ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What to listen for if you are coaching your staff, your child or your protege?

Updated on November 30, 2012

Listening skills

Listening, or more importantly active listening is a very important skill for a coach. I like to think of listening as listening not just with your ears, but also with your eyes as well. What this means is listening not just to the words, but also listen to the tone of voice, the emotion and the body language of the coachee.

What do you actually listen for as a coach? You don’t just listen passively but listen beyond the words that are uttered by the coachee. The following guideline is useful to keep in mind when you listen:

Listen for information

What are the issues?

What is the coachee’s motivation to change?

How difficult is the situation for the coachee?

How committed is the coachee?

Listen for emotions/feelings

How is the coachee feeling?

How aware is the coachee of his/her feelings?

To what extent does the coachee trust me?

How is the coachee expressing his/her feelings?

Listen for potential

Does the coachee feel the coaching goal is achievable?
Is the coachee motivated to achieve the goal?

What strengths does the coachee have?

What character strength does the coachee possess?

Listen for values and beliefs

What are some of the coachee’s core values and beliefs?

Are there any self-limiting beliefs (e.g. I must succeed at everything I do, People must treat me fairly, I could never do…, If only.. .If I want things done, I have to do it myself, If only they could…)

These are the typical listening skills one needs to develop as a coach. The coach listens actively and then responds accordingly with follow up questions or reflecting back to the coachee during the coaching conversation.

Responding to the coachee

Active listening therefore involves responding appropriately to the coachee – it may be a follow up question, or statement, an acknowledgement or simply nodding in silence. These skills1 can be also be classified in the following manner:

Attending skills – this could involve use of phrases like “I see”, “ Right”, “I hear you”. Body language of the coach is also an attending skill such as nodding, eye contact and placing oneself not directly in front of the coachee , but at 90 degress to him or her.

Encouraging skills – this is encouraging the coachee to elaborate on his/her thoughts.

E.g. Can you tell me how you feel about it?

Would you like to say something else?

Clarifying skills – sometimes the coach needs to clarify because he is unsure what the coachee is saying. This can also be used to ask for more specifics

E.g. If I understand you correctly, what you’re saying is…

Could you give me an example..

Could you say more?

Could you tell me more about that

Can we talk a bit more about that

Reflecting skills – this is like paraphrasing what you heard so that the coachee can hear for himself what he has just said from another person. This act of reflecting provides the coachee the opportunity to reflect and what was just said. It’s also often useful for the coach to reflect the feeling or emotion in what the coachee just said in the coach’s own words. This often leads to insights.

E.g. This sounds like..

You’re thinking that…

You’re saying that..

You believe that..

I sense a bit of anxiety…

Summarizing skills - this is to summarise what the coachee has said, or to sum up the coaching session. Summarising is also a form of reflection for the coachee and gives a sense of closure to the session.

E.g. I’d like to recap what we just covered

In summary…

Just to sum up…

To find out more about questioning skills, goto Questioning skills

1 Adapted from The Coaching at Work Toolkit by Perry Zeus and Suzanne Skiffington


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)