OLA: Observe, Listen and Act

Ram Ramanathan  •  Aug 13, 2013  •  2 min read

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OLA: Observe, Listen and Act

At Coacharya, OLA stands for Observe, Listen and Act. Merely following this process makes one a more effective coach, leader, manager, and human being.

Stop and observe an interpersonal conversation, even your own, and notice how eagerly one interrupts to interject one’s own precious wisdom. Even as we listen to another individual, an internal dialogue, perhaps a monologue continues with out head. We never truly listen to anyone. True listening requires silence, not merely silence of the tongue, but silence of the mind as well. Coacharya refers to this as mindlessness.

Practice this technique. Whenever someone speaks, whether at a meeting or in a one-on-one conversation, before you give in to that impulse to assert and impart your wisdom, sit back and observe. Observe what makes the other person say what they say, understand the background conditioning, the logic, as well as the emotions behind the tone and pitch of their voice.

Observe and understand first.

Now listen. Listen in silence, silence of the mind, with no internal dialogue. Listen with respect, non-judgmentally, without evaluating whether you agree with that person or not.

After observing and listening, act if you feel the need. But only do so if you have something truly valuable to say. Otherwise continue the silence. Be curious about what has been shared. Question, explore and make the other individual feel good. Acknowledge and appreciate. When you start speaking, always agree with some portion of the other individuals dialogue, even if you disagree with the rest. You can be authentic, and yet respectful.

Practice OLA and people around you will discover increasing respect and value of your inputs. Ostensibly, you will become a Coach.


Ram Ramanathan


Ram is the Founder and a Principal at Coacharya. As the resident Master and mentor coach, Ram oversees and conducts all aspects of coaching and training services offered under the Coacharya banner.


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