Coaching principles #16

By Dr Peter Chee and Dr Jack Canfield

Can a coach short circuit the effectiveness of coaching? Sure. The process is damaged when the coach tells people what to do instead of listening and helping people to unleash their ideas and solutions to address the issues they face.

In coaching, the assumption is that clients themselves know best, even if they don’t know they know it. Let them do most of the thinking and find their own solutions—that’s the essence of good coaching. This unleashes their potential to maximize their own performance, inculcates self-leadership, and empowers them rather than directs them.

What is the difference between listening and hearing? Listening is an intellectual and emotional act. Hearing acknowledges sounds, whereas
listening requires that we understand what was said. If we are really listening intently, we should feel a bit tired after our speaker has finished. After
all, effective listening is an active rather than a passive activity.

Listening positively impacts the quality of work and the relationships you have. Listening effectively aids in reducing arguments, stress, and shows
people that you care for them. People have a deep desire to be listened and to be understood.

Here are three mental hacks you can use to help you become a positive and effectively listener:

  1. Imaging there is quiz at the end of the conversation, so you must pay attention to what is said.
  2. Show understanding by paraphrasing what was conveyed in your own words so you do need to listen attentively.
  3. Listen “between the lines” by getting confirmation of what they are feeling as opposed to what was said.

An effective coach requires the extraordinary ability to listen well. When you pay attention to people, they feel encouraged to better articulate
their thoughts and emotions. By giving them the green light to give voice to their ideas, you are feeding their confidence for new insights to
surface. This is natural because people who verbalize their thoughts to someone who listens, they are actually listening to themselves speak.
Consequently, they think more clearly and confidently compared to doing it alone.

By listening to people and not telling them what to do, the message you send is that they are important, capable, and confident to take action
for the desired outcomes. A solid coaching relationship is built on the premise of listen, rather than tell.

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

– Winston Churchill


  1. WHAT makes listening so much more impactful then telling?
  2. WHAT makes effective listening so important?
  3. WHAT are some of the barriers that you face in effective listening?
  4. WHAT behaviors and habits do you need to change to become an effective listener and coach?
  5. HOW can you ensure that you can succeed in changing from telling to listening?

It is the province of knowledge to speak and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen .

– Oliver Wendell Holmes




World #1 Strategic Innovation Coach and World #3 Coaching Guru Dr Peter Chee

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