I trained in active listening because I noticed a pattern. People seek me out wanting to talk about deep stuff. I love listening to them. And I realised that I could be listening better. I wanted to help people listen to themselves with the ears of their ears awake. To treat themselves with the deep respect and compassion they tend to reserve for others. And I wanted to hear not just their narrative, but what their non-verbals and gaps are telling me.
I trained first to be a guide on silent retreats. This is a model of pure listening with unconditional positive regard, and an excess of warmth. For most people it is connected to faith, which helps them relax and believe in the possibility of a best reality. Here I learnt to create a safe and deep space. To hold up a mirror to a person. To get myself out of the way. To let go of my desire to help and solve, and free the person to discern what frees and what traps them, and find their own truths as they are ready for them.
Next, I trained as a co-active coach. The Coaches Training Institute has a fantastic and long-standing reputation. They have trained more coaches than anyone else worldwide. The coaching training is intense. It added robustness and challenge to my listening. It taught me to help people articulate their deepest values and desires. To take action to live a life more fully true to themselves. Workplace coaching, development coaching and life coaching all need a common thread of fulfilment and growth- to choose truer, and live grander, and nurture satisfaction.
My coaching is currently being profoundly influenced by Otto Scharmer’s Theory U, which reaches into a 4th level of listening. It aims to listen to the future that wants to be born. So often, we are stuck trying to solve a mindset problem whilst trapped within the very limiting mindset we need freedom from. Imagine if you could habitually think from a different place. Imagine listening to the future, letting it help you get there.
As a member of the ICF and a graduate of CTI, I value my qualifications and the hours of experience I have gained in formal listening sessions. But underneath it all, people choose me for the same reason as they did before. They can tell that I see them. That I hear them. That I see their value, their potential, their inner eclectic magnificence, and that I will do everything in my power to help them live it.