Are They Feeling “Emotionally Heard?”

Smartly dressed young women shaking hands in a business meeting at office desk

What is actually going on when your clients, co-workers, or family members keep repeating the details about how they have been wronged by someone else? One strong possibility is that they are not feeling “emotionally heard” by you. Therefore, your advice, your solution to the problem, your legal instructions, or your financial guidelines cannot be received and integrated. Their immediate need is not being addressed, so they are unable to shift into taking proactive steps forward.

You can facilitate that shift within just a few moments of time. In your own style, give them the message that you “get” how they are feeling. It can sound like this: “I’m hearing that you are feeling very hurt, disappointed and frustrated.” Or, “It sounds like you are feeling extremely angry and betrayed.” You want to say this using eye contact and a respectful and compassionate tone in your voice, giving your complete attention to the person for those few moments. You might continue to say, “Given what you have experienced, it is very understandable that you would be feeling that way.”

You have now identified and named the emotions that the person is feeling and you have validated that those feelings can be expected given the situation. That does not mean that you necessarily agree with the person’s assessment or behavior. It just conveys that you “get” how they are feeling, given their perception.

Try out the above beginning step towards making others feel emotionally heard. You may be surprised by their relieved reaction, their appreciation, and by their ability to listen to the content that you begin to bring across after that interaction. At this point, they may even be ready to integrate challenging points of view that they were unable to hear previously. Often, when we are feeling rushed, we want to get right to the content or instructions that we need to communicate. The extra few moments to help someone feel “emotionally heard” first, can actually save you hours of breaking through his/her resistance.

So, next time your client or friend keeps ruminating about his/her situation, instead of feeling annoyed and perhaps even hopeless, help him or her shift into a more proactive place by listening in this way. The results are often striking.

Authored by: Heidi Krantz

Heidi Krantz
OTR, CPC - “From Breakup to Break-through!”

Heidi Bernstein-Krantz, OTR, CPC, is a Professional Life Coach with a specialty in divorce. She is the founder of Reinvention Life Coaching, a motivational speaker, and a published author. Heidi is certified by The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), an internationally accredited program.

Based upon her personal and professional experience with the divorce process, Heidi empathetically guides her clients to feel comfortable, supported, and increasingly self-confident. Coaching focuses on successfully navigating through all the changes that permeate life during divorce, including social, parenting, career, and financial upheaval. Within the coaching alliance, action plans that feel achievable and realistic are formulated, and goals are consistently met.

Heidi’s interactive workshops, seminars, and “Moving On” Groups empower many to shift into a more positive consciousness and to create opportunity during this challenging life transition.
Heidi's Podcast Link: From breakup to breakthrough -- how to move forward in 2012.

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