Giving time unconditionally to another person is often a challenge.
Your time and undivided attention is given to another person. Because we are so preoccupied with what is going on in our own world, it’s often hard to put someone else’s interests above our own. If it’s family, they might have a chance, but outside of that, you would need to be someone very special.
Essentially, we are relentlessly busy and time-poor, or at least perceive ourselves that way. Giving time unconditionally to another person is therefore often a challenge. We may have the best of intentions, but that can often fall short of the mark in terms of what that person is looking for.
It might often come down to a brief window in time that can only be spared. ‘Sure, I’ve got time to chat, how about tomorrow at 4pm for half an hour’. Note the natural emphasis on ‘chat’ rather than ‘listen’.
The introduction to that half an hour may also be expressed by the words ‘what can I do, or how can I help’? Nothing wrong with those words per se, but the reality at times we don’t want the other person to help, we just need them to listen. Often we just want to verbalise our thoughts in a safe environment without anyone jumping in to help or offer advice. Sometimes that’s all we need!
Great talkers, lousy listeners
On the whole, one of the challenges is that we are great talkers and lousy listeners. I was indeed one of these lousy listeners before I embarked on the journey of developing my leadership coaching skills. It was only then that I appreciated the pure gift I can give another person by just being present and totally listening to their needs without any preconceived agenda or judgment.
I realised that I don’t need to solve their problem for them as most of the time that’s not what they were looking for. If they did get to a point where they asked for my opinion, I might provide it, but only as a last resort.
As a rule, we are a very solution-focused society looking to solve a problem for someone whereas what we really need is to be more conversational-based. That conversation is the free flow of thoughts and exploration that allows the other person to discover their own ‘AHA’ or self-discovery moment.
That’s why I love coaching so much. It comes from a more spiritual place where the power of the right questions ignites the creative juices of insight and inspiration. That is a more empowering place to be, and that’s truly a special gift you can give another person.
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