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Listening With Strategy for Grief Coaches


Listening With


Grief Coaches do another type of listening-listening with.


There are many ways to listen with. The best way we have found is to consider listening with the whole self. This includes listening with heart, listening with intuition, and listening with the body.Listening with heart, coaches notice what emotions are emerging as they resonate with clients. Listening with intuition, coaches pay attention to the images, metaphors, and internal words or phrases that emerge from within as an intuitive connection. Listening with the body, coaches notice where in their body they are reacting to what they are hearing or sensing from the presence of the client. An everyday example occurs when people say they have a "gut feeling." That's a somatic response to a situation or conversation that lacks a logical explanation.


However, the grief coach's "gut reaction" or "intuitive hit" needs to be checked out for accuracy. Oftentimes physical or intuitive reactions lead to an under-standing that neither coach nor client had before. A coach might say to the client, "I just had this sense that you may be ambivalent and I want to check out whether that's on target or not. You say you want to do this new thing, and yet I don't sense that your energy or excitement is present or convincing as you speak about it."


Sharing the intuition might lead to a deepening or a shift in the coaching conversation.Skillful coaches listen and resonate with clients' words, meanings, and tones. They listen consciously to what is evoked in them by clients. They listen deeply from the heart and attend to the images, feelings, and senses that arise. These are sources of insight and resources for both coach and client.


Grief Coaches are careful to avoid "me, too" listening. We see this kind of listening every day, when one person shares a thought or feeling, and the other replies, "Gee, that happened to me, too!" That kind of listening shifts the focus away from the client's experience.However, a unique feature of the coaching relationship is appropriate use of self-disclosure by the coach. A masterful coach must know the difference between self-disclosure to enhance the client's learning and disclosure that interferes. Self-disclosure must serve one of two purposes:to increase the connection with the client or to function as a learning point.


For example, a coach might say to a client that she, too, had jitters about leaving a full-time job to start a business. Through coaching many other clients who are starting businesses, she's learned how normal that is in the situation. That enables the client to put his own jitters into perspective.


For therapists becoming coaches, learning to self-disclose at all can be difficult. Most therapists were taught not to do any self-disclosure with Listening as a Coach @clients because it interferes with the clients' healing and shifts the relationship out of the professional role. Since coaches work with clients who are not emotionally fragile, occasional self-disclosure deepens the relationship as clients see coaches as fully human.The great gift of coaching is that we can freely share our intuition with clients because the relationship is one of partnership. Often, how freely we share what we hear is one of the key differences between the kind of listening we do as therapists and the kind of listening we do as grief coaches.


Grief Coaches need to be cautious about what psychologists know as transference and countertransference. In simple terms, transference means that a person is unconsciously bringing their experience and feelings from another situation into a current one.Clients may bring into coaching the unconscious expectation that grief coaches will solve their life issues for them, thereby hooking a natural tendency coaches may have to rescue or fix.


Countertransference can happen to coaches when clients' conversations evoke in them an unconscious reaction based on something in their own life. Coaches, for example, may be listening to clients talk about the desire to have another child or to live on a Caribbean island. That story might evoke in coaches their own longings, and their internal reactions are transferred to the coaching conversation. This is likely to get in the way of powerful listening.


Coaching relationships have a quality of intimacy about them that makes it critical for coaches to commit to reflecting on any leaks of their own "stuff" into the coaching relationship. To be effective and powerful, coaches at their best must recognize what might trigger or hook them when it occurs, and let it go.

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