The Question Matters

Listening for What You Didn’t Hear

Posted in Coaching,Family,Leadership by treyfinley1008 on June 14, 2010
Tags: , , ,

When I get up in the morning, there are certain sounds I’ve become accustomed to hearing.  I usually hear my basset hound beginning to stir.  She yawns as she stretches, shakes, and then meanders slowly to another part of the room to lay down, her collar jingling all the way.  I hear the fans.  Their whooooosh as they circulate cool air is like a soundtrack to our lives.  A few of them need balancing, and as such I occasionally hear the cords that change fan speeds and turn the lights off and on let out a soft click as they lightly knock heads.  And of course, I hear the tap tap tap as I type away at my keyboard.

That is not a long list.  There are not many sounds to be heard at 6:30 in the morning at our house, one of the reasons I enjoy writing at this time of day.  Hearing noise, though, does not mean that I’m listening.

Listening notices more details. If I listen to the fan, I may notice that it is running at a different speed that usual, thus softening the whooosh sound it makes.  If I listen to my basset hound, I might also hear her groan a bit more than usual in her yawn, letting me know she needs the supplement we give her that keeps her long back and short legs limber.

Listening requires a recognition of what I’m not hearing. What isn’t making noise today that often is?  For a change, my 5-year-old is still asleep.  Often, I can hear him playing in his room when I wake up to write.

Listening is hearing what others are not. Listening is more than hearing sound and words.  Listening identifies, marks, and contemplates the rhythm at which someone speaks. It evokes thoughtful comparison of the pace and tone in someone’s voice.  It provides clues to how that person sees the world.

Listening calls for action. Listening is not passive.  For the coach, careful listening provides the basis from which powerful questions emerge.  For the parent, listening provides solid ground from which to guide a child.  It serves notice of good habits and bad, words that build up and those that tear down, social patterns that are serving them well and those that aren’t.

In short, Listening is to Hearing as Leading is to Managing.


One Response to 'Listening for What You Didn’t Hear'

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  1. Nathon said,

    And for the salesman, listening is what makes the sale.

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