Learning How to Listen is Key to Being a Mentor by Sean Murphy

SeanMurphyIn the words of my Mentor, if its easy to do, then its also easy NOT to do! The choice is yours. In all my travels around the world, I have had many people ask me how I became so good at what I do, what is the key to being a great Mentor? The first thing is, that I have practiced a LOT! I would say the most important skill you can work on if your desire is to be a Mentor, and that is Listening. Now I hope I can explain it clearly enough, and I hope I can get my point across. See the challenge with writing articles, is this: There are words to be said, and words to be read, and the two shall not cross. So let’s see if I can get the point across. Listening – some people thing because they are not talking that they are listening! That does not really qualify for listening. NULL

The real key to being a Mentor, is active listening, and actively translating what you are hearing based on the why your student says what they are saying, the feeling they are using, the context of what they are saying, its a real long list…

I guess the easiest way to explain it is to listen with your heart, and not your ears. Listen with the intent to understand, as Covey says in his books. As a Mentor, this is the single greatest talent you need to develop. I say NEED to develop, because until you develop this skill, you will only be a coach. Now coaching is not a bad thing.. its that slight edge of active listening that will make you a Mentor.

What can you do to sharpen this skill? Listen to a conversation and digest the words you are hearing and respond when requested, when you are asked a question or for feedback on the conversation.

You will be surprised how often the person you are talking with does not really care if you talk at all. Its a funny thing. Do that next time you are in a “coaching” session with someone, and respond when asked for your input. Don’t be surprised if you don’t talk a lot. See if you can ask more questions than the number of statements that you give. Listen to the conversation and ask questions that let you get a better understanding of their perspective, of their place in the conversation. You will be surprised what you learn. Is it easy to do? Yes! In the words of my Mentor, if its easy to do, then its also easy NOT to do! The choice is yours. Be a Mentor, Listen and Learn.

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