Embrace This Coaching Technique
Contributed by Julieta Timane February 8, 2018
Increase your self-awareness and stay on track of your resolutions by embracing this coaching technique – the four levels of listening.
It’s a brand new year, a time most of us spend on reflection and assessing and embracing goals that can transform our lives. A time most of us decide to stop doing things that we don’t like, stop habits that don’t benefit us and start focusing solely on actions that lead to our dreams.
A few months into the New Year though, and it’s easy to distinguish between those who will achieve their goals despite the challenges and those who will give up, even under advantaged circumstances.
What distinguishes both? The main distinction is the story we tell ourselves, how we interpret our life circumstances, how we react emotionally to those, and our intentions and actions to overcome them.
Those who achieve their goals are excited about embracing them, stay focused on activities that will help them get where they want, and say no unapologetically, to what doesn’t. They focus on long term rewards and accept the hardships that come when working towards valuable goals. They tell themselves positive and empowering stories that help them stay on track and focused on their dreams.
On the contrary, those who fail to achieve their goals or give up trying, set unrealistic objectives, feel overwhelmed and find an array of excuses to stop them from eliminating bad habits and make positive choices. They tell themselves defeating, victimhood stories to justify their situation.
Which one are you?
Are you on track for your goals and feeling empowered about achieving your dreams? Transforming your life? Or are you already feeling defeated? Have you already terminated the gym membership, ignored the healthy diet, didn’t put the extra hours for your creative project, didn’t enroll for that course? Or are you waking up early, making healthy choices and doing what‘s required to bring positive changes into your life?
How The Four Levels Of Listening Work
By applying The Four Levels of Listening, a Coaching technique used by Certified Coaches and recognized by the International Coaching Federation, you can start listening to the stories you tell yourself and change those stories to your advantage.
For example a client tells the following story to their coach. When the coach listens to the story he/she tries to listen to four different levels (Situation, Emotional, Story, and Intent Level):
For example, imagine a client is telling his coach this story:
For the past month I have been trying to submit an application for my dream job. But I’ve been so busy at work and at home with visitors from abroad that whenever I try to apply, either my friends interrupt me, I must cook or something else gets in the way. (This is the first level of listening, the situation level, the facts, the details; an objective report of the situation.)
I feel stressed and anxious because the deadline for the job application is coming up and I don’t think I will make it. But the job excites me so much. (This is the second level of listening, the emotional state, the feelings – anxiety, stress, excitement.)
I’m in a terrible situation, I want to leave my job. I found a dream job that I think that I have a chance to get but I feel stuck. I can’t manage to submit the job application. I can’t. I’m too busy. I can’t. (This is the third level of listening, the interpretation level. Your personal views on a situation, your opinions, and the story you tell yourself about the situation. – I don’t, I can’t, I’m stuck.)
It’s so hard, I must find a way to lock myself in a room and send the application. (This is the last level, the intent level, the intention, the reason why the client brings up something.)
You will realize that you can also distinguish and try to identify the four levels of listening to the stories you tell yourself – or apply it when listening to others.
We might not control the circumstances we are in – the situation level – but we can manage how we react to those circumstances – the emotional level. When we choose to interpret what happens to us from a positive lens – the story level – it propels our intentions – the intent level – with empowering and positive choices.
Coaches are expert and trained professionals who master these techniques and apply effective processes to help us move from a current situation, embrace a desired change and reach an ideal situation.
Nonetheless, by taking the time to listen to our own thoughts and the stories we tell ourselves, through the lenses of the Four Levels of Listening, we become more aware, and can start taking purposeful action to become what we want to become.
“The word ‘listen’ contains the same letters as the word ‘silent’” – Alfred Brendel