Becoming a Master Listener

by Mike Goonan, MCC (IAC)

Being a great listener is the first step in becoming a masterful coach. It is extremely critical for us as coaches to be completely present with our clients. Our clients know and sense if we are present with them in the session or if we are wandering off.

Here are some easy tips you can implement immediately into your coaching sessions:

1) Check in with yourself
Before the coaching call ask yourself, "On a scale of 1-10, how present am I for this call?" Using the 1-10 scale allows us to become aware of anything that is interfering or might interfere with our listening during a coaching call.

2) Eliminate distractions
Set aside any pens, pencils, paper, books or anything else that might distract you when you’re coaching. Also, turn off your television, computer, cell phone, iPad or anything else that might take your attention away from the client.

3) Focus on the client
Remember, the entire coaching call is about the client, not about you as the coach! It is very natural for a client’s story to trigger something within us. If this happens, write it down so you have the opportunity to process it after the coaching call. On the other hand, a client's words can sometimes remind you of a story that could be beneficial to share. To make sure your focus is still on the client, check in about your motives. Do you truly feel moved to share the story in service of the client, or just because you want to tell the story? Also, always ask your client’s permission to tell the story, and follow up with a thought-provoking question that helps the client process the learning opportunity in the story.

4) Clarify, clarify, clarify
If a client makes a statement or uses a term that you don’t understand, check out the meaning. Your perception of a situation could be completely opposite of what your client is trying to get across. Open-ended questions and reflective listening are two great ways to clarify during a coaching call.

These four simple tips will help you to build and maintain stronger relationships with your clients and give you the opportunity to move them deeper in their process.

Mike Goonan, MCC (IAC), CFLC II is a Certified Fearless Living Coach and has been coaching individuals and couples for over five years. At the age of 24, Mike became the youngest MCC (IAC) to date, and continues to lead the way for coaches of the millennial generation.

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