What’s coaching really about?

The other day my son curiously peeked into the room where I was coaching a client via Skype, quietly closed the door and left. He has asked me about coaching before and I have always answered his rather general questions. I will need to talk to him again about staying away from my office when I work, I thought.

After my last coaching session I went upstairs only to be immediately approached by my son who asked me in a very professional tone:

- So what is your role in this coaching really, mummy? What do you do? For example if someone got a divorce, what do you say to them?

I acknowledged his curiosity: - So I see that you are really interested in my role as a coach?
- Yes. So what do you say to them?

- It depends what is happening in their lives and what they are struggling with. I help them find their own answers and everybody needs a different kind of support. But I always listen to them first.

- Ah, so first you JUST listen?

- Yes.

Well, 'just listening' is the core of it, I believe. Attentive listening or focused listening (also called Global Listening as described in Co-Active Coaching) is extremely helpful not only in coaching, but also in our daily professional and personal interactions.
It supports a mindful attitude to life encouraging you to be fully present for another person, here and now. This kind of listening means being both the listener and the observer at the same time, without letting your personal experiences and emotions that show up in response to what you hear distract you from listening with the focus on the speaker.
Stephen R. Covey said: 'Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.'
How do you tend to listen and how has it worked for you so far?