Listening in Knowing / by Jim Grant


Words lack sufficient clarity about a person’s life experiences. A face-to-face talk is a beginning. Yet how often in our understanding do we stumble over our unwillingness to accept the elephant in the room? When we do, earnest communication follows.

The space you and another person share is alive when rooted in mutual trust. Ask almost any senior leader of people, “How do you know what is the right thing to say or do?” My experience is that if you’re sincere, they’ll often tell you.

When I’ve posed the same question time and again to senior executives, most reply in a matter-of-fact way along the following theme:

“It’s a gut feeling. Often it helps by taking a step or two back (zoom out) and taking in the whole person or situation to truly appreciate what’s actually there … then zooming in again for a closer more detailed perspective”.

One Deputy Minster coaching client (wheel-chair bound) offered when I asked that question, “When I look down at my legs, I see I can’t physically take a step back, I literally bump up against my inner knowing when I admit to myself, yes I can…”

He continued… “As I do, I invite more of both of us into the human space. It can be as simple as realizing we see each other and listen as a real person. I can lean on them and catch my breath. I don’t need to say anything about how I got here and ended up this way. I know in that moment that someone is there to support me, they’re listening and they have my back … and for me, it matters most”.

Jim Grant is an executive and leadership coach living and working in Helsinki. Curious about exploring ‘the human space’ call him +358 040 178 1030 or send an e-mail to

Posted in Yleinen.