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Leadership and listening

The greatest gift you can give to someone....

This email is triggered at the back of a coaching conversation I had sometime back
My client is a senior leader in the financial services space, with a very successful career track

We had engaged for a 6 month coaching journey and this was the 3rd session
What was interesting about this session was that while it was for 90 minutes, I barely spoke for maybe 10 minutes max
The rest of the time she spoke
Towards the end of our session, she said “I think you really understand me. Thank you for being there”
I felt humbled and honoured at the same time with this acknowledgment
You see….
If you can “be there” for someone when they need you, that can be very powerful
And it is probably the need of the hour, with so much going around us, right ?
Our lives have become much more complex than ever before
And I believe that everyone has something to say
We all want someone to talk to

But unfortunately, we do not have enough people who can listen to us, right ?
Infact, what I have also realized is that people are not always looking for solutions
They do not want you to solve their problems always
They just want you to be there for them
Listen to them. That is it

And in my coaching experience, I have seen that many a times, that helps immensely
The fact is that you are carrying so much in your mind and on your shoulders everyday
..Things from both personal and professional lives
..Things which impact you and people around you
But you are not able to talk about them with anyone freely
And in most cases, you actually do not have anyone to talk to, right ?
But once you are able to express yourself and how you are feeling, without the fear of judgement 
..Once you have downloaded yourself of whatever you have been carrying on
Your mind becomes lighter
You feel relieved
You create more space

You can think more clearly
Ofcourse, the problem or the challenge does not go away as such
But once someone has listened to you, you are usually in a better position to deal with the situation
Sometimes, it helps in reflection. Sometimes, if helps in reinforcement
And in many cases, you know exactly what to do, right ?
So what does “being there” for someone really mean ?
Simply put, it means being available for someone - physically, mentally and emotionally
When they need youWhen they are ready

That is the key
NOT when you are available
It also means creating that level of trust and comfort for people to open up to you
Be it your team member, your partner, a friend or your child
Being there means being fully present. No distractions. Nothing else is going on in your mind
You are paying full and undivided attention to that person, with true intent
You are there to understand them, what is really happening with them
But not to react, judge or offer advice. Just to be there 
People do not want you to solve their problems always
Sometimes, they just want you to be there for them
And being there for someone can be the greatest gift you can give to them
I am there for my clients. What about you ?

So go back and reflect :
1) Is there something you have been holding back, but you want someone to really listen to you ?
2) What is really holding you back from reaching out to someone ?
3) If you had to reach out to someone today, who would that person be ?
4) Can you be the listening partner for someone ? Can you “be there” for someone ? It could be someone from your personal or professional life
5) If yes, how can you offer your support to that person ? What do you need to do ?


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