Do you really listen?

While it does not surprise me, it saddens me that so many of the my clients and so many of my workshops include some discussion around listening. Overall, I would say that most of us are terrible listeners. When I led national sales teams, it was apparent that my sellers were lousy at listening and often missed the opportunity to connect with their clients. They thought that they knew better. The sellers would smile politely and nod, but then they would jump into their sales pitch, often ignoring what the client just said.

Listening is a skill that can be learned. I feel that if we were all better listeners, the world would be in a better place. But what makes a good listener? When coaching clients, I lean into the Co-Active Coaching framework on Listening Levels, describing them this way:

  • Listening Level 1: when you are listening to someone else, but your mind is preoccupied with other thoughts, such as wondering when the speaker will stop talking or thinking about sending a message to a colleague.
  • Listening Level 2: when you quiet your mind and give your full attention to the other person. You’re consciously listening to every word, processing it, and responding accordingly. You are fully receptive to what they are saying.
  • Listening Level 3: when you are fully connected with the other person, and every aspect of your being is in sync with theirs. Listening “as though you and the client are the center of the universe.” This is an intense and powerful level of listening.

As an Executive Coach, I spend most of my life listening to clients at Level 2 or 3 and it can be transformative. Truly listening to another person is a gift. Give it a try!

“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m
going to learn, I must do it by listening.”
— Larry King
Worth The Share

From my work in change management, I know that changing the culture of a company is quite difficult, but when I read this article by Gallup, I was pretty surprised. The article, “What Leaders are Asking” focuses on the questions that leaders should be asking and what those questions really mean.

Consider these stats from Gallup, the comments are mine:

  • Globally, one in four employees strongly agree their opinions count at work (Is anyone listening?)
  • About two in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree that the leaders of their organization has clear direction for the organization (Yikes!)
  • Fewer than two in 10 American workers indicate their company is agile. (What year are we living in?)
  • Fewer than one in four U.S. employees strongly agree that they can apply their organization’s values to their work every day. (Where is the gap?)
  • On average, a third of employees strongly agree that their associates are committed to doing quality work. (Where is the standard of excellence?)

Read the full article to uncover some ideas and strategies to make a positive impact on your company’s culture.

And Finally...

Speaking of the Gallup Organization, I encourage you to take the CliftonStrengths34 assessment if you haven’t already. And if you took it a few years ago, take it out of your file cabinet or find it on your computer and dust it off.

What I love about CliftonStrengths is that it challenges us to focus on our strengths, to understand them, to benefit from appreciating our own uniqueness and to learn how to live our best life. My top five strengths are: Connectedness, Positivity, Activator, Relator, and Responsibility. For anyone who knows me well, this comes as no surprise. That said, these strengths remind me daily of the benefits and pitfalls that are tied to them, and understanding that hopefully makes me a better person and a better executive coach.

If you would like to learn more, reach out anytime.
Have a great week,
Mary Jo
To learn more about my 1:1 executive, communication or business growth coaching, custom virtual workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at [email protected]