What level are you listening on?
Would you call yourself a good listener?
Could you be hearing but not really listening?
Truly listening, heart to heart, radically changes relationships, transforms people and connects us to God in a deeper way. Jesus shows us so much wisdom in His example of leadership, and one thing he showed us is how to be an insightful listener who really listens to the very heart of people.
Jesus listened at a deep heart level to people and also to the Father at the same time. This is evident in the story of the rich man, the woman at the well and many stories with His own disciples. He drew out their very hearts and bought them into a new revelation in just one conversation.
He listened to what the Father was saying and doing, in the moment every moment. His first responses to His own mother who asked Him to turn water into wine changed from a ‘no’ to a ‘yes’ and He did what He already said it was not his time to do! Why? Because Jesus was not afraid to listen to Father and Holy Spirit in the moment and re-direct from previous instructions. He did this for the gentile women who was requesting healing too, when Jesus said ‘no’, she argued her case saying ‘even the dogs get the crumbs.’ Jesus listened with compassion and changed His ‘no’ to a ‘yes’. He listened to the hearts of all who came to Him, and listened to the Father at the same time, showing us by example that you can connect to the very hearts of people and that anything is available in the present moment.
Jesus was always listening for developmental opportunities for those He led, bringing revelation through profound and simple questions that cut straight to the heart of the matter. These questions helped His disciples to listen to their own hearts. For example; Jesus’ powerful question; ‘But who do you say I am?’ This question revealed to the disciples their own hearts and taught them an important revelation of who He was; all in the same question!
Jesus’ had a supernatural way of listening on several levels all at the same time, to both the heart of people and the Father in heaven. How do you feel your listening skills are in comparison?
In some recent classes in our Coach Training School, I led a session on understanding 3 levels of listening from our Kingdom Coaching Model, which we have defined to help us model Jesus’ ways. These different levels help us to coach the very heart of people and to connect them in encounter directly to God.
The 3 levels I have defined are: level 1, listening to the facts of the story, the ‘where’, the ‘when’, and the ‘how’ details. Also level 1 is defined as listening to your own internal dialogue. For example, what you think and feel about what is being said and how you would like to fix the situation. At this level you are not fully listening to the person or Holy Spirit.
Level 2 listening I define as truly becoming present to a person’s heart and actively listening to all that is said and what is not said. This involves listening to their core values, their desires and much more.
Level 3 I define as more towards what we saw Jesus doing, that beautiful space where you can listen simultaneously at a heart level, connecting deeply with a person and also listening to God at the same time. You can listen at this level and draw links, and themes together, facilitating connection to God and bigger purposes outside of the topic in hand.
As part of our teaching I demonstrate, each level of listening on a volunteer. Each time I do this demonstration it is amazing to see how listening at level 2 connects the person deeply with parts of their heart that are vitally important, helping them to receive new revelation and insight on who they are. The level 3 part of the demo, shows beautifully being able to lead someone into an encounter with God, involving Holy Spirit, linking the person to their bigger purpose and helping them link seemingly surprising themes to their identity.
So how do we become more like Jesus and give people this supernatural gift of listening?
Firstly, unlike Jesus who did this automatically and effortlessly, I believe we need to re-train ourselves. I believe that as leaders truly listening to people and being able to draw them out is part of being like Jesus and fully empowering people. It helps them to express all that is inside of them, which is an art which we have in the most part today lost. Intrinsically we believe that our knowledge and expertise is the most important gift we have to give to people, and most of our academic training, degrees and qualifications confirm that we do have expertise and can provide solutions.
Alternatively, an important kingdom leadership method, is to be more like Jesus, learning to be comfortable restraining our strength, holding back our answers, our knowledge and expertise and instead turning into people’s hearts. We can give them the gift of truly listening at multiple levels. This gives people the space to grow and develop a good connection with their heart (the wellspring of life). They can then be ‘in process’ to becoming all that they were made for, while being truly connected, witnessed, championed and empowered to find their voice and much more.
What levels do you listen on most?
Answer 12 questions on our short survey to find out which level you are listening on and where you can develop your listening skills. CLICK HERE TO ANSWER THE QUESTIONS