Listening Habits Empathic listening is fundamental to coaching. These negative listening habits sometimes prohibit us from being a good listener. Everyone uses blocks and this is an opportunity to become more aware of your blocks. Put a tick next to the listening habits that you may sometimes practice. Think about other people and what blocks they may be using in conversation. You can use this tool for yourself, for others individually or in people in groups. Get people to think about the impact these styles have on people. How do they feel when they experience them.
The Faker- All the outward signs are there: nodding, making eye contact, and giving the occasional uh huh. However, the faker isn’t concentrating on the speaker. His mind is elsewhere. If you daydream a lot with certain individuals it will indicate a lack of your commitment to them.
The Interrupter – The interrupter doesn’t allow the speaker to finish and doesn’t ask clarifying questions or seek more information from the speaker. He’s too anxious to speak his words and shows little concern for the speaker.
The Intellectual or Logical Listener – This person is always trying to interpret what the speaker is saying and why. He is judging the speaker’s words and trying to fit them into his logic box. He rarely asks about the underlying feeling or emotion attached to a message. He is comparing all the time against his view of the world.
The Happy Hooker – The happy hooker uses the speaker’s words only as a way to get to his message. He is constantly rehearsing his next input. When the speaker says something, and frankly, it could be anything, the happy hooker steals the focus and then changes to his own point of view, opinion, story, or facts. Favourite hooker lines are, “oh, that’s nothing, here’s what happened to me…” “I remember when I was…”
The Rebuttal Maker – This listener only listens long enough to form a rebuttal. His point is to use the speaker’s words against him. At his worst, he is argumentative and wants to prove you wrong. At least, the person always wants to make the speaker see the other point of view. The other person never feels heard because this listener is so quick to disagree.
The Advice Giver – You are the great problem solver. Giving advice is sometimes helpful; however, at other times, this behaviour interferes with good listening, because it does not allow the speaker to fully articulate his feelings or thoughts; it doesn’t help the speaker solve his own problems; it prohibits venting; it could also belittle the speaker by minimising his or her concern with a quick solution. Well placed advice is an important function of leadership. However, advice given too quickly and at the wrong time is a turnoff to the speaker.
The Right Listener – Will go to any lengths – twist the facts, make excuses or accusations, call up past sins – to avoid being wrong. Can’t listen to criticism, can’t be corrected and can’t take suggestions to change.
The Human Filter – You listen to some things and not to others. You listen long enough to check for anger or danger or emotional stress. When these possibilities are absent you can then let your mind wander. Another way people filter is simply to avoid hearing certain things – particularly anything threatening, negative, critical or unpleasant. It’s as if the words were never said. You simply have no memory of them