Active listening is an essential skill for a Professional Life Coach. Though we spend 70 to 80 percent of our waking hours communicating, most people only hold onto 50 percent of a conversation, and it drops to 25 percent 48 hours later. Your ability to listen is tightly related to how well you relate to others.

What Is Active Listening?

Active listening is where you are not just hearing someone speak. Instead, you are listening to understand the complete message and ensure the speaker feels heard. It means that you must pay attention to the context around the message. It also demonstrates that you care to understand what the speaker is saying (and

Reputable professional life coaches master this essential interpersonal communication skill. It’s key to building trust and rapport with your clients. Still, there is a time and a place when you actively listen, and it may not come naturally to you.

If you take notice, you may at times start formulating a response while someone is speaking. That’s why it’s crucial to learn and practice active listening.

Why Is Active Listening an Important Skill for a Professional Life Coach?

People hire life coaches to move forward. If your client spends their sessions trying to explain the same point repeatedly, they will not share their most intimate thoughts and feelings. It will also put your problem-solving skills in question.

Active listening requires more than verbal communication. It requires you to demonstrate to your conversation partner (your client) that you understand and empathize with their position. You can show dedication to your clients by:

  • Maintaining eye contact

  • Paying attention to the speaker’s facial expressions

  • Asking clarification questions

  • Relaying that you understand the message by rephrasing key points

You can learn how to become an effective listener. It not only requires education but also dedication to practicing active listening techniques. Also, make sure to get continuous feedback from your clients in sessions and through surveys and other feedback mechanisms.

Benefits of Active Listening

Can you think of a client or customer that wouldn’t value business owners who are good listeners? It can make a difference on whether you acquire or retain clients. There are so many benefits to paying attention.  

It Helps You Build Authentic Connections and Relationships

Have you ever shared a personal story only to find the person was not paying attention? It doesn’t feel good. But, on the other hand, when you demonstrate that you genuinely care, people feel a bond and want to build a relationship with you.

Clients want to trust you. They’ve come to you because they are looking for an expert who can help them move forward.

It Increases Productivity and Streamlines Problem Solving

Clients seek out a professional life coach to move forward with goals and improve their quality of life. It’s essential to pay attention to everything—their intake form, things they casually mention, and their body language.

Your client may not know how to articulate what they’re thinking. They may not always know why they’re struggling or what they want. As a coach, you can fast-track their progress by looking out for inconsistencies and affirming progress that they take for granted.

As a professional, you must be able to demonstrate with each session why your clients hired you. They are not looking for complex solutions; they want someone to listen and give them insight and expert advice.

It Helps Your Avoid Misunderstandings and Quickly Correction Misunderstandings

Everyone makes mistakes; however, an active listener minimizes misunderstandings. Most importantly, misunderstandings are quickly corrected.

How to Improve Your Active Listening Skills

Active listening is just like any other skill—you must practice it and constantly use it. Use in both your personal and professional interactions.

Understand What It Means and When to Use It

There are different types of listening. Learn the situations that require active listening. For instance, if your client asks you the time, implementing active listening would be over the top and will come off insincere.

Clear Your Thoughts (And Your Work Area)

Minimize distractions by clearing your area. Make sure your desk is free of distractions. Taking a moment to meditate and clear your mind also helps. Some people start their sessions with affirmation, meditation, or prayer. Train your mind to recognize your pre-session activities.

Don’t Interrupt the Speaker

Have you ever had a classmate or coworker interrupt the instructor only to ask a question right in the middle of explaining a lesson? People have different communication styles. Interrupting someone when they speak may indicate that you are in a hurry or insensitive to their feelings.

Shut Down the Inner Chatter

Do you find yourself daydreaming, thinking of your next appointment, or remembering you have a question for your client? You can’t engage in active listening when part of you is paying attention to your internal noise.

Watch Their Body Language and Tone

 People communicate with their words, tone, and body language. The person’s tone and physical reaction add context to the message.

Paraphrase and Ask Clarifying Questions

It’s easy to jump to conclusions when listening to someone. It’s easy to assume what someone meant, but it can cause communication gaps with clients. Make sure you summarize the few key points.

If you do not understand your client’s response, ask clarifying questions. Here are some examples:

  • “What did you mean when you said … what did you mean ?”

  • “Why did you feel this way?”

“Can your repeat what you just said?”

Connect With Coaching Clients by Improving Your Listening Skills

Active listening is a skill you can learn and perfect over time. It will help further your relationship with clients and understand their problems which will help guide you on how to coach them. You can find a wealth of information on the internet about how to improve your active listening skills. Transformation Academy’s Professional Life Coach Certification guides you through all the skills you need as a coach.

Start improving your communication skills today!