New Directions

By Jim Ward

New Directions
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To be listened to is a striking experience, partly because it is so rare.”  Henry Kimsey-House, Co-Active Coaching

For years during my corporate career, I frequently heard the statement “my boss just doesn’t listen to me.” The lack of listening is an art form for many. Sadly, most people are not very good listeners. I have always held the view that you learn more from listening than you do talking. What a novel concept, right? I’m not sure it’s a universally accepted view, but I hold it. What does it mean to really be a good listener. The authors of the book Co-Active Coaching discuss this in some detail. There are some lessons for all of us here, not only to become better listeners on the job, but better listeners in general. The authors of this great book define listening in terms of levels. The basic level is where awareness is on ourself. For example, getting restaurant directions from someone. You focus is on getting the directions, not on the other person. The highest form of listening is 2-way communication where you are “one with the other person” and focused on that person and conversation. That is what you hope for when having serious conversations on the job. Conversations that don’t include both people are just counter-productive. Those conversations can leave you frustrated. We have all had the dreaded performance review where the person giving the review was just not listening and literally not in the same room with you. Practice being a better listener. Start observing yourself to gage how you are doing. Solicit feedback from colleagues. We can all do a better job at listening.

Until next time…





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