In the spirit of continued authentic communication as initiated in my last blog, I would like to share my reflections about the competency that was in highest demand in my past two months: listening!
Let me provide a bit of context. Having stopped my roles at Business School Lausanne at the end of July has brought an abrupt end to the previous demand of my leadership skills. I had chosen to let go of leading already three years prior when we introduced self-organization at the school. Yet I had not been able to drop the reporting function of leadership towards the owners and was in many ways still carrying the full weight of responsibility. It took August and September for me to appreciate how much lighter I started to feel, with human interaction being simplified to the person to person contact, rather than facing the projections and expectations that people would associate with me as a holder of a institutional role. With all of that gone, there was space for something new.
I have discovered listening in many forms: professionally listening was a core competency when facilitating stakeholder meetings or chairing panel sessions, and when conducting interviews of best practice companies. Personally, as I reconnected to my purpose asking myself what would come next, I listened to signs of my body to guide me in deepening my intuition. I am also learning to listening to my emotional, cognitive and physical demands when it comes to freeing myself of my cognitive restrictions when it comes to eating. Behavioral scientists have unveiled to what degree modern times have disconnected many of us from a natural and healthy sense of what our physical needs are when it comes to food and how to listen to these. A multi-layer journey as I am discovering.
Listening to myself and to others has been complemented with my more conscious listening to what is around me in the city and in nature. A deeper listening, I am discovering, is slowing me down, grounding me and generating an instant deep connection to the core of what unites us all: the energy field that vibrates and pulsates if only we listen.
- It is in that energy field that the solutions lie when I seek a transformative turning point in a multi-stakeholder meeting. Depending on the vibration and pulse, it becomes clear what the group needs to step forward in the direction they seek.
- It is also in that energy field that the right question, comment or exercise emerges when coaching a person in their journey. Guiding the coachee to connect to that field allows the person to find her answers herself.
- It is in this energy field that I am reconnecting to my deeper purpose and my passion. Be it in nature, be it simply by taking a few slow and deep breaths, be it by feeling my feet on the ground, my mind quiets down and I am operating at the speed of my body and its sensations.
What are your experiences with listening?
For me, my core insight of these past two months of deep listening have let me to ponder the following question: “Why would I not live a life that follows the rhythm of my body, rather than racing through life at the speed of my thoughts always dragging my body behind?” I don’t yet have an answer and for the moment my courage is limited to sharing this question with you.
December 2, 2018 at 9:19 am
Very interesting points raised on the importance of listening. I never thought about this. Listening into a group discussion as a coach is one thing. Interpreting it and making sense of it is quite another, tricky thing. But what does it take to hear what serves the group best? This means grappling with the many contradictory inner vpices the coach herself is constantly hearing. How does she know which one to listen to? It needs a lot of empathy, experience and strenght to filter out those that are most promising. And it is primarily an inner fight within the coach. At least there are no personal interests involved, which is a huge difference to the second form of listening, listening into oneself. There the listener is completely entangled into all those figthing inner voices trying to win out. And different strands of personal interests are all present making their claim. This seems to me even more difficult, because there is no distance allowing for some neutrality. Here it probably needs some form of surfacing those fighiting interests, making them transparent and putting them next to each other. May be sharing them with another person will be necessary to ensure neutrality, Decisions will then at least be conscious, although still a lot more challenging than the first kind.
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