Four levels of listening for consciously improving listening competence for professionals
Listening is one of the key core coaching skills and competencies, as much as it's also a very human skill. In Cambodia Coaching Institute's coach training courses, we break down listening into four sub-competencies / areas. Within each element (“level”), we
can either have a range in the level of competence.
Higher competence within each level makes us better listeners, able to connect with our clients and pick up what’s going on for the client with fewer assumptions, judgements,
projections and greater depth and intuition.
Good listeners will be demonstrating high competency within each element. For example:
- At Level 1, using their awareness of their inner dialogue and state to manage any assumptions and potential projections.
- At Level 2, being able to notice and recollect particular words that the speaker used, or a physical movement, get curious about it and ask reflective questions based on it.
- At Level 3, following the scenario presented by the speaker, understanding the situation that the speaker is in.
- At Level 4, being in tune with the speaker's emotional and mental state, with an ability to sense what is at the heart of this topic, what's really making this an issue for the speaker, and full of intuitive information.
In contrast, poor listeners would demonstrate low competency in each element. For example:
- At Level 1, being caught up in their own thoughts and experiences, projecting it onto the speaker. Completely misunderstands the speaker, the situation and what is helpful.
- At Level 2, not picking up and remembering key words and key body language of the person.
- At Level 3, misunderstanding of the situation and the issues at play.
- At Level 4, lack of awareness of the speaker's emotional and mental state due to poor connection. Cannot "read between the lines". The conversation feels cerebral with no emotional resonance.
A simplified model for non-professionals
At Cambodia Coaching Institute, we also provide a simpler model not based on listening competence but rather listening intention. This is the model that we use for our more general trainings such as communication, leadership, parenting etc.
This model of listening might be more intuitive for non-professionals. We really like how we take listening beyond "listening to understand" to include "listening to connect", which is a paradigm shift.
In which area of your life do you want to be more intentional in your listening? Share with us below.
Note: You may refer to this content for non-commercial purposes, provided you correctly reference and credit Cambodia Coaching Institute and the model's creator Joey Sae Hoon Ra. If in doubt, please reach out to us for permission for reproduction.