One of the most underrated skills of humankind is the ability to listen…. Really listen.
As a Health & Wellness Coach, this is THE essential foundational skillset. “to really listen is to be moved physically, chemically, emotionally and
intellectually by another person’s narrative”.
The author, Kate Murphy, is a journalist and contributor to the New York Times so you can be assured she knows a lot about listening. She confesses early in the book that part of her success as a journalist, is not because she can talk to anyone, but because she can listen to anyone. From the Introduction chapter (just ten pages), I was hooked.
The book is a deep (yet accessible) dive into some academic research. This includes consideration of biomechanical, neurobiological, psychological and emotional processes that are involved. There are plenty of examples of the benefits of honing your ability to listen while honouring your conversation partners.
It is not a health coaching book per se, but for Health & Wellness Coaches, there are a few mental checklists to consider. For example, are you thinking about what you want to say next? Are you looking at your watch, phone or the door? Are you waiting for the next pause so that you can jump in with your expert opinion? Are you leading the conversation? Are you shaping the narrative for the other person so that you can stay on message? Do you have the answer and can’t wait to tell them? Oops.
There are plenty of humorous anecdotes throughout the book to keep you engaged. A personal favourite (apparently a true story) is about a young mountaineer and adventurer, boasting for hours to the person sitting next to him on a long flight. He was busy detailing all of his achievements and challenges, near-death experiences, Everest, Mt McKinley, Himalayas etc. After a few hours, the young man realised he hadn’t introduced himself; he apologises to the stranger who replies “That’s alright. I’m Neil Armstrong, nice to meet you.”
Enjoy the read – let me know how you found it.
“You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing & Why it Matters” by Kate Murphy is available now on Amazon.