Listening is a powerful communication skill that affects your leadership influence and relationships. When you listen well, people notice. Why? Because most people don’t practice good listening. Instead, they typically focus on being heard.
Ribbers and Waringa (2015) define seven levels of listening which are:
- Continually interrupts people, impatient when listening, wants to hear him- or herself talk, doesn’t get to the point easily
- Restrains him- or herself enough to listen but with visible signs of impatience, prefers to talk about own experiences
- Listens to others, polite and observes standard conversational etiquette, reactive conversational partner, doesn’t actively draw out others to talk
- Lets others talk, asks for clarifications, prefers to keep conversations about business
- Always takes the time to willingly listen, comes across as interested in the other person, gives appropriate feedback
- Gets people talking, exchanges information, listens well to others while giving natural responses, asks questions to get to the heart of the subject
- Expresses sensitivity to the needs of others, makes time for people, asks questions to clarify, gives feedback, shows involvement
We can’t always listen at a level seven, and frankly, not all conversations require a seven. However, we should be holistically aware of where we tend to operate and decide whether we need to focus on improving our listening skill. These listening definitions can also help us identify which conversations require which level of listening in order to improve the outcome for both speaker and listener. With a defined scale as reference, it’s easier to target and measure improvement.
Ribbers, A., & Waringa, A. (2015). E-Coaching: Theory and Practice for a New Online Approach to Coaching. New York, NY: Routledge.
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at email@example.com or visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com
Technology now allows us to write and send messages more efficiently and at our own comfortable pace. Gone are the days of conversation delays via trans-Atlantic letters and the Pony Express (a.k.a. snail mail). Because we can communicate in writing over the internet/SMS, e-coaching (e-mail/electronic coaching) was born and continues to grow in popularity.
E vs. Face-to-face Coaching
Coaching is a powerful process that can be delivered in many ways: face-to-face, video, telephone call, and through e-mail. Coaching has evolved with technology, and this has been to the benefit of the client. Some people like e-coaching more than face-to-face.
My clients enjoy e-coaching, because it allows them to deal with bite-size issues that fit with their personal situations better than the longer face-to-face sessions. They may be actively working toward their goals and only need to connect with a coach to bounce off an idea, brainstorm, or get a different perspective.
E-coaching can be just as effective, if not more than face-to-face coaching, because it allows clients the time and space to reflect, think, and consider their response. For people who have a preference toward introversion and a need for more self-reflection and introspection, e-coaching can feel more powerful, giving them a greater sense of control during the coaching process. If you’d like to learn more about your personal preferences toward intro- versus extroversion, read more about the Myers-Briggs.
Future of E-Coaching
E-coaching will continue to evolve with companies eager to apply its concepts on multiple fronts. Woosh5 incorporates e-coaching as an option to its resilience survey and platform of exercises. Shine Crossings offers a monthly subscription service that combines e-mail/small-call coaching on any topic a client needs help. Although face-to-face may continue to be the mainstream mode of coaching, e-coaching has a growing role in the coaching industry and may be the main catalyst for its growth.
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra by reaching out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com