I spent this past weekend in an amazing course with a small group of incredible people. We learned about the Fundamentals of Coaching (Coaches Training Institute introductory course). I spent the weekend learning and practicing coaching skills, and of all the skills learned, one in particular resonated with me.
Listening. Level 3 listening to be exact. Or, being fully present.
Sounds simple right? Well, I thought so too, until I realized I wasn’t really listening. I was hearing what people said, but was also thinking about my own thoughts- and therefore realized I was only really partially listening (they call it levels 1 and 2 listening).
Being fully present means listening at a deeper level. It means we hear what is being said, but we also notice and pay attention to what is not being said. We are also aware of the environment around us. Some of the things you’ll notice are subtle shifts in the persons voice, body language, and facial expression as they are speaking. You may be able to feel their energy, whether it’s excitement, sadness, anxiety, etc. This deeper level of listening takes more focus and attention, and requires practice. The more you practice, the easier it becomes to do regularly. Consider practicing on a regular basis, and begin to notice when your mind trails off in the midst of a conversation, and bring yourself back.
Social media can have a huge impact on our ability to be present. Do you ever find yourself checking your phone while meeting a friend for coffee? We are addicted to checking our phones, Facebook, twitter, etc. This inadvertently tells the person they aren’t as important at that moment as whatever is on your phone. Be aware of the impacts your actions have on your relationships. Be present.
I am committing myself to be fully present in my conversations with people. Especially clients, close friends, and family. Will you commit to being present in at least one aspect or relationship in your life? The result will be the creation of a deeper, stronger connection with those people. If we don’t have relationships in life, then what is there? Those relationships are dying for you to be more present.