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Develop Deep Listening with Executive Coaching

The current business environment is characterized by intense competition, rapid technological change, and a growing emphasis on innovation and agility. In this context, executive coaching has become an increasingly popular tool for businesses and leaders looking to improve their performance and stay ahead of the curve.

One of the main reasons for the growing popularity of executive coaching is that it can help leaders navigate the complex and rapidly changing business environment. Executive coaches can help leaders develop the skills and strategies they need to navigate uncertainty, drive innovation, and stay ahead of the competition.

Some great examples of people who have benefited from such services are Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey. They have been reported to have used coaching to help them become more effective leaders, improve their communication skills and make better decisions.

“Leadership to me means duty, honor, country. It means

Character, and it means listening from time to time”

-George W. Bush

Another reason for the popularity of executive coaching is that it can help leaders develop the soft skills that are increasingly in demand in the modern business environment. This includes skills such as effective communication, emotional intelligence, and leadership. As companies are becoming more diverse and global, leaders need to be able to work effectively with people from different backgrounds and cultures.

“In today’s fast-paced environment, it can be troublesome to fit in full coaching sessions, especially for executives, which is why developing the skill of active learning is such a boon. You can fit in coaching moments and small conversations and get the most out of them by being an attentive listener” (Leading Effectively Staff, 2021) [1].

Executive Coaching

Executive coaching is a professional service that helps business leaders develop their leadership skills and achieve their goals. There are many businesses and leaders who have used or currently use executive coaching to improve their performance and impact.

Some examples of businesses that have used executive coaching include IBM, GE, and Cisco Systems. These companies have used coaching to help their leaders develop skills such as strategic thinking, effective communication, and decision-making.

The growth of remote work during the pandemic has also increased the importance of virtual coaching. Many companies and leaders have turned to virtual coaching to help them adapt to the new normal and stay productive while working remotely. Virtual coaching enables leaders to receive coaching services from anywhere in the world, making it an accessible and convenient way to improve their leadership skills.

“I only wish I could find an institute that teaches people how to listen. 

Business people need to listen at least as much as they need to talk.

Too many people fail to realize that real communication goes in both directions”

-Lee Iacocca

Executive coaching can help you not only achieve goals but also help you realize goals you didn’t know you wanted to achieve. There is also the added benefit of honest feedback which is scarce for executives. The productiveness boost is also a great benefit for both the leader and the business.

Overall, executive coaching is a valuable tool for businesses and leaders looking to improve their performance and impact. With the help of experienced coaches, they can develop the skills and strategies they need to achieve their goals and lead their organizations to success.

Deep Listening

Deep listening is a method of active and attentive listening that aims to fully understand the speaker’s thoughts, feelings, and perspective. It is a way of truly hearing and engaging with what the other person is saying, rather than just passively hearing their words.

“People often pay little attention to the other side in a conversation because we hear through the barrier of our own experiences and don’t make a deliberate effort to understand and hear the speaker. This is why deep listening is such a crucial skill in both business and life” (Kashinov, 2019) [2].

Deep listening involves more than just hearing the words that are spoken. It also involves paying attention to nonverbal cues, such as body language and tone of voice, as well as the speaker’s emotions and underlying meaning. This approach is often used in situations where the listener wants to understand the speaker’s perspective and build trust and rapport.

Deep listening requires the listener to be present, open-minded, and non-judgmental. It involves setting aside one’s own thoughts and opinions and actively trying to understand the speaker’s point of view. The listener should be able to put themselves in the speaker’s shoes and understand their perspective.

There are 4 major levels to deep listening: language pattern, emotions, understanding & exploring context.

  1. Language Pattern

A conversation is more than just words being spoken, there is also visual and kinetic aspect of the conversation. Learning to read a person’s body language is a great skill to have, especially for a leader since it can often reveal the true feelings of the person. Try to pay attention to both verbal and non-verbal cues in a conversation. The art of reading body language is closely tied to the art of deep listening.

  1. Emotions

It is crucial that you get a good grasp of the emotion of the conversation. It is best to get a good feeling about the mood of the person you are conversing with. This level involves listening to the speaker’s words and emotions, and reflecting back to the speaker what they have said. How the person is feeling is an important aspect of their attitude and their perspective of reality.

  1. Understanding

A true understanding of someone and what they mean is hard to obtain. It is vitally important for a coach to understand their clients. This level faces the major issue of “Listener Bias” which is a tendency of a listener to interpret and evaluate a speaker’s message based on their own preconceptions, beliefs, and attitudes. Learning to understand is crucial in gaining trust and is how you transition into thinking about solutions.

  1. Exploring Context

A person can, on average, write 25 words per minute, speak 125 – 160 words per minute, listen at 400 words per minute, and think at 900 words per minute. This means that what you are listening to is only a small portion of what the speaker is actually thinking. To fully explore what they mean you need to ask for more information, use silence to give the speaker time to reflect and contribute more and ask ‘What else?’ until they fully exhaust their dialog. At this point you should have all the information that they want to share with you, giving you a clearer picture.

“Listening is an art that requires attention over

Talent, spirit over ego, others over self”

-Dean Jackson

“Deep listening can be a powerful communication tool because fully absorbing the speaker’s words means to understand their meaning, emotions, and intention. You can encourage them to speak more openly and honestly by developing a rapport with them which can only happen if they feel like they are being heard” (Team Tony) [3].

In summary, deep listening is a method of active and attentive listening that aims to fully understand the speaker’s thoughts, feelings, and perspective. It requires the listener to be present, open-minded, and non-judgmental, and to actively seek to understand the speaker’s point of view. It can be beneficial in many different contexts and is a fundamental skill for effective communication and building strong relationships.

Benefits

Deep listening is a powerful tool that can bring many benefits to both personal and professional relationships. It involves actively listening and trying to understand the speaker’s thoughts, feelings, and perspective, rather than just passively hearing their words.

This approach can help to improve mutual understanding and reduce misunderstandings, increase empathy and build stronger relationships, resolve conflicts and find mutually beneficial solutions, and improve communication.

Additionally, deep listening can help to increase emotional intelligence by allowing the listener to understand and respond to the speaker’s emotions and nonverbal cues. Trust and connection are also built when people feel truly heard and understood, they are more likely to trust and feel connected to the person who is listening.

“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal

From listening carefully. Most people never listen”

-Ernest Hemingway

Deep listening can also be a powerful tool for personal growth by allowing the listener to gain insight into their own thoughts and feelings, and to understand and connect with others. In the professional arena, it is essential for professional growth, as it can help individuals and organizations to build better relationships with customers, clients, and colleagues, and to create a more collaborative and productive work environment.

“Good deep listening is at the very center of all healthy relationships. Listening is a life skill that everyone has but very few have mastered. Your deep listening skills can improve your current relationships, both professional and personal. Through this skill, you can perform better at your job and build more successful relationships” (Allen) [4].

Ultimately, deep listening is a tool that can bring many benefits to both personal and professional relationships and helps to foster personal and professional growth. A skill that can be applied in nearly all aspects of your life is a skill worth learning.

Conclusion

The current business landscape is characterized by a growing demand for executive coaching. As competition and technological change continue to accelerate, businesses and leaders are turning to coaches to help them stay ahead of the curve and develop the skills and strategies they need to succeed in today’s fast-paced, dynamic business environment.

In conclusion, deep listening is a valuable skill that can bring many benefits to both personal and professional relationships. It involves actively listening and trying to understand the speaker’s thoughts, feelings, and perspective, rather than just passively hearing their words.

This is where executive coaching can provide valuable support in helping individuals and leaders develop the art of deep listening. A coach can help leaders navigate the complex and rapidly changing business environment by developing the skills and strategies they need to navigate uncertainty, drive innovation, and stay ahead of the competition.

“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime

Of listening when you’d have preferred to talk”

-Doug Larson

Moreover, by working with a coach, leaders can develop the soft skills that are increasingly in demand in the modern business environment, such as effective communication, emotional intelligence, and leadership.

“Deep listening is a beneficial skill for a leader to have, the benefits of which can ripple across the organization. The more you listen the more you can learn which can translate to success at your job” (Beheshti, 2020) [5].

Furthermore, as many companies and leaders have turned to virtual coaching to help them adapt to the new normal, remote coaching can also be an accessible and convenient way to improve leadership skills. In short, developing the art of deep listening with the support of executive coaching can help individuals and leaders to improve their performance, build stronger relationships, and achieve their goals.

In recent times, executive coaching has become nearly a necessity for successful leadership. That’s not to say that you can’t succeed without it, but it is definitely a big plus to have by your side.

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Coaching 4 Companies – Your premier executive coaching service

(Book-in-a-call-today)

We are a young, vibrant, and diverse executive career coaching group, with the operation registered in 2019, however, the formation was a 45-year career lifetime in preparation. During that period our founder Wayne Brown observed and worked with leaders of all levels in organizations across industries and cultures globally.

Based on that exposure, our company has intentionally set out to support those practicing the art and science of leadership – or as often referred to, “Executive Talent.” These are people who acknowledge that they are not experts. They are open to opportunities for continued growth and carry the desire for learning what is needed to become a success in today’s complexity and uncertainty.

To this end, we have purposely structured our company and engaged with associates in strategic global locations, so that we are able to provide the full suite of transformational executive career coaching, facilitation, and education support required.

 

References

[1]: Leading Effectively Staff, 2nd December 2021, How to Use Active Listening Skills to Coach Others

[2]: Krasimir Kashinov, 22nd July 2019, The Art of Listening

[3]: Team Tony, The Power Of Deep Listening

[4]: Roger K. Allen, The Art of Deep Listening

[5]: Naz Beheshti, 30th Jan 2020, Reclaim The Lost Art Of Deep Listening

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