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No surprise that listening is in the top practices
Of course, this will come as no surprise for most of you reading this. That listening is in the top 10 practices of the world’s best coaches. However, if you are like our friend and colleague, super-star Coach Emma Doyle and Natalie, it’s true that we were not always good listeners! Furthermore, even as experienced coaches we can continue to improve our practice.
‘Someone who listens’ Roger Federer
In the book Emma shares her favourite story about listening. The opportunity to ask one of the world’s greatest tennis players, Roger Federer, the guiding question. In three words or less, what makes a great coach? It was during a pro-am event and Emma was able to walk with Roger as he was leaving the event. Roger turned to Emma and said simply, ‘Someone who listens.’
Importantly, it was from that moment, that Emma started reflecting on her own listening skills.
Emma thinks of all the people, mentors and coaches who influence her life. She says, ‘All these people have that incredible quality of making me feel that I am the centre of focus. In addition, they want to hear what I have to say. Furthermore, they let me talk things out because that’s how I process thoughts and ideas. Importantly, all of them are great listeners.’
From that moment Emma says, ‘I set my intention to develop my listening skills as a lifelong pursuit.’
What does it mean to really listen?
It begins with quietening our mind and focusing on the person we’re listening to.
However, sometimes rather than listening we are:
- Thinking about a response to what the other person is saying
- Alternatively, waiting for our turn to talk and struggling to hold back our own thoughts
- In addition, forming an opinion on the subject
- Perhaps, only hearing what we want to hear
- Furthermore, trying to solve the problem for our team members. In addition, without really taking the time to understand the root cause
- Or being distracted by other things in the environment or in our personal lives
Natalie offers, it takes practice and it’s a little bit hard to explain. But I breathe slowly and narrow in on the person who’s talking. I think about the person I’m speaking with as being on the centre stage in a spotlight. Importantly, with everything in the background blurred out.
One of the top practices of the world’s best coaches and players
Emma also spoke with Serena William’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou. Importantly, he answered in a similar way to Roger and Judy. Patrick says that a great coach has to ‘hear, (and) hearing starts with listening.’
So too did former ATP World No. 1 doubles player Emilio Sánchez. In addition, former WTA World No. 27 tennis player and coach Meike Babel.
In fact, across the more than 500 interviews, listening was listed in the top three responses.
Find out more and join us for the BOOK LAUNCH
What Makes a Great Coach? gives us the opportunity to reflect on our own coaching practices. During the Coaching Café this week where we share further research and stories around LISTENING from the book. Furthermore, key questions that we can all use to reflect on how we can focus on listening in coaching and our work.
We are getting ready for the BOOK LAUNCH on Friday 9th September at 12noon Melbourne time (Thursday night 8th September, 8:00pm in Denver Colorado). Register now to join us for this very exciting Coaching Café.
Every week our team of experts present “Coaching Cafe” webinar with topics for Managers, Leaders, Business Owners, and everyone who wants to be a better workplace coach, leading their teams to higher productivity, better outcomes and a happier, healthier workplace.