What Do We Listen For?
In the last post, we covered what it is like when we are Listening To someone. The next step is how do we as leaders Listen For.
The three forms of listening are: Listening To, Listening For, and Listening With.
Listening For can be described as listening for the bigger context being expressed. Listening For enables us to listen for values, for purpose, and for commitment. (Williams & Menendez, 2015)
Practice Listening For
When we demonstrate Listening For with someone, we are setting aside our agenda and focused on the other person’s agenda. As a leader, this could look like asking questions that seek to understand and advance the focus of the person. Listen for possibilities, passions, and their aspirations. Listen for their strengths and discovery of new pathways.
Getting Caught Up In Solving The Problem
Listening For is not listening for a way to solve their problem. Listening For is not listening for an opportunity to express your opinion or tell a story that somehow tops theirs! These comments usually start with something like this…..”you think that is bad, I remember back when I was _______________”. (fill in the blank) If we are truly going to be a Listening Leader we need to put the needs of others ahead of our own stories and advice.
The Leader Who Listens For
The people you lead sometimes just need you to listen as they discover possibilities and purpose during the conversation. Believe it or not, they don’t need nor want you to solve all their challenges. The Listening Leader can truly have a positive impact on the people they lead. How can you set aside your agenda? What questions can you ask that will help advance the topic?
Williams, P., EdD, & Mendendez, D. S., PhD. (2015). Becoming a Professional Life Coach 2nd Edition: Lessons From The Institute For Life Coach Training. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
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