coaching principle #20

By Dr Peter Chee and Dr Jack Canfield

Listening deeply, using observation and intuition are simple to say but challenging to do. Here is an equation that serves as a model to help conceptualize the process which takes place during an effective coaching conversation – Crucial Conversational Process.

Deep listening

The essence of mastering systems thinking as a management discipline lies in seeing patterns where others see only events and forces to react to.

– Peter Senge

When used effectively over and over again during a coaching session, this process unleashes insightful discovery for your clients. They gain clarity on what they want to achieve and the coach can work through implementation plans, building support systems and taking action for the desired outcomes.

Effective coaches use deep listening to understand what the client is really saying and identify what is important or significant to them. What are some things that you can listen for? You can listen for underlying thought patterns, habits, critical incidents, competencies, strengths, weaknesses, beliefs, and values. Through this, coaches can point to success patterns or patterns of failure. When these are found, the coaching conversation can move to solving problems for producing better results.

Deep listening is used alongside observation. Observation requires collecting information from the five senses and filters through the thought process. That is why keen observation requires a clear mind. So, observation is not just limited to the eyes, but involves sound, smell, taste, or touch. The key is to be objective, avoid jumping to premature conclusions, and be impartial and non-judgmental.

Coaches try to observe strong emotions and reactions when something is said. Such expressions may be a signal to explore deeper for bringing new understanding to the surface. If Susan says she is at peace over being passed by for a critical project, but her facial expression is a grimace of frustration, it probably is that she unhappy for not being selected. Coaches look for the tone of voice, gestures, and facial expressions to figure out what is really being said.

Experienced coaches also use their intuition to benefit the coachee. While listening deeply and observing, there can be flashes of revelation and heightened sense of curiosity. This happens when the accumulated mass of information, knowledge, and experience combines in a spur of thought that relates to the stimulus of the moment. This is when the unconscious mind makes highly accurate assessments in a very short amount of time.

When this happens, your intuition is activated. Instead of making statements, suspend it and heighten your sense of curiosity by asking great questions. If the coachee also feels the same way, then you can flow the conversation with your intuition. However, do not be too attached to your spark of intuition, it may be that what you feel is inaccurate and does not apply to your coachee at that time.

In one case, Bernard was sharing how he disliked his current position as team lead for an engineering group in a multinational company. The coach intuited the problem was that Bernard was angry at being overlooked for a promotion to the group’s director. The position was filled by another team lead in the same group.

However, the coach did not let his intuition stop his sense of curiosity. He continued to listen deeply, use observation and asked powerful questions to gain a better understanding of where the unhappiness originated. As the conversation continued, the real issue emerged. Bernard’s wasn’t disappointed with not getting the promotion. In fact, Bernard had turned it down when approached by the Vice President for engineering since he was the first choice.

His insular character didn’t suit high visibility roles. He actually requested to be switched to an individual contributor role where his talent to systematically address technical issues could shine. Being an individual contributor also meant he could be involved in various interesting projects, instead of being tied to one or two, which satisfied his active mind. But the request was turned down.

Now that the coach knew what the underlying issues were, the coaching conversation switched from dealing with frustration to moving to a new role. Eventually, Bernard managed to make the change. His job satisfaction grew, and he flourished in his new role as other project managers tapped on him to leverage on his talents for the success of their projects.

Often you have to rely on intuition.

– Bill Gates

Listen deeply



  1. WHAT can you do better to listen deeply?
  2. WHAT can you do better to observe keenly?
  3. WHAT can you do better to intuit astutely?
  4. HOW can you get better at listening, observing, and using intuition?
  5. HOW can you use your intuition to heighten your sense of curiosity?


A special request from ITD World CEO Dr Peter Chee

My dear friends,

I have been nominated to be among the top coaching gurus in Global Gurus for 2023. I humbly request for your vote which will take less than a minute to complete. Here is the link to vote

As always, I am very grateful for your continuous support and vote that has empowered me to continuously increase my level of contribution in the coaching arena. I pledged to continue giving more than my best to add more value and create profound impact in the field of coaching for a better world. Thank you very much for your vote.

ITD World is excited to announce the first of many complimentary Masterful Coaching Bootcamp. This bootcamp is a community of practice for leaders and coaches that meets regularly to sharpen coaching and leadership skills. For this session at 830pm (GMT+8) on 15 Dec, 2022.

Leaders stand to gain masterful empowerment as the speakers will be sharing profound coaching tips and techniques. Those attending will be equipped with the model and tool to transform mindsets and reframe thoughts and beliefs for positive outcomes. In addition, participants get the chance to practice their coaching skills, see coaching in action, and have a Q&A with Chief Master Coaches.

Click or tap the picture to save your spot! This Bootcamp is organized by the Certified Chief Master Coach (CCMC) and Certified Coaching & Mentoring Professional (CCMP) Club & Alumni and sponsored by ITD World. See you then!


  • Coaching for Breakthrough Success combines time-tested principles of exemplary coaches with the latest disruptive techniques used by the world’s top performing leaders, this step-by-step playbook shows you how to nurture—in yourself and others—the three essential requirements of coaching excellence’s%20Coach%20Rapid%20Results