Deep listening is miraculous

As part of our ongoing work with Christian leaders from the business-world, charities and the Church, we have been facilitating small groups for three to four leaders throughout 2018. Taking place between the regular workshops that we have been hosting on listening, the small groups provide space for leaders to share, think and reflect on their role as a listener. Leaders are able to identify areas of growth and development in addition to any assumptions that may be stopping them from really listening and supporting the other.As we reflect on the times when we have met with small groups certain words and phrases come to mind:

  • safe spaces
  • powerful spaces
  • confidential spaces
  • honesty
  • vulnerability
  • desire to develop
  • high levels of trust
  • mutual accountability
  • time to think
  • time to reflect
  • times of connection
  • times of self-reflection
  • time of mutual support

In meeting with each group they’ve decided their own goal for their time together, considered what they might be assuming that could be stopping them from achieving their goal, what the positive opposite of that assumption would be, and – crucially – their next steps.These spaces have been times when everyone has been able to share – without being interrupted – times when people have really been heard, been gently challenged in their thinking, and when people could come to their own conclusion; powerful times that have the ability to propel each person forward. Patton Thoele explains:

‘Deep listening is miraculous for both listener and speaker. When someone receives us with open-hearted, non-judging, intensely interested listening, our spirits expand.’

Meeting in small groups has enabled deep listening to take place and – I believe – has changed each of us involved. As we have listened to others – to really consider what each is communicating and hearing – no one has been left unchanged. We have learnt from one another and grown as a result. ReflectionTake some time to think about the various contexts you find yourself in – when deep listening takes place:

  • How do you feel in those contexts?
  • What can you do to create more life-giving contexts?
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