Flickr photo by Ky Olsen used under creative commons license.
The more I read on coaching and leading, the more I reflect on the importance of listening. Listening is an art. An art that requires active participation and concentration. In the past, I have worked with leaders who spent far too much time talking at people without ever listening to what others had to share. I have also worked with coaches who felt that the best way to coach or support a teacher, was to tell them what to do.
Listening plays such a critical role in building trusting relationships, especially during times of change. The best coaching and leading takes place when such relationships exists as the foundation of an organization. “Listening skillfully and well to people as they react to change can help them move through their grief reactions and can be a powerful way to build trust in the midst of change, ” writes Megan Tschannen-Moran in Trust Matters: Leadership for Successful Schools (2004,p. 171)
CCC licensed work by Creator: Imelda Bickham
I found the above image in a simple search for images of “listening”. I like the differences spelled out between repeating, paraphrasing, and reflecting. Since this abecedary is driven by reflection, I tried to render a message about each word above using my own words to capture the essence. Listening is not just about hearing the words someone else says, but responding in a way that acknowledges the meaning behind the spoken words. Active listening requires thinking, processing, and responding through meaningful exchanges.
Jim Knight’s book Better Conversations goes into great detail on the importance of listening in a coaching relationship.
Reflective questions to consider:
- How well do you listen?
- How have you developed the skills of an effective listener?
- How important is listening to your learning and/or leadership?
Abecedary of Reflection