Coaching Tip: What is Heard

It doesn’t matter what you say; it matters what is heard.

Coaching isn’t downloading information from one brain to another; it’s opening up someone’s mind so that they see something new. An insight invariably shifts someone into a new, better world – an internal shift from which miracles outwardly spring forth.

Sometimes you might share a story or idea, and especially if it comes from being deeply embodied and having had a profound impact on you, it’s a much more evocative transmission that might trigger a similar insight in the client.

Sometimes you might just listen, allowing a client to hear themselves, to keep listening, and hear something new. This is the essence of generative listening and Nancy Kline’s ‘Thinking Environment’ (aka being a really good listener.)

Sometimes you might facilitate a client through feelings, expression, somatic unfolding, energy healing, guided meditation, shamanic journeys, inspired weirdness and randomness, and somewhere along the way an insight pops. (It doesn't need to make sense, to be leading somewhere good.)

Sometimes what they heard isn’t what you were pointing towards. I’ve learned to keep an eye out for the body language of lightbulbs going off in their head so that I know when to shut up, drop whatever train of thought I was on, and give room to the insight taking form.

Be willing to show yourself struggle for the words, to acknowledge that the words won’t do justice to what is being described, which allows them to see past the words.

Be willing to break apart their conceptual world, and give them permission to not try to put the pieces back together. Through the cracks and the chaos they could see something new.

Where you’re coming from, even if you’re not saying a word, often plays a much bigger role in what is heard than being elegant and accurate.

So don’t worry so much about what you’re saying. Keep most of your attention on them, and their world – because what matters is what they’re hearing. And what they’re hearing is from deeper within themselves, rather than from you.

Michael McDonald
Transformational Coach

Michael McDonald, Transformational Coach

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