I never have this issue when reading.

I wanted to share something I’ve learned with you. I’m sure you have probably figured it out, but it’s been a wonder to me. When people are faced with a situation they don’t know how to solve; the best thing to do is ask a series of questions in order to make them realize that they actually do know how to solve their issue. It’s all in the questions that you ask them.

It’s a miracle, right? So, why didn’t I realize this before? People know how to solve their own problems…I don’t have to go out and find a solution for them. My son, in particular, seems to think that I have an obligation to solve all his problems for him; when in fact he’s got the answers all along. It’s not my responsibility; whew, now I know that I’m off the hook. I was hoping so, since he’s an adult; why should I solve every issue for him?

So the take-away that I wanted to share with you is that, when someone asks you what they should do about a certain situation, instead of telling them, ask questions; and listen to their answers. How many times do we jump in and give advice? I know that I do… But, this is not what the other person is really looking for. How do I know that? How many times have you given perfect advice, the most logical thing for the person to do to solve their problem, and they don’t do it! And, just how frustrating is that? But, if you ask a series of open-ended questions, you can get them to find their own answer; and, since it’s their answer, chances are, they will follow their own advice!  It’s a miracle, that is!

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4 thoughts on “How Well do You Listen?

  1. Sometimes I remind myself that listening is the task at hand, not fixing. I am a writer and love word games and never thought about how silent and listen are the same letters. That is awesome and a terrific cue!

  2. This is a common practice for many therapists. Good advice, especially from a parenting point of view. I tend to start with suggestions and then catch myself and start to ask the kids how they think they should handle it and them maybe play devil’s advocate with them.

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