OD Pathway #101: Wear Your Listening Ears

A few days ago, a friend of mine asked me the exact same simple question three times within one ten-minute conversation. The third time she asked me the question, she also said, “I know I’ve asked you this question already several times, but I have so much going on inside my head that I can’t remember your answer.” We have all experienced this type of interaction in some way with our teammates, peers, colleagues, friends, and family. Often during interactions, we are consumed by inner chatter as we prepare for what we will say when the other person stops talking or as we think about something on our “To Do” list.

Turn down the volume on your inner chatter. In fact, when you truly want to listen to someone, turn your inner chatter OFF. When you do this in the workplace, with your colleagues and team members, it can have an incredible impact. To see for yourself, try it out for one week during every interaction you have with members of your team. Key learnings will be abundant, relationships will grow, and you will truly be wearing your listening ears!

If you would like to learn more about our Organizational Development Coaching programs and to arrange for an initial consultation, Click Here or Email Christina.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Christina Lombardo (Christina@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH
U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-332-9747
Fax: 415-634-2301

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OD Pathway #102: Listen To The Crickets

Each summer night, the crickets sing their song. However, many of the crickets’ songs go unnoticed, even unheard on many occasions. What else is out there in the world for us to hear on a regular basis? What else possibly goes unheard as we’re listening to our team members, friends, parents, children…? “Listening to the Crickets” is just a way to talk about listening to the Universe. Many things often go unnoticed, dismissed or unexplored. Things like how we feel when someone is speaking to us and how the person speaking is feeling. Also, things like a speaker’s tone of voice, their body language, mental images we have as we listen with a hard focus and even background noises, like car horns and crickets. All of these sounds, the auditory, visual, mental, and emotional sounds, may go unnoticed but can have deep meaning and transformational impact in the exact moment we notice them.

As you practice your listening skills by turning down the volume on your own inner chatter (see Staff #101); I invite you this week, when listening to your team members, to also “Listen to the Crickets.” You can find meaning in the sounds around you, meaning that will assist you to better understand, appreciate, and work with the words you’re hearing.

If you would like to learn more about our Organizational Development Coaching programs and to arrange for an initial consultation, Click Here or Email Christina.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Christina Lombardo (Christina@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH
U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-332-9747
Fax: 415-634-2301

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OD Pathway #103: Listen and Receive

Sometimes anxiety soars when we are in a place of answering questions. Questions can come to us like darts at full speed. Questions from colleagues in meetings, questions from audience members during presentations, and even questions from other team members and associates about sensitive topics can bring us up short.

A process for answering questions effectively and with ease includes the following two steps: First, listen carefully with an intentional hard focus, fully concentrating on the exact words the speaker is using. Remember, inner chatter gets in the way of this focused listening, so turn down the volume. Then, clarify what’s being said by bracketing, paraphrasing, checking perceptions, and probing. In the weeks to come, my snacks will discuss each of these in practical ways.

For now, my challenge to you is to paraphrase whenever you have the slightest hint that you may not fully understand what a speaker has asked. Simply put, paraphrasing is restating in your own words, what you heard a speaker say or ask. Following a question, you paraphrase, and then after you’ve confirmed your understanding of the question, you answer it. Sounds easy, right? It is! So try it on this week. It can assist you to be more confident about addressing those darts that come flying in your direction. 

If you would like to learn more about our Organizational Development Coaching programs and to arrange for an initial consultation, Click Here or Email Christina.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Christina Lombardo (Christina@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH
U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-332-9747
Fax: 415-634-2301

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OD Pathway #104: Bracket Your Interference

To build strong relationships and effective teams, an important listening tool is called Bracketing. Bracketing is when you put some form of mental brackets, like parenthesis, around anything that might get in the way of you listening fully and completely. In previous weeks we’ve defined listening fully and completely as being able to listening to another’s words, tones, body language, and the messages and sounds of the universe. This level of listening can be quite a challenge.

Bracketing is a tool designed to help you listen at this level. First, ask yourself what is getting in the way of listening at this deep and powerful level? The interference often includes things that are happening in our lives. A sick child, a deadline, a disagreement with a coworker, exciting news, etc. Once you identify what is or might be getting in the way of your listening, take your answer and put the “thing” that is getting in the way in a bracket in order to move it out of your line of sight and off to the side. All of this is done mentally and it is very powerful. This “thing” can still be with you, but now it will no longer get in the way of your listening skills. You’ve made a conscious choice to remove it. 

Many of my clients use mental images such as a locked box, a drawer, a safe, or even a toilet, so they can give the “thing” a nice big flush! Once you use the tool of Bracketing, your mind is free and clear to listen to a team member, friend or partner’s every word, every tone, their body language as well as any message or sound from the universe that is up for interpreting.

My challenge to you this week is that you use and share the tool of Bracketing, then simply notice the impact on your ability to listen and continue to grow and nurture those relationships.

If you would like to learn more about our Organizational Development Coaching programs and to arrange for an initial consultation, Click Here or Email Christina.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Christina Lombardo (Christina@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH
U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-332-9747
Fax: 415-634-2301

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OD Pathway #105: Listen From Within

To develop relationships and high performing teams, it’s important to listen not only with our ears, but also with our eyes, bodies, intuition, and especially our emotions. The key is to pay attention to the other “ears” of our body. As we listen, we feel and experience emotions throughout our bodies. This experience is unique for each of us. Many of us, however, do not pay attention or even notice our emotions, intuition and body experiences during a conversation. Here’s a tip to change that.

When listening, ask yourself, “What does my body feel like at this very moment as I’m listening? What emotions am I experiencing? Where in my body do I feel these emotions? What does this feeling mean? What is my intuition telling me?” You can ask yourself many of these questions following a conversation, so your inner chatter does not get in the way of your hard focus laser listening. Doing so will assist you to become a better listener, on the fly, in future conversations. 

My challenge for you this week is to practice listening to your body, emotions and intuition. Remember to balance this listening skill with the one I wrote about last time: keeping the volume low on your own inner chatter. Key insights will follow from a quiet mind and our full attention.

If you would like to learn more about our Organizational Development Coaching programs and to arrange for an initial consultation, Click Here or Email Christina.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Christina Lombardo, PCC, CPCC
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH
U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-332-9747
Fax: 415-634-2301

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OD Pathway #106: Check Perceptions

Checking Perceptions is the art of naming an emotion you perceive from someone who is talking to you, then checking it out. It is not a common practice used by our society. When someone speaks to us with love, fear, anger, or sadness in their voice, we often take this in as part of the conversation but we fail to take the courageous step of checking out our perceptions in order to sharpen our listening and deepen the conversation. 

For example, you’re talking to someone who you perceive to be angry and irritated. To check perceptions, you would first name this emotion. Ask yourself, what do you perceive the emotion to be? Then ask the person you’re talking to if you are correct. So you might say, “Susan, my sense is that you’re really angry about this situation, is this true?” Susan can then proceed to tell you if you are on or off track and further explain her perspective. The result is that you took a step to really listen and understand what Susan is experiencing and what she has to say. You invited Susan to further elaborate and now she feels truly heard. 

Checking perceptions is NOT about making a judgment or sarcasm. It is about genuine curiosity and positively moving a conversation to a deeper more productive level for both parties. 

My challenge to you this week is to Check Perceptions using the two step process, 1.) Name the emotion you’re perceiving, 2.) Ask if you’re correct in an effort to effectively listen and deepen a conversation.

Coaching Inquiries: What do I feel like when someone is really listening to me? How do I feel when someone is not really listening to me? Who in my life will I REALLY listen to today?

If you would like to work with a coach who specializes in the dynamics of leadership and teams, use the Contact Form to arrange for a complimentary coaching session.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Christina Lombardo, PCC, CPCC
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH
U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-332-9747
Fax: 415-634-2301

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OD Pathway #107: Power to the People

Empowerment is about giving power to others. Employees express empowerment through energy, action, and interaction. According to Watkins and Marsick, authors of Sculpting the Learning Organization, empowerment is having a sense of control over your personality, cognition, and motivation. Employees express empowerment through a sense of self-worth and wanting to make a difference in the world.

You may hear much discussion in organizations today about empowerment. Many times however, these positive discussions do not lead to real empowerment within the organization. This is because the necessary structures and cultures that create and support real empowerment are not present. 

Some say that a sense of power comes from within and that you cannot give power to someone. But in organizations, empowerment is created through the culture, practices, process, interactions, and also by the unspoken rules that employees and teams work according to. Truly empowering an organization’s people requires changing deep structures and cultures. It also begins with being aware of the common beliefs the organization has about making mistakes.

In my consulting experience, I partnered with an organization where the cultural belief was that mistakes were deadly. You mess up and you’re out! This of course, created an enormous fear of mistakes which created a culture of blame, covering up, and denial. Instead of empowering employees to learn from mistakes, ultimately improving their own and the organization’s performance, mistakes were grounds for dismissal.

The culture of this organization did not give power to its employees to challenge any dominate voice. The dominate voice could be that of a manager or any unspoken organizational rule. To become a learning organization where empowerment really exists, this organization worked on a major cultural shift that included creating supportive structures and working to change the mental models of its people. 

Coaching Inquiries: How are you empowered at work? Does your organization provide a culture that truly empowers its people? What are the organization’s beliefs about making mistakes? How often do you come forth and challenge the dominate voice?

If you would like to learn more about our Organizational Development Coaching programs and to arrange for an initial consultation, Click Here or Email Christina.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Christina Lombardo, PCC, CPCC
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH
U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-332-9747
Fax: 415-634-2301

Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services