Learning to listen
How often do we take the time to really listen to our environment? We are so digitally connected these days, so plugged into our cellphones, that we rarely take the time to really listen to the sounds of the life around us, no matter the setting we are in.
Listening is the first and most important skill you need to develop if you are contemplating becoming a Professional Coach. It is crucial. Listening is one of the greatest gifts you can bring to your client. The depth of your questions and reflections is directly related to the depth of your listening.
Listening is a doorway to a quiet and connected mindset. Concentrating on listening to the sounds around you, all around you, leaves little room for mental chatter. Holding this state of awareness for extended time takes practice, but the wellness benefits are well worth the effort.
Here is an exercise to help you start to develop this essential skill. Do it in several locations. At the office, at home, and in nature of course – it could be a park close to you or on a week-end excursion into the wilderness. The one requirement is to do the exercise in a surrounding where you won’t be disturbed for five minutes or so.
Surround sound listening
- Turn off all devices.
- Sit comfortably and take a few deep breaths as you close your eyes.
- Concentrate on tuning into the sounds that surround you.
- Start by listening as far to your right as you can. Listen for the quietest and most distant sound you can find.
- Shift your concentration to behind you. Reach out with your sense of hearing. Allow your mind’s eye to be active. See, smell, taste, feel what you are hearing.
- Shift your awareness to the left and reach out with your hearing as far as you can. Listen for the quietest and most distant sound you can find.
- Now concentrate your hearing in front of you. What are you taking in?
- Move to the sounds beneath you, even reaching into the ground.
- Shift your awareness above you, reach as high as you can with your ear.
- Bring all these components of hearing concentration together into one big sphere of awareness.
Do the exercise with your eyes closed in a variety of locations. Then try the exercise again in a variety of locations with your eyes open.
It’s amazing, isn’t it, what we can hear when we allow ourselves to concentrate and tune in? And how much escapes us as we go about our daily lives.
Still, listening goes deeper than just sounds. Go inward and notice what happens for you when you hear your surroundings. What sensations do you feel?
Feeling what you hear is a big part of experiencing connection. It’s integral to accessing a state of deep listening. It’s one thing to just hear a sound, it’s another to feel it. How do those sensations inform you about the moment and help you anticipate the next?
Honing your deep listening skills will be of great value no matter the career path you choose. It will help you learn, it will help you get the subtext, it will help you connect, it will make you aware and thus help you be more effective.
Deep Listening is an intrinsic part of EBI’s Nature-Connected Coaching curriculum. Our Foundation Two module includes an intro into Deep Listening, while our Foundation Three module dives more experientially into the concept.
Our next Nature-Connected Coaching Foundations Intensive is scheduled from January 25 to February 2, 2019, at Star House in Boulder, CO. We’ve combined all Foundations into one intensive to keep traveling to a minimum. We’d love to have you join us.