Interested in learning to be a better friend, parent, or spouse?
One of the ways to take your friendships to a new level is to learn to implement a few skills that coaches use. A commitment to developing these skills will improve your friendships, strengthen your parenting, and deepen intimacy in your marriage. Here are three things that coaches commit to in every conversation that you can apply in your relationships.
1. Be Completely Present in your Conversations
Have you ever been in a conversation with a person who clearly wasn’t listening or whose eyes wandered the whole time you were talking? It’s so frustrating to talk to a person who looks like she would rather be somewhere else. Don’t be that guy (or girl). When you are in a conversation with a friend, your child, or your spouse, tune everything else out and be completely present. Make eye contact and don’t look around. This discipline is worth the effort.
2. Learn to Listen
It is remarkable to experience being listened to because of how rare it is. If you commit to listening carefully to a person, hanging on every word that they say, over time you will build deep trust and intimacy. Remember that if you are talking you are not listening. In a coaching conversation, my goal is to talk 20 percent of the time and simply listen 80 percent of the time. Married people, listen to your spouse. If you are a parent, your kids need you to put down your iPhone and listen. As a friend, commit to being completely present and listen well.
3. Commit to asking questions
Most people (including me) like to talk about themselves. On the rare occasion that I encounter a person who is present in a conversation, listens carefully and asks probing questions I am always encouraged. When I ask people questions about them or their life, I am taking an interest in them and communicating that I care about them. Question asking is a skill that may not come naturally but can be developed. The most powerful questions are open-ended rather than closed. Open-ended questions can’t be responded to with a simple yes or no. Powerful questions draw a person into the conversation and communicate that you are deeply interested in the person.
Take your friendships to a new level by being completely present in your conversations, learning to listen, and committing to asking questions.