1 How do you know what the student is really talking about? What clues are there?
It's in discrepancies between their words, tone of voice, body language, gestures ect
2 How can you use what you hear so that it supports the student in their coaching process? What are the techniques that you can use?
Here is how the ICF defines Active Listening, adapted for teachers coaching students.
Attends to the student and the student’s agenda, and not to the coach’s agenda for the student. That's a change from the usual teacher role, and will be discussed further in this chapter and book. There are usually several agendas in the room in any coaching. If these are allowed to interact there may well be conflict. You will notice when your agenda for the student is significantly different to their own agenda. At such a time you will need to self-manage, and be a coach rather than a teacher.
Hears the student’s concerns, goals, values and beliefs about what is and is not possible. Just hear them, without getting too involved in the background story. Your focus as coach is on helping the student describe their future, and finding out what the student can do right now in order to move in that direction.
Distinguishes between the words, the tone of voice, and the body language. The verbal and physical channels are separate communication channels, and you will receive streams of valuable information from each channel. Note especially when the channels give you clashing information, as this is often a call for support for a deep need for change.
Summarizes, paraphrases, reiterates, mirrors back what student has said to ensure clarity and understanding. These are tools for supporting your student, and will be explored more in this chapter.
Encourages, accepts, explores and reinforces the student’s expression of feelings, perceptions, concerns, beliefs, suggestions, etc.. These expressions are signs that the student is growing up, taking the responsibility for who they are, and naturally should be supported and encouraged.
Integrates and builds on the student’s ideas and suggestions. Again, these are signs of the student's developing maturity and working with these will support the student in developing their sense of self.
“Bottom-lines” or understands the essence of the student’s communication and helps them get to the point rather than engaging in long descriptive stories. Bottom-lining is a tool for getting the student to focus on the present moment rather than getting lost in long stories. Just summarise in a sentence so the student knows that you are listening actively.
Allows the student to vent or “clear” the situation without judgment or attachment in order to move on to the next steps. Again, this is a tool for lightening the student's emotional baggage so that the student can move on. Sometimes this process needs special attention, and I will discuss this at the end of the chapter.