S:0841 Principle: Hear-Feel-Respond

(Principles are basic truths that, when applied, cause success to come to you easier and quicker.)


This principle is one which, while fundamental to powerful, effective Coaching, is also useful for any human-to-human communication. It’s simple on the surface, but deeply sophisticated in practice.

The first part, hear, means to hear everything — what is said, what is not said, what is emphasized, what is soft-pedaled. Hear fully, the lines and between the lines. With a little practice and a clear intention anyone can become an effective hearer.

The last part, respond, means to, well, respond, but appropriately. An appropriate response may be to repeat what you heard, for validation. It may be to condense the story you heard into a concise message, for clarity. It may be to seek more data, for information. Or, an appropriate response may be silence, for the speaker to have the space to process what they just said. With a little practice and a clear intention anyone can become an effective responder.

It’s the second part, feel, that’s the tricky bit for most people. In some cultures it seems that to hear and not respond immediately is almost rude, or a display of inattention, or even evidence of mental slowness. Thus we have a tendency to rush past the feeling place and miss the greatest resource.

It is in the silence of pausing to notice what you are feeling, and responding with the guidance of that feeling, which gives you access to resources far greater than your thoughts alone. Being an effective feeler will upgrade your communications effectiveness immeasurably.


Coaching Point: Hear-Feel-Respond is simple, isn’t it?


Copyright 2011 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.