Active listening is critical to any successful relationship, especially one with a protégé. Receive an examples of active listening and how to apply it to your relationship with your protégé in this video.
- There's a great country song by Toby Keith that goes something like this, "We talk about your work and how your boss is a jerk. We talk about your church and your head when it hurts. We talk about your dreams. We talk about your schemes. But, every once in a while, I wanna talk about me." Have you ever felt like that when your coworker or protege is talking? If you have, don't worry. It happens to the best of us. The good news is you can improve your listening skills by applying specific strategies in active listening.
Active listening is about listening to feelings as well as facts and then checking in to make sure your interpretation was correct. I'm gonna walk you through an example to illustrate three ways to make yourself a better listener to your protege. A few years ago, I had a super bright protege who was an accounting major. She was on track to get an offer from a top firm until she came to me. When we met, she said, "I hate accounting. When I put on my suit to interview for internships, I wanna throw up.
I'm acing the classes and, if I continue this way, my professors say I will get a great offer from a top firm. Also, my mom is so happy I'm doing accounting. She was a single mom and I know really struggled when I was growing up. But my roommate is starting a pedicab business in Paris and invited me to be partners with her, which sounds very cool. Am I crazy to even talk about this?" So, here's how I would use active listening.
First step, listen for feelings as well as facts. Tuning in to verbal and nonverbal messages. In the example I just gave you, I noticed that her posture changed and she sat up. Her whole face lit up when she talked about pedicabs in Paris. But, when she talked about her mom, she got a little teary and hunched over. I noted these nonverbal messages, which helped in step two of active listening. Which is to paraphrase what you think you heard.
In the example, I might say, "Let me roll back what I heard so far. You're an accounting major and you're doing great academically. Your mom really wants you to be an accountant. Probably so you can be financially secure and you don't wanna disappoint her. However, I have to tell you your face lit up and your posture changed when you talked about Paris, which tells me it is something you are really excited about." Follow this with the third step, checking in.
Examples of questions I ask are, "Did I hear you okay?" Or maybe say "Is my understanding correct?" Or "Did I capture that okay?" Being a great active listener, like being a great mentor, is always going to be a work in progress.
She also offers guidance on building trust and chemistry, providing feedback, and helping your protégé make critical career and work decisions and become resilient in the face of challenges. She also helps you address common obstacles, including a protégé that fails to meet expectations or violates trust, and explains how to gracefully exit the relationship.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- Building a relationship with your protégé
- Talking and listening with impact
- Giving feedback
- Developing trust
- Setting goals
- Developing your protégé's skills
- Managing mentoring relationships
- Overcoming common obstacles
- How to make time for mentoring