I am preparing to deliver The Careers Group’s two day Basic Guidance Interview Skills training course. In preparation and in search of new ways of bringing to life the training, I have been reading a book by Laura Whitworth called Co-Active Coaching.
In this book, the author explains the importance of listening within a coaching context by describing the three levels of listening which I think provide an effective way of illustrating the importance of active listening.
Level I – Internal Listening
Listening to our own thoughts and judgements
Most of us will recognise this level of listening. Although we hear what the client is saying we focus on what it means to us. For example we may worry about the direction of the interview or what questions we should ask next. At this stage we simply stop listening to the client.
Level II – Focused Listening
Focus on what the client is saying
In this level, the practitioner hears each individual word and how the client expresses them. The words the client uses and the story they tell is heard in the client’s context. The core skills of summarising, questioning, paraphrasing and restating are essentially used in this stage to deepen understanding and to build trust.
Level III – Global Listening
Listening focus is on more than just the words.
At this level of listening the practitioner is ‘dancing in the moment’ with the client – taking in the emotions behind the words, the body language, the gestures and the tones being used by the client. According to the authors this level of listening gives the practitioner a heightened sense of awareness and access to their intuition. The skill of immediacy can be applied to draw the clients attention to what is happening in the interview here and now.
See this article on listening for even more levels.
- What level is your day-to-day listening at?
- Do you have any ideas on how practitioners could enhance their listening?