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Updated: Sep 2, 2022

Do you sometimes wish you would know what the person in front of you is not saying while talking to you?

Well, I'm not saying I can read people's minds (how cool would that be? Or maybe not all the time, right?) but in Co-Active coaching, we use three levels of listening and most of us only use level one in our daily life without knowing there is so much power in level 2 & 3!

To be honest before I started my coaching journey, I don't think I was using level 3 at all or maybe 2% of the time.

- Level One listening is listening primarily to yourself, or your own thoughts or agenda. You could be focusing on any number of things. Maybe you’re thinking what to say next in the conversation, and so only half-hearing what the other person’s saying. Maybe you’re wondering what to have for lunch, or if you left the gas on. The key thing is that in this Level One listening, you’re not really fully hearing the other person.

- In Level Two listening you are intensely focused on what the other person is saying. Nothing is distracting you. Thoughts about the past or the future don’t intrude. Even your own ideas don’t get in the way of you hearing the other person.

- Level Three listening is also completely directed towards the other person, but it has a wider focus. You hear more than just the words they’re saying. You pick up on all sorts of other things – body language, the inflections and tone of their voice, their pauses and hesitations. It’s like you can hear sound effects in their mind – the clink of a penny dropping, the thud as they hit a wall. You can feel them straining to avoid something, or pulling towards something – and you have a sense of what that might be.

With co-active training, I started using level 2 & 3 with my clients and that’s a game changer! I hear things I wasn’t paying attention to before, things that as a sales person are crucial so that you can understand where your customer is at, what's really important for them, what is the impact on their day-to-day life and how committed they are to make a change. And as a coach, it’s even more transformative because coaching is all about following the client’s agenda and holding the client’s focus. Being fully here with them at that moment makes all the difference and it’s really helping them process what’s here right now and how they show up for themselves!

I truly think this is a hack we can all use on a daily basis if we actually make a point to listen beyond level 1! Try it today or in the next few days and share your thoughts in the comments!


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