During my Christian and professional counselling sessions with families and individuals, my first task is to listen, my second task is to wait and listen to the unsaid and my third task is to be patient and listen to what is about to be said.
Patience and listening are critical virtues and skills for any HR professional, counsellor and caregiver. When an individual connects with me during a session and they tell their stories, first I need to determine the challenge; in what language is this person “thinking”, and is the person “speaking” to me in the same language they are “thinking”.
How much of the content is lost in translation while seeking the most appropriate words to describe the experience they are having. Are the words aligned to the emotions they are experiencing or the gaps are telling another story.
The second challenge I need to determine is identifying and understanding the meaning and interpretation they have given to the “event” and the meaning and objectives of the counselling session.
Some people have sessions with the objectives to inform, report, justify their next action, vent, validate, create an accomplice or alibi, or seek advice, gain new perspectives. It is my duty to determine this before we proceed to the advisory and pre-solution session.
The third challenge is to determine if the person is willing and ready to do the needful, aware of the challenges and consequences of their decisions.
Counseling people at midlife carries higher risks because of the deeper roots of the challenge or the impact the challenge has created over the years. Listen to learn and learn to listen.
Seek first to understand then to be understood.
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Stay tuned for our next post 'Getting Great Support at Midlife.'