It takes practice to be an outstanding listener. Setting aside internal and external distractions involves both focus and time. We also need to know what to listen for. Minds buzzing with activity find it difficult to deeply tune in to another person...to listen with intuition. Outstanding leaders are outstanding listeners.
We listen with intuition when we combine the words, context, body language and emotions of what is being said with what our "gut" says about what we are hearing. Listening in this way helps us better understand others and gives us clues to where we could follow up with a neutral question to help them better process their thoughts.
According to Tony Stoltzfus, in his book "Leadership Coaching", the five most important categories of intuition are these:
- The person's own discernment or insight about the situation
- Turning points or key actions and events
- Strong emotion or reaction
- Red Flags: things that don't seem right or don't sit right
- Patterns: Cause and effect relationships or repeated outcomes in actions or thinking
Good coaches use these techniques when listening to their clients and they are some of the best listeners around. Why not apply some of the same skills in your own life situations and see how they can benefit you and those around you? A listening ear is one of the best gifts we can give another.
What will you do with what you've learned?