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Stop Being a Parrot!

Coaches often mistake the competency of active listening as acting like a Parrot. “So can I repeat back to you what I heard you just say.” Stop it! There is little value in repeating back everything the client just said.

Rather, summarize what you hear to be at the core for your client. For example, when contracting with an executive client or your team, inquire about the value of what the client wants to achieve, and what is the motivation for the request for coaching. Also inquire about the cost of not moving achieving what the client wants.

What might this look like? Recently I listened to Andrew Neitlich coach a client during a WBEC webinar. The client wanted to double his sales from $10 million dollars a year to $20 million dollars a year over the next two years. Andrew responded to the client’s offerings by asking questions and making comments. For example, after listening to the client's situation, he said, "Let me share with you the problem I’m hearing. It sounds like you have a belief that you can double your sales in two years. Do I have this right?" Notice he did not spend two minutes parroting back everything the client said. Rather, he responded to what the client offered by summarizing what he heard was at the core of the situation using both the client's language and his language. 

Andrew continued the coaching session by asking questions about cost and value such as:

  • What is this costing you?
  • What does it mean to you if you don’t double your sales in two years?
  • How serious are you about doubling your business?
  • Sounds like a fun thing for you to do. But you don’t need to do it, right?
  • So what’s your motivation for wanting to double your sales in two years?
  • If you and I were to work together, what would you want for me?

There is more to the story. But you get my point. Don’t be a Parrot coach. Rather be an Impactful coach. 

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