I am an avid reader , rather a greedy reader whose “to read” list is constantly growing and never sees an end. I have that innate feeling that I am not reading enough and absorbing knowledge. I would like always to see that I am one step ahead – of whom , God knows. I would like myself to be seen as well-read and informed person so reading is a passion for me. I also like to listen interesting people talk or people talk about their interesting ideas. So here it goes I like to listen , to read and discuss ideas and of course implement few of them that have helped me change – for the better I believe.
Being a good listener, I decided to exploit this quality of mine into becoming a Coach.I completed a coach training and now I am on my journey to being a coach.
We are born and brought up in an education system, in career path to prove ourselves. To prove that you know something better than others. You acquire skills, information, form opinions and judgments. Of course all this is necessary to navigate this complex world. But when it comes to coaching this ability is hindrance. Coaching is helping the client/ coachee to find his /her solutions and inspire them to act on it. So your knowledge is often a hindrance to what the client is saying. You are there as a thinking partner of the client and not a solution provider. Author Chad Hall MCC , in his book “ Coaching Mindset -8 ways to think like a coach” says the first prescription is to “ Take a dumb pill”. How apt and interesting ?But alas if that was easy!
Every time you listen to something you start interpreting it in your mind. And this may be a subconscious process – of which you are not even aware of. Other day in a peer coaching session I was coaching a person. He chose a topic to be discussed and behold, my mind started passing judgments. Is it a topic for Coaching? What is he going to do with this? Does he want to prove something? Is he faking it? Is he just filling the time? Whole lot of things ran in my mind. By the time I was again in the dialog much water had flown. I realized that I should have taken a dumb pill. I should have been able to unlearn all my learning and be present with the client ,understanding that the topic he has chosen is important for him. So how to go about it? There is no dumb pill available. How wonderful it would have been if there really was a pill which you can take and effect will last only for coaching session. But no, that is just pure fantasy.
So how you become present without judgment interfering in the process. Just listen. Suddenly I remembered a video I had seen sometime back of J Krishnamurty. “The art of Listening, seeing and Learning” . In this video he is answering a question about which is the highest form of art? Listening without judging, evaluating , without memory coming into picture and interpreting what is being said from the past accumulated knowledge. This he calls highest form of art. He quotes a beautiful example of listening to a person who is wearing a perfume. If you like the perfume then your listening will be different and if you are repelled by the perfume your listening will be completely different. So whatever you feel, perceive through senses affects listening. How true. In the example I gave above it was the topic of discussion itself coloured my further listening. So how to go about it . I do not have ready answers for this. I think it takes time to master the art of listening. Being non- judgmental, being not smart than the other person, being present with the person. I think these are conscious choices one should make. If I can make these choices I am sure I am on my right path to being a coach.
Not only this if we just listen probably we will find deeper meaning in our relationships. We will listen to nature and its voice and understand how we are connected[. Oh I think I am becoming too philosophical. But can we have techniques to improve our listening. Being present in the conversation. That could be another post I think.