Active Listening and Coaching:
Coaching involves a lot of listening. Whether it be when meeting with an employee about what skills need to be worked on, or if an employee has a problem or conflict that they need help resolving, a coach needs to not only listen to them but understand them. When you are coaching it is important to use active listening. Active listening is defined as a communication technique that requires the listener to feed back what they hear to the speaker. As a coach, it is important that your employees feel you are listening to what they are saying and doing your best to work out a solution to any conflicts they have.
Steps to being a good active listener:
Step One: Be Ready to Listen
Make sure that you are prepared to focus on what your employee has to say. Have a pen and paper so you can take notes, this shows them that you are paying close attention to what they are saying and they know that what they say is important to you.
Step Two: Acceptance Responses
This is just simply nodding your head or saying something such as “I see” or “mmhm”. The purpose of this is to show them you are listening, but alos, it prevents you from interrupting them. Whether it is verbally or by using body language, it is an important part of active listening.
Step Three: Repeat or Paraphrase
Repeat-This means you should pick out the key words or phrases and restate them. It is better to restate them by using examples, to show them you truly understand what they are saying.
Paraphrase- Simply use your own words to restate what they have said. This doesn’t have to be long, for example you could say something like “So you feel frustrated and overwhelmed because…” and then ask “Is this how you feel?” This will help you to understand the message that they are trying to get across.
Step Four: Clarifying Questions
Asking questions gives you the chance to avoid conflict and misunderstandings. These will reduce any uncertainty that you have about what they have said, and gives the employee the chance to correct you on anything that you have misunderstood.
Step Five: Summarize
This is very similar to step three. Simply restate the key components of the conversation. This allows the employee to hear how you have interpreted what they have said and gives you both one last chance to make sure you are in total agreement of what has been talked about.Active listening is important to both the coach and the employee and is a vital step in creating a coaching culture and the development of employees.
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