Attentiveness & Surroundings
One of the most important tools I brought with me from my coaching training was attentiveness. And not just because listening is crucial for a coach, but because our culture suffers from a lack of attentiveness, which is such an important life tool.
At the CTI Co-Active Coach Training Institute I learned that there are 3 levels of attentiveness. Firstly, as with anything, it all starts with you – your ability to listen to others is directly related to your ability to listen to yourself – your body, your soul, your feelings and so on
Direct your attention inwards to your own inner voice. Give your full attention to that voice. Listen to your thoughts and opinions, your judgments, to any emotions that well up, to your stories, your needs, to all manner of things that may come into your head.Level 1 Attentiveness looks like this:
A friend tells me something, but I’m still focused on self-pitying thoughts of how early I got up this morning.
A friend tells me about something that happened to her, and I think to myself, “wow, that’s exactly what happened to me,” and my thoughts are drawn to what I did in that situation.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Whether you’re the listener or the speaker – it sometimes happens that the listener isn’t really with you, or if you’re the listener, you’re not 100% with the speaker.
At Level 2 Attentiveness, you hear nothing but the person who is speaking to you. You are so sharply focused that you let nothing interfere or distract you. Your full attention is devoted to the person speaking to you.This is the level of attentiveness that can be seen between lovers, at a café or in a park – wherever a highly engaging conversation is taking place, arousing curiosity and interest.
Level 3 Attentiveness – Attention to your surroundings and everything that is happening to you and around you.
This is the Level of Attentiveness I want to focus on here. It includes being attentive of your inner voices, while at the same time being attentive of the person speaking to you, as well as being attentive of the surrounding field, i.e., the space between you and around you.
This is attentiveness to energies, and awareness of changes in energies. It is focus on the speaker’s words, but also on what’s behind the words and hiding between the lines. Paying attention to the accompanying emotions, changes in presentation, tone of voice, body language, intonations, and more.
And attentiveness to what else? To the physical environment that surrounds both of you.
The physical space in which your conversation takes place brings with it a wealth of information that is an integral and significant part of the “field of attentiveness” of level 3. Its content influences what is being said, what people are feeling, and even to what extent they are being attentive. Color, placement and style of furniture, the type of structure of the space, and so on – all these influence the subconscious feelings that we “hear” and absorb, and these feelings become an inseparable part of the sum total of what we are receiving.
As an entrepreneur, you have the wonderful opportunity to “speak” your company’s vision through the design of its space. You have the ability to provide support for yourself, your employees and your clients via your physical space in which things happen. You can use your space and embed within it your culture, your message and your values.
How would you describe the essence of your company? What feeling do you want it to transmit? How can you achieve the right kind of atmosphere?