Monday, July 23, 2012

Show that you Care

Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 by International Coach Federation

Have you ever had the feeling you are not being listened to while you’re speaking?

In my experience, I have to admit this is a rather common feeling, especially when I work with clients that expect an immediate solution to their problem or certain answers which they want to hear and when they don’t, they impatiently want to finish the coaching session.
But if we don’t have patience to deal with our own problems, then how can we expect to deal with other people’s problems?

When I worked with Radu, a manager working for an important retail company, the first thing he asked me during the first meeting was for me to “solve” his problems at work. He said that even though he was a professional in his business and knew how to handle tough clients, he wasn’t able to communicate with his employees. As a person, Radu was always preoccupied, mainly because he had a lot of responsibilities and was always in a hurry.

During our meetings, he had this bad habit of constantly checking the time or his phone and always asked me what he should do exactly. But as I talked to Radu, I discovered that he did not actually listen to what I was saying and only reacted to certain key words and mechanically used the phrase “so what should I do now?”

Eventually, he discovered that his problem was not that his employees did not pay attention to him, but that he did not know how to listen to them, because he didn’t even know how to listen to himself. In his team’s eyes, he did not just seem a busy and preoccupied person, but a person who didn’t care about anyone. This obviously discouraged his team’s performance, because he had only a few answers he wanted to hear, which nobody seemed to give him.

It’s not easy to listen to everybody around you, but this one extreme. The other would be not listening to anybody. The challenge however, is to keep a certain balance between the two – meaning that we listen to other people’s ideas while also contributing with our own. It’s amazing how some people can sometimes surprise you with their ideas and it would be a shame to skip that just because our ideas are not the same as theirs.
Rodica Obancea, ACC

Patience is a key competence for any manager’s success and whoever doesn’t know how to apply it for himself, will most probably fail to apply it with others.

Only through patience we can listen to the people we work with and even though it may seem like a minor detail, sometimes it is very important to learn how to…show that you care.

Rodica Obancea, ACC, is passionate about change, emergence, living systems. She works within business environment, with managers, teams for achieving ambitious results. For more information, visit

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