New Trends in Reflective Listening Skills
How can we best MIRROR MATCH during a coaching call?
Reflective listening is much more than active listening, it goes beyond our normal listening habits!
When a wellness coach is skilled in the reflective listening approach, we help our client to clarify their thoughts, assure them that we care about their point of view, and give them “felt safety” in knowing that we are partnering together to understand each other more clearly and find insights. The approach to listen with reflection uses deep empathy and the desire to understand correctly what is being expressed.
Let’s never forget that your client needs a safe space and to trust in you so that a healing and inspiring conversation can help your client and solve their problems!
Look for opportunities to work on the following two very important “reflective listening skills:
- Hearing and understanding what the other person is communicating through words and “body language” to the best of your ability.
- Responding to the other person by reflecting the thoughts and feelings you heard in his or her words, tone of voice, body posture, and gestures.
When you acknowledge your client in a spoken response that is brief or when you share in a nonverbal gesture, you demonstrate to the client that you are following the conversation, and this lets he or she know that “their voice” is being heard.
Some simple acknowledgement examples are: “Um-humm. How about that! Uh-huh. Go on. Oh. Yeah. Sure. You did? You betcha! Yes. No fooling! Sounds good. Right. Right on!”
You may even remember the following simple phrase (which I continue to work hard on) as you communicate with others… “Practice the Pause”. This reminder helps us all to avoid breaking into any conversation.
When you are engaging with a client, remember that it is NOT always necessary to SUMMARIZE what you have heard. Condensing what you have heard into two or three sentences shows your client that you are listening to what is said in the conversation. But, reflective body mirror matching and inquisitive questions are an effective, assuring and nurturing communication style in a coaching session.
Here are some “Engagement Strategies” that follow this valuable MIRROR MATCH concept:
- Look for opportunities to Behavior Match: This is an evolutionary way of saying “we belong together”.
- Sit the same way as client
- Give genuine Eye Contact
- Choose to avoid any other distractions by using your eyes to engage
- Forced eye contact is not necessary
- Share in Fearless Questions
- Permission to ask a deep or intuitive questions can be most powerful and insightful to your listener
- Remember your Voice Quality
- Have control in your pitch, volume, tone, and cadence
Modeling this communication style to your client is a gift that they will appreciate and crave. Remembering to follow these guidelines 40% of the time, will give you enormous positive results. Coaching perfectly 100% of the time is not an expectation that we can meet. Give yourself forgiveness and acknowledgement as you remind yourself that you are continually working hard to become a better life coach for those whom you partner with.
Easy Next Step Idea:
A Fun “Listening Activity” with Clients, Friends, or Family
At the beginning of a coaching call, or during an end of the day meal, consider asking the following topic for discussion: “Share 3 things that went well today”. It’s a great way to practice your MIRROR MATCHING skills, keep your communication open and supportive no matter who is within your coaching office or at your dinner table.
“I believe that we should all focus on what we desire, not what we fear. My coaching style works! I’m not a therapist. Clients pay me for my non-biased approach, genuine, authentic, magnetic, and holistic style! You will identify struggles, quickly develop plans, and see your vision become your reality.
Good enough is not great, let’s get you to GREAT!
– Jessica Hartwig
Jessica is proud owner of LIV IN VISION, LLC and an empowerment life coach with a holistic approach, certified through HCTI.
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