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Welcome to What Makes a Good Coach, Part 4: Active & Empathic Listening.

A good coach listens actively with an open mind and an open heart.

Active listening is about being tuned into the client, not only what is said but what is not said; what is shared and what is ignored, forgotten, or hidden. 

What is avoided, denied, or not yet known or acknowledged consciously is often about the elephant in the room, the true crux that is underlying what the client is bringing to the table; the real thing that needs to be recognized and explored to let go of what’s not working and stepping forward towards their goals.

A good coach listens empathically.

Empathic listening is listening from the heart; it’s listening with and ear and an eye to what the client is feeling and experiencing; it’s about becoming aware of what the client is experiencing and where they want and need to go to move forward, to accomplish what they’ve brought to the table.

There is no judgment in empathic listening; there is an open, expansive space within the coach that is held for the client so that there is depth and breadth to explore. 

There is a curiosity in empathic listening; wondering what’s blocking or impeding the client from creating their desired future and holding an open-hearted space where anything and everything is possible for the client.

As an active and empathic listener, a good coach uses the client ‘s metaphors, key words and phrases to help the client experience a new knowing, a path forward into the new.

She listens for key words and phrases her client uses and incorporates them into the conversation.  If they say that they want to take a deep dive into something, she’ll play with that metaphor: “Where are you now with that deep dive?” “How deep is your dive at the moment?” “How do you want your deep dive to look by the end of our time together?”

A good coach uses what her client shares to literally dive deeper.  She knows that using her words or phrases could build walls, while using the client’s words and phrases builds bridges. 

She feels and understands the power of the spoken word and unspoken word and is grateful and excited to partner with her client for the highest good of all concerned.