“I’m a good listener” we all say, and yet the research proves otherwise. Research has shown that only 7% of our communication is attributable to what we say. The rest depends on how we say it and our non-verbals.

Just think. Our words convey only 7% of the meaning of a communication. Our tone of voice, speed of voice, inflections and other characteristics convey as much as 38% of the meaning of our communication. How we sit (or stand), whether we match or mirror the client’s movements and the choice of words that we use, reveal as much as 55% of the meaning of the conversation. Hence when we tell someone something, they don’t necessarily “get it” unless they are totally on our wavelength at the time.

What does “on our wavelength” mean? It means that rapport and trust have been established, that they are comfortable in our presence to reveal their inner truths and that we (as coaches) use the same representational system that they do to deepen the relationship (visual, auditory or kinaesthetic). In the coaching relationship rapport and trust have been established by using the coaching skills of active and reflective listening, asking powerful questions and summarising to ensure clarity of communication.

Almost everybody would say that they do all this – but they don’t. Most people think they listen but instead they are just waiting to jump in with what they want to say as soon as you stop for breath. They interrupt what you say based on their version of the world – how they think and how they perceive things to be – not necessarily from your reality of how they really are for you. They are quick to judge based on what they know and what they believe to be right. This is what they have learned to do from childhood when, as passive recipients of their world, they went along with what others told them to think and how they were to behave. Unfortunately as adults, some people have never stood up and re/examined those childhood frames of reference.

What coaches do instead is remain totally present in the conversation. They wait, clarify and verify, before asking questions to provoke insight and self-discovery. In this way the client is assured that the coach has heard exactly the message that they are conveying before responding and leading the client to find their own solution.

Coaching has the solution. Via their professional coach-specific training, coaches learn how to listen accurately and reflect not only what is said but also the feeling attached to the words. They learn to ask not only the open and closed questions but also the powerful questions. They learn how to raise the client’s awareness of him/herself and their situation, to take responsibility for it, and to help them action plan to achieve the desired outcomes. They then monitor and hold the client accountable for achieving that compelling vision of their future which they so desire.

Micro Coaching Skills