There is a fine difference between hearing and listening. Your brain selectively deletes unimportant information coming through. You hear a welcome message at the metro – you carefully listen to any last-minute cancellations.
In short, hearing is a physical ability while listening is a skill.
When we “get out of the way” of what is being said, we clear the space for the client so they can fill it. This empowers them, builds trust and enables them to explore what’s really on their mind.
Getting out of the way means being judgement-free, and opens up possibilities to understand your client’s map: Are their beliefs limiting them? Are they blocking success? Are they on track with their vision?
Here’s how to get out of the way and hold the space for your client:
- Maintain eye contact
- Stay still
- Nod to encourage
- Mirror and match
- Stay curious
- Listen actively (listen for patterns and meanings)
- Have zero assumptions
While you do the above, do it with empathy. Regardless of how you would do things, acknowledge that your client is doing the best they can with the resources available to them at this time.