Multi-dimensional listening is the ability to hear simultaneously on multiple levels and to track multiple threads in what you are hearing. You listen consciously rather than unconsciously, and use listening as a form of mindfulness practice.
The most surprising thing about multi-dimensional (masterful) listening? It requires you to listen to yourself.
You need to be both observer and observed. (Remember – mindfulness practice.)
Listening consciously means you notice your own thoughts, beliefs, needs and reactions as they surface during the listening. It also means being aware of (translation: present with) what’s alive and running for you prior to listening.
In other words, what backdrop is in place before you attempt to fully hear another person? What inner noise or static is eating up your bandwidth, keeping you from being fully present in ways required for conscious listening?
When you practice being fully present with and attentive to yourself, you go beyond hearing the words being spoken by someone else. You will likely also hear:
- What their mood and perspective is, what their underlying beliefs and needs are. (Coaches, you might recognize this as listening to “who” the person is, not just what they are saying.)
- Opportunities to deepen discovery, to get to the core of what’s really going on, and to take critical next steps in a path of personal or professional development.
Equally as essential, you will hear how your internal eco-system influences your listening at any given time, how it shapes your interpretation and how it limits or expands understanding.
How to expand your capacity for listening multi-dimensionally? Here are a few of the foundational elements of conscious, masterful listening from my Essential Coaching Skills program:
- Cultivate your capacity for being fully present, first with yourself in the unfolding now as a basis for how you are present with and listening to others.
- Practice listening to yourself and practice compassion as you notice what’s present within you.
- Practice listening from deep within you rather than simply from your head; allow your entire body to be a receiver of the signals being sent to you by others, especially as you practice listening.
If this article resonates for you, be sure you catch the audio replay of the March, 2015, Heart and Soul of Coaching program. It will be available for free replay until mid-June, 2015.
Want more? Let me know. I’m happy to schedule a personal discovery session with you to explore where you are in your professional development at this time and examine options for your next steps as you continue to build your capacity for masterful, conscious listening…and more.
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