Listen to what others have to say at the 3rd level. What is the 3rd level? Also called “global listening”, this involves tuning into everything about the other person, yourself, and everything in your environment all at the same time. This includes noticing your own bodily sensations, sensing the other person’s energy, being aware of all your emotions and intuiting the other’s emotions, utilizing all your senses to notice what’s happening around you, and much more. At Level 3 you notice as much about what is present as what is not present, what is said and what is not said. At my mastery level of coaching, this is the type of listening I practice with my coaching clients.
If Level 3 listening seems like too much of a stretch for you, and it’s not clear how you would begin to practice it, I invite you to practice more mindful Level 1 listening, or perhaps try out Level 2 listening, both described below.
Level 1 listening is one way and focused solely on you. You’re aware of your own feelings, thoughts, judgments, and circumstances. At Level 1, you are not thinking about the other person. More mindful Level 1 listening invites full awareness of your own experience so that you are not speaking on auto pilot and not subconsciously controlled by your mental saboteurs. Less mindful Level 1 listening is often evident when you notice you are primarily waiting for the other person to finish talking so you can tell them what you have to say.
Level 2 listening is more focused and observant of the other person. You notice their body language, their breathing, the tone and nuance in their words. At Level 2, you may not be aware of your own internal dynamics, but you are definitely more tuned in to the other. Level 2 can be practiced with one person or a group of people as in a meeting. At this level, you are not aware of what’s happening in the literal or figurative world around you. Mindful Level 2 listening generates greater empathy, as you have the presence of mind to not make assumptions; you ask clarification questions and seek to better understand the other. In addition, with your focus on the other, you wait for an appropriate moment to speak, if you choose to speak at all.
Enjoy experimenting with this month’s coaching tip, and be in touch if I can answer any questions you have about your learning experience, or if you’d like to invite me to teach coaching skills at your organization!