A crash course in the art of listening

Think of pop culture’s coaching icons, and a lot of yelling probably comes to mind: a harried figure at the edge of a field or a pacing loudmouth in the locker room, shouting inspiration — or admonition — to get the best results.

At InsideTrack, we do things differently. Our coaches have plenty of guidance and insights to share, and their conversations with students can change lives. But the power of our coaching approach comes from a quieter place. It comes from imparting students with the strength and confidence that comes from being heard.

Listening to someone is key to earning their trust, as InsideTrack Coach Lynn Morrow explained to journalist Amanda Ripley for an article about how complex conversations can broaden perspectives. As Ripley reveals, that trust is as essential for helping vulnerable students succeed in college as it is to bridging our country’s gaping political chasms.

Ripley recounts the methods that Morrow and other InsideTrack Coaches use to hear the heart of a student’s story:

“[Morrow] learned to listen not just to what students say — but to their ‘gap words,’ or the things that they don’t say. If they hesitate, for example, before answering a question about their last math test, or if they dodge a question altogether. Then she knows to dig deeper. She asks important questions multiple times — sometimes weeks apart — and almost always gets different answers. Usually each answer is true — and each represents a different piece of the story.”

Listening like that takes dedication and commitment. It’s why InsideTrack Coaches undergo extensive training and practice before they ever meet with a student, and why coaches and managers review every student interaction to make sure students are getting the best support possible.

But even without formal InsideTrack training, there are steps everyone in education can take to listen to students more fully and support them more effectively. Read the complete article (if you’re short on time, scroll down to #4) to learn how to listen like an InsideTrack Coach.

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