Executive coach Carolyn Coughlin calls on more than a decade of experience to help you become a better listener. She goes in-depth on why the language we use with each other and with ourselves is so important, the three different types of listening, the most common skill she teaches that makes an immediate impact, and how to help your kids become better listeners.
Coughlin is a co-founder at Cultivating Leadership, a leadership development consultancy firm that helps leaders and organizations grow and lead in the face of complexity, ambiguity, and change. She also spent nine years with leadership consulting firm Kenning Associates and more than five years with McKinsey & Company.
Here are a few highlights from our conversation:
Adult development theories are often referred to as constructive developmental theories. Because it questions how do we construct reality? How do we construct meaning? And then how does that change over time?
Creating the separation between us and other people is useful for our own identity formation. How do we construct our own sense of self?
Yet at the same time, the most complex problems that we need to work on require us to see other perspectives. They require that we build trust and connections with people. So each time we fortify our own identity as separate, we are severing connections that might actually be really, really important.
Trying to orchestrate things just right so that you’re hanging out with exactly the right people who will get you the exact right result is probably the wrong mindset.
I find that when people feel really, really truly seen and heard, it’s one of the most extraordinary experiences that a person can have.
00:00 – Intro
01:06 – Adult Development Theory, explained
05:32 – “Have to” vs. “Want to”
10:06 – On finding balance in life
15:50 – Listening below the surface
17:40 – How language limits our progress
20:42 – Language and identity
26:04 – How language creates a status-based hierarchy
28:37 – The social impacts of remote work
32:45 – Remote work’s impact on trust
36:30 – Strategies to create trust remotely
40:18 – On creating your identity through language
41:20 – How to create conditions for success
48:30 – How to improve your listening skills
52:27 – How to coach your kid to listen better
57:56 – Can we improve ourselves?
01:04:50 – How to ask better questions
01:10:50 – Common skills Coughlin teaches others
01:17:40 – How to get a new perspective
01:23:00 – What Coughlin used to waste her time on
01:28:45 – Best leadership books Coughlin recommends
01:32:00 – Coughlin’s definition of success