Coaching’s unique value proposition…listening

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” -Ralph Nichols

Poor listening skills are creating many unnecessary problems such as misunderstandings, mistakes being made, distrust, and hurt feelings. Hearing is not listening. Hearing is a passive activity and is a natural process. Listening is a learned skill for which most people receive little training. Coaches are trained to listen. Listening is in part what their clients are paying for. Coaches listen to much more than their client’s spoken words. They listen for expressions, feelings, emotions, values, vision and the unique way the client perceives their world.

Coaches use a variety of coaching skills, assessments and tools to help their clients move forward and achieve their goals. People hire coaches for a variety of reasons. They may be seeking more balance in their life, improved relationships, a more rewarding and fulfilling career, less financial pressure or have a desire to start a business. The perceived value of coaching is when the client’s goals are achieved through the coaching process.

Coaching’s unrecognized unique value proposition is powerful listening. If you were to ask someone why they hired a coach, no one would tell you it was to be truly listened to. Yet, coaches are trained to listen at the highest level. This level of listening is so powerful the listener is unaware of anything around them. Very few people listen at this level. It’s as though nothing else exists beyond their connection to their speaker. At this level of listening, coaches take in all that they can observe with their senses: what they see, hear, smell and feel along with the emotional senses they are hearing. Through the impact of a coach’s masterful listening skills, clients can begin to sense the coach’s desire to really listen and understand their needs. Because people rarely experience listening at such a deep level, clients coming away from the conversation feeling as if somehow their life was enhanced and looking forward to their next conversation.

“The experience of being understood, versus interpreted, is so compelling, you can charge admission.” -B. Joseph Pine II, The Experience Economy

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