Guest Blog

Helen Hoyte

After just reading Emma Hammonds blog last week this one will follow on nicely…..

Emma talked of the throat chakra, which is our communication center.

I would like to talk to you about coaching, which at its core is about listening and communicating at a level that most of us don’t in every day scenarios.

We can easily increase the standard of our listening if we become aware.

Ask yourself this – what is listening?

It can be many things for different people and sometimes we can think we are listening when we are not really. How many times do you look at someone when they are talking with a hundred thoughts going through your head at the same time only to realise you haven’t really heard what that person has said? Annoying right? For you and them. How do you think that made them feel?

The standard of our listening affects our relationships in all walks of life on a deep level. When someone feels truly listened to you are focused on what they are saying, your body language is open and friendly and you are attentive. You may even be reflecting some of what they have said back to them which re-enforces to them that you are listening and they have your full undivided attention which makes for a deeper connection and a happier relationship whether its with your partner, your staff or your colleagues. Perhaps the most important thing we can ever give each other is our attention. Think about the last time you felt truly listened to – how did that make you feel and how did you feel about that person too?

When we are truly listening we will be attentive, we will be interpreting what the person is saying, we may be thinking about how we might respond, and we might be trying to remember what the person is saying, but if we are thinking of anything else at all are we really listening? Are we in the moment? (This is where mindfulness can also be useful)

It is worth taking some time to think about the quality of your listening at work, at home and in your personal relationships. How might you improve your listening skills? What difference would this make to your relationships and to you?

I know and understand that when situations become tricky, we become tired or stressed and life takes over it becomes harder to listen and communicate effectively as quite often we can just switch to autopilot and our default setting whatever that maybe for us. That’s why raising awareness of listening and communication skills can be really helpful. If you are stressed or upset or angry ask yourself is this the right time for me to be having this conversation right now? Would it be better to take myself out of this situation and calm down of give myself some love and attention until my head clears? It’s easy to blame others when our emotions take over rather than taking responsibility for ourselves and removing ourselves from a potentially negative situation. When we are calm and our bodies are in a state of homeostasis (balance) we can communicate more clearly because we have no cortisol or adrenalin in our systems which actually effects how the limbic system operates.

So literally take 5 and do some deep breathing to calm down and clear the body of harmful chemicals. Really deep breathing tells your brain there is no threat so it stops producing fight, flight or freeze chemicals, and your brain stops operating from the reptilian brain and reverts to the limbic system in the prefrontal cortex which is where rational thought and planning takes place.

Phew gone off course there for a moment, however the state of our bodies is directly linked to our mental state so that will also effect our communication.

Check in with yourself to see how your state is? Are you feeling relaxed, stressed, excited, anxious, angry, rushed, hurried, sleepy, happy, joyful, focused? These feelings will affect how you communicate and what you might say to someone.

Mind-body connection.

One of the first things we learn in coaching training are the 5 levels of listening, which are;

Interrupting

Hijacking

Advising

Attentive listening

Active listening (clarifying and reflecting)

I’m going to save these for another blog I think, hopefully this has got you thinking a little bit, which is also what coaching and communication skills are all about.

Thankyou

Helen Hoyte

Personal Coach and Complementary Therapy Tutor