Listening Practices: Tips and Traps

Have you ever noticed how GOOD it feels to be really listened to? It’s impactful, particularly when the listening goes beyond just the words you’re speaking. That kind of artful listening conveys respect and value to the speaker, and promotes positive relationships of all kinds.

And, like any art, it takes practice.

According to widely referenced statistics by Dr. Albert Mehrabian, known for his pioneering work in nonverbal communication, only 7% of communication happens through a person’s actual words (38% through tone and 55% through body language). That’s why it’s important to hone our skills to listen at deeper levels.

A good place to start is by understanding the three listening levels described in the book Co-Active Coaching, by Laura Whitworth, Henry Kimsey-House and Phil Sandahl.

Listening Levels

Level 1—Internal: We hear the other person’s words, but our focus is on what it means to us—our thoughts,...

Continue Reading...

Quiz: How Well Do You Manage Your Energy?

When the seemingly relentless demands at work and burdens of a busy life take their toll on work performance, we tend to think that managing our time better will improve the situation. If we can just work faster, multitask more efficiently, things will be better, we think, as we buy the latest time management gadget or software.

However, as Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, authors of The Power of Full Engagement, explain, it is the skillful management of energy, not time, that most significantly affects high performance. Too often, we squander this valuable resource through energy-taxing habits—physical, emotional, mental and spiritual habits. Take this Self-Quiz to see how well you are managing your energy.

  1. I rely on sugary or carbohydrate-rich snacks for bursts of energy when I need an energetic pick-me-up.
  2. Life is an endless marathon to be endured; you just have to keep on running.
  3. I tend to do what feels immediately pressing and easier to accomplish rather than...
Continue Reading...

Quiz: How Well Do You Manage Stress?

The impact of stress accumulates, and, beyond the ongoing, regular stress that comes from living in our high-impact culture, specific life events can really knock us for a loop. Even happy changes can cause bumps in the road, which we register both physically and emotionally. While we can’t eliminate stress from our lives, we can learn where our hot spots are and how to best reduce and manage the stress we do experience.

You won’t be scored at the end, but answer true or false to the following questions, and elaborate a bit on those that feel especially relevant.

T /F   1. I set the pace for the day by beginning with peaceful thinking either through reading an inspiring passage, saying a prayer or acknowledging the gift of a fresh, new day.

T /F   2. Throughout the day I live in the moment. I don’t brood about a past event or fret about the future.

T /F   3. Each day I do something physical even if it’s just a walk around the...

Continue Reading...


“My candle burns at both ends/it will not last the night.” —Edna St. Vincent Millay

Burnout resists simple definition because it affects so many aspects of an individual’s life. In their book, Beyond Burnout, authors David Welch, Donald Medeiros and George Tate, describe burnout as a condition that affects us physically, intellectually, emotionally, socially and spiritually.

One of the first physical symptoms of burnout is fatigue. Intellectually, there may be a loss of creativity and sharpness in problem solving; cynicism may replace enthusiasm. Emotionally, the loss of dreams and expectations can result in feelings of helplessness and depression. In the social realm, isolation overtakes feeling of involvement, and spiritually, the person experiencing burnout may feel a lack of meaning or purposelessness to her life.

According to a recent study, one in three Americans is expected to burn out on the job in the near future and, in the two years preceding...

Continue Reading...

Becoming a Workplace Warrior

Another day, another deadline. You gulp caffeine and forge ahead, like the steadfast worker you are. A good soldier never gives up the fight, right?

Only if you view work as a battleground.

There’s a decisive difference between soldiering on, gamely shouldering the workload you’re assigned, and becoming a workplace warrior. Soldiers take orders; warriors take responsibility. While it’s wise to be a team player and complete projects to the best of your ability, even executives can push the envelope so severely that instead of helping the company, they’re hurting themselves.

Continually operating in overdrive can lead to physical, mental, or emotional harm. According to the Mayo Clinic, the following signs of burnout are cause for concern:

  • Chronic cynicism and sarcasm
  • Irritability with everyone, from co-workers to clients
  • Loss of energy
  • Disillusionment about your job or future
  • Sleep problems
  • Headaches, neck pain, lower back pain
  • Abuse of food, drugs or alcohol...
Continue Reading...

Coaches, How Do You Get Your Ideal Client to Call?

When it comes attracting clients, coaches may be tempted to tell people what we do and assume what they need.  A better (and more coach-like) approach is to LISTEN – what are the needs, frustrations and wants of your ideal client? What’s the conversation in their heads, then use their words. If a client is thinking:  I’m sick and tired of feeling tired, our marketing message is “Are you sick and tired of feeling tired?”

Another “key” to reaching our ideal clients is to be mindful. How can you be aware of what you are thinking, feeling, saying, doing and being in any given moment?  Are you clear about your values and 100% aligned with your purpose (or do you doubt, compare, fear when it comes to new customers/clients)?

Five simple steps to expand your awareness:

  1. Take time to contemplate.  Set aside time to be quiet and centered before interacting with prospects.  Discover ways to release ambition and...
Continue Reading...

Creating Systems for Success

Most of us run our lives on a handful of systems. Between our cellphones, our planners and our e-mail inboxes, we have organized ourselves and our time. And if you ever doubt the importance of these systems, recall your panic the last time you lost your planner.

Yet as important as these systems are, most of us don’t take advantage of what systems can do to improve our businesses. Systems are simply ways of automating or structuring processes so that they can occur systematically without so much thought or attention—and by more than just one person, so that the business can continue to run if the owner takes a vacation.

Figuring Out What to Systematize
For most of us, there are dozens of similar repetitive tasks, large and small, in our businesses or jobs that could be systematized. To identify where you can apply systems, step back from your enterprise and try to look at it objectively. Ask yourself questions such as below:

Where are your frustrations? This is an...

Continue Reading...

Listening to Our Bodies They Know More than We Do!

The body holds much of the information we need to function at our best, but too often we ignore its messages and plow ahead with what our minds tell us. Perhaps because we’re not taught from early on to pay attention to internal messages as well as external demands, we frequently ignore our body’s communications.

So we take another extra-strength aspirin rather than investigating what’s causing our head to ache. We use more caffeine or sugar to give us a lift when we feel tired, rather than hearing our body’s message about needing rest or recognizing our fatigue as an early symptom of burnout we’d do well to heed. A look at our pets may be all the message we need about the value of naps.

We fail to take into account the thousand little messages communicated to us by how we’re holding ourselves: the mouth that’s pinched and tight rather than relaxed. The fact that our shoulders are up around our ears, the knot of tension in our stomach as we...

Continue Reading...

Ethics Are Good For Business

With the Enron and other scandal opening our eyes to corruption at the corporate level, the importance of ethics and integrity in business is at the forefront of America’s awareness. We hear the words “ethics” and “integrity” a lot, but what, exactly, do they mean?

Ethics are a set of principles of right conduct. Integrity is the strict adherence to this set of principles, which does not waiver depending on the circumstances. For businesses and individuals to operate at their fullest potential, both ethics and integrity need to be solidly in place.

“I would go so far as to predict that most new businesses and entrepreneurs who do not have a solid ethical foundation will fail within five years,” writes Peter Koestenbaum, author of The Philosophic Consultant. “Conversely, those who do behave ethically will thrive, both financially and in other ways. Every conscientious businessperson should make it a priority to explore what ethical...

Continue Reading...

From Awareness to Action: Letting Your Ah-Ha’s Guide Your Decisions

Are your decisions based on urgent demands for your immediate attention?

Do you find that your intuition is speaking but you’re not listening?

Would you like to take action based on your mind, body, heart, and intuition?

Let’s looks at these five assumptions.

Assumption #1

Awareness helps us to make thoughtful decisions based on our inner wisdom from a deep understanding of our life’s purpose.

Contemplation and discovery:

  • What will help me deeply connect with my life’s purpose?
  • How can I better listen to my inner wisdom?
  • How can I remember to connect my purpose with my choices?

Assumption #2

As we learn to wait, watch and be guided by the wisdom from each moment, we are more comfortable with the unknown.

Contemplation and discovery:

  • Knowing that change is natural and inevitable, how could I welcome the continuous flow of new experience and information?
  • How could I expand my capacity to “bear witness” in order to reduce stress?
  • How can I begin...
Continue Reading...

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.