The Coaching Ear

The other day, I casually mentioned to my husband, “Wow, I think I’ve lost of few pounds.”  I thought I might get an ‘attaboy’ or some other kind of positive feedback (trust me on this, weight loss in my case is always a good thing).  No.  What I got was “really, I think I’ve put on a few, we really need to back on The Zone again.

Hey.  What about me?  When did this conversation become about you?

My husband is actually a lovely human being with advanced communication skills and more than average generosity but he’s still human.  He isn’t in ‘coach’ mode so he’s not really paying attention to me per se, he is swimming around in his own fish bowl, paying attention to what is on his radar screen right now.  Which is true of most people, including your manager.

A coach is the person who will always be listening for what’s important and relevant to you.  A coach will respond to a remark you make about yourself with a clarifying question, a strong connection to something else they have heard is important to you or a positive support message.

A coach is the one person in the world you can depend the keep the conversation about you, so you can stay focused on what important.

Everybody can use a conversation like that on a regular basis!

5 thoughts on “The Coaching Ear

  1. In daily conversations, a coaching ear will definitely enhance the impact of the conversation. The person will feel heard and understood. For me, I want to be heard and understood, and the other person doesn’t have to agree with me. Let me not forget, I want to be acknowledged!! A coaching ear involves totally focusing on the other person and getting out of your own way to be able to listen intently and respond to what is exactly being stated. With our crazy daily lives, I know it can be a challenge at times to have a coaching ear. I also know the importance of having a coaching ear more often than not!

  2. This post had me sit up and take notice! Thank you for pointing out the obvious: just because the listener has “advanced” communication skills, it doesn’t mean they are in coach mode. Reading about your generous husband reminds me that there are a lot of great folks out there…but that it isn’t fair of me to expect them all to be able to listen like a coach!! Your honest post was a great opportunity for me to check an assumption!

  3. Thanks for the reminder of being coach like, but what if you realy DO want someone to notice your amazing efforts and his/her self-absorbtion is a bit off-putting? Hmm..I guess you are saying, “Get yourself a coach and let your poor husband be!”!

  4. Too true about the manager not always having a coaching “ear”. Sometimes we get so bogged down in the day to day, we forget that our people need us to listen, more than anything else!

  5. As a husband without much of a coaching ear, your story made me laugh. Then it got me thinking. My question: Is there a way to solicit a response that is more coach-like from someone who doesn’t tend to have a coaching ear?

    What else might you have said or asked after casually mentioning to your husband, “Wow, I think I’ve lost of few pounds.” ?

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