When I began life coach certification as part of a larger program of study, I had no idea the extent to which it would positively impact my life. The life coaching process has so much to offer, but even just the philosophy that coaches are asked to embody can be life changing. Approaching life through the lens of a coach has made me so much more aware of the ways in which I interact with others and how to enhance those interactions to improve my relationships. There are three key habits of life coaches that can easily and immediately be put into action by anyone. These three behaviors are simple but remembering to apply them can enrich our communication and our connections to others
Be Present and Listen. When you’re spending time in conversation with your partner, be fully present and listen deeply. This means giving your full attention. Have you ever been in the same room with someone yet felt as if you were a thousand miles away? And how often do we “listen” to someone without really hearing their words? When we let messages flow in one ear and directly out the other we are not participating in conversation; we miss a beautiful opportunity to connect and be present with our loved one. By genuinely listening and being engaged, we are more likely to remember what is said and less likely to overlook important cues and information. Those cues are often nonverbal so don’t forget to “listen” to more than just words. When someone is struggling, feeling down, or ill, just having an open, nonjudgmental heart to talk to can do a world of good. So let your partner finish his/her thought before jumping in, and never underestimate the amazing power of simply being heard.
Ask for Clarification. Communication breakdowns are often at the heart of disappointments and arguments so do not be afraid to ask questions. Don’t just guess what your partner wants and needs, ask. Voice your own needs as well. As a life coach, I ask clients for verification and clarification to ensure that we are both heading in the same direction, but I also begin sessions by informing clients what I expect from them. We shouldn’t be bossy about this, but we also need not be so timid as to say nothing when we have a concern. Both parties in the relationship deserve to be respected. After asking any question, remember to fully listen to the response
Withhold immediate judgments. We are all different and can never truly know how another person feels or completely comprehend a situation from their viewpoint so before speaking or acting take a moment to consider the other person. Flash judgments pop into our minds very easily, but acting upon these without first verifying their truth and legitimacy can make others feel that we have not truly listened and that we only heard what we wanted to hear. This is definitely a time when asking for clarification can be a big help.
It may sound simple, and in some ways it is, but actually employing these behaviors in the moment can take time to remember and to master. The rewards are definitely worth the effort though so put on your listening ears, open your heart, and get ready to engage on a deeper level.