“How to Listen to Stories”, Chapter 11 in Narrative Coaching by David Drake
This chapter provides a very narrative-focused take on listening to people. It’s quite different to the usual “active listening” approach. Drake describes four dimensions of listening: What is happening between the two of you, What is happening in the room, What is happening in the narration, and What is happening in time. He promotes a fuller use of silence in coaching, thinking of listening as “receiving and noting what is already present, rather than as something you do to make things happen”. He also explores “listening with the third ear”, to enable you to hear more of what is happening at symbolic, somatic, and unconscious levels. Drake introduces the narrative diamond framework for listening, emphasizing the inter-relatedness of the narrator, the characters, the story, the coach and the field in which the story is being told. If you want to stretch your understanding and practice of listening beyond the basics and learn more about a narrative approach to listening, this chapter provides you with that challenge!