There are many skills and strategies you can learn as a network marketing coach that will help your people take consistent action in their businesses and develop into strong, independent and successful leaders. Perhaps the most critical skill of all for effective coaching is the skill of listening.


Listening in 3-D

If you are listening only to the facts and details your team tells you, you're probably getting only half the story--and you may be missing the bigger, more important issues. Chances are there are many more feelings, habits, patterns of thinking and behaviors going on than they are aware of or able to articulate. These more subtle, invisible forces all have a tremendous impact on a person's success, especially in network marketing.

What you're missing with this kind of "just the facts, ma'am" listening is depth. It's as if you're listening in only two dimensions: height and width. What I call "3-D listening" is about focusing on and picking up all kinds of communication from your team.

For example, some of the most effective coaching you can do with your people happens when you don't say a word! Why? Just listening to your leaders can be a powerful way to support them and help them experience major breakthroughs.

Many of the people on your team may not have an opportunity to truly be heard in their daily lives. As a coach, just "holding space" so members of your team can communicate freely, can help them gain clarity and make new decisions.

Listening fully to your leaders will help you pick up a lot of key information about them. Often people will tell you everything you need to know to effectively coach them; just pay attention and pick up on the clues.

Here are four of the more subtle clues you can listen for when coaching your team:


1. Listen for Wins

Where is your team already winning in the business? What are they doing well?

Many people are winning at the game of network marketing but don't realize it. They may feel they are not making progress because they are focused too much on the big, dramatic results and failing to notice all those small but important ways they are learning and growing in their business--week to week, day to day and even moment to moment.

If this is the case, your people need a coach to recognize their wins and point them out, to help them acknowledge their successes on a regular basis. It's human nature: if your people feel they are winning in their businesses, they'll be more likely to stay in and create better results over the long term.


2. Listen for Challenges

Where is your team getting stuck? What's not working for them?

This might sound obvious, but it's so important for good coaches to listen for and pay attention to where their leaders are getting blocked, stopped or mired down. If your leaders aren't getting the results they want in business, they probably know something isn't working for them, but they may not be able to put their finger on the exact source of the problem. As a coach, you have the more objective viewpoint.

Ask yourself, "What's missing for this person? What does he or she need to put in place to create better results?" By listening carefully, you will be able to pick up on where your leaders are falling down and help them make the changes that will bring better results.


3. Listen for Individual Qualities

Who are the people on your team? What traits, natural strengths, quirks and other traits do they possess?

Each person on your team is a unique individual. Listen for clues to help you better understand each of the leaders that you coach. What motivates them? What do they really want for themselves and their team? What do they need on a regular basis to keep them in action and focused on their goals--recognition, encouragement, a challenge?

The answers to these questions will likely be different for each person on your team--and as their coach, it's important for you to know them.


4. Listen for Truth

Are your leaders being totally honest with you about how they are doing in the business, or are they telling you what they think you want to hear?

Truth is a critical foundation for effective coaching, especially in network marketing. Like most people, you probably have a good sense of whether or not someone is being truthful with you. How can you help someone on your team if he isn't giving you the full story?

Encourage your leaders to be fully honest with you about all that is going on with them--successes and failures. Do your best to create a safe and non-judgmental space for this kind of communication. The more honest your team is with you, the better you will be able to support them in making changes that lead to better results.

The best coaches I have worked with in network marketing are masters at "3-D Listening"; they have developed the ability to read their leaders accurately and intuitively. With practice and by being fully present with your own people and letting yourself become aware of subtle and important clues you may have missed before, you too can become a master listener!


SONIA STRINGER has helped several hundred networkers master the art of coaching and learn how to develop strong leaders in their teams.