The Importance of Listening Skills: a personal experience
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The importance of listening skills

By Martin Cole

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As a coach, I know the importance of listening skills and the value of deep and active listening in particular.

I know the importance of suspending judgment and I know how critical it is to remove ones own’s biases, interests and concerns from coaching conversations.

Yet despite all that knowledge, I know there are times when I fail on some or even all of these fronts.

And this is especially the case when I am manager as well as coach, because the manager as coach role carries inherent limitations as to the extent of objectivity that can be obtained.

Nevertheless, I was struck today by how powerful true listening can be – when I was the one that needed to be listened to.

I asked to see one of my bosses to discuss a tricky situation that cut across work and personal matters and I was treated to a masterclass in empathetic, engaged listening.

No promises were made. No solutions offered. But, intelligent questions were asked and my answers were listened to and heard.

Was the problem solved?

No.

Did I feel better able to manage it?

Yes I did.

About the Author

I'm Martin Cole. I am a UK qualified lawyer, a leader within the financial services regulatory and compliance sector and an organisational and executive coach. I have an Master of Science (M.Sc). in coaching psychology and am certified as a coach by the Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership. I also have a Bachelor of Laws (LLB (Hons.)) and was admitted as a barrister by the Inner Temple (now non-practising). I have lived and worked in London and Sydney and now live near Edinburgh in Scotland with my wife and two daughters. I support Crystal Palace FC, have wide ranging musical tastes (especially Jazz, Blues and Soul) and oppose mediocrity, selfishness and organisations that fail to value their people.

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